Valentine’s Day gifts that keep on giving
It’s estimated that more than 250 million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day each year. While giving a rose to a Valentine is certainly a commendably romantic gesture, the choice of roses for Valentine’s Day is a decidedly unnatural one.
Most roses are naturally in bloom from mid-spring to autumn. Yet more roses are sold in Australia on Valentine’s Day – in summer – than at any other time of the year. And so, to meet this demand, the majority of roses sold here are imported, mostly from Kenya.
This is bad news for the planet. An experiment by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that the three weeks of flower delivery flights leading up to Valentine’s Day costs the environment 114 million litres of fuel, emitting around 360,000 metric tonnes of C02. Roses also need to be refrigerated while being shipped. Refrigerants are some of the most potent greenhouse gases. According to research organisation Project Drawdown, refrigeration management is the number one solution to global CO2 reduction.
Then there’s plastic wrapping that’s put around most rose bouquets. More than 160 kilometres of plastic cellophane wrapping is used for floral bouquets in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. And this is then usually just tossed away.
So what’s the alternative?
If you still want to give flowers, opt for locally grown flowers. Ask your florist where the blooms are from before buying. Organically grown and in season is even better. But the best local choice is Australian native flowers. Most florists now offer truly stunning native floral bouquets, and many cut native flowers can last for two weeks or more.
However, if you want something that won’t just end up going to waste, why not consider an edible bouquet? It’s a Valentine’s Day gift that keeps on giving. First, there’s the delight of receiving it. Then, there’s the joy of eating it. You can go for a stunning chocolate bouquet, which you can find online at Aussie retailers like Victoria’s Tastebuds Australia or Adelaide-based Edible Blooms. Delicious Buds in NSW offers something a little different, with bouquets made from Cherry Ripe, KitKat, Freddo Frogs or Baci chocolates.
Or you could get more adventurous. Lunch Bunch in Adelaide delivers edible bouquets made from locally grown fruits and vegies as well as meats and cheese. Edible Bouquets offers gorgeously presented bouquets made from sage, rosemary, onions, garlic and potatoes – all ready for a Sunday roast. It also offers a bouquet made from parsley, Thai eggplant, beetroot leaves, miniature garlic, red butter lettuce and okra. You can even get bouquets featuring mushrooms and artichokes. Valentine’s Day dinner sorted.
Show your love to the world
You could also show your love for both your Valentine and the planet by choosing a gift that gives back. One inspired idea is to buy your sweetheart a dozen trees from Aussie Ark. Your purchase goes towards the protection, purchase and augmentation of Australian ecosystems to help our Australian wildlife, including the koala.
Or you could choose a Valentine’s Day Pure Water Pack from UNICEF Australia. It includes 4000 water purification tables, each able to transform up to 5 litres of dirty water into drinkable water to help fight waterborne diseases like dysentery, cholera and typhoid. There are also 150 oral rehydration salts to quickly replace lost fluids in children suffering from dehydration. Then there’s the Valentine’s Day Love Bundle, which vaccinates 20 kids against measles, provides a blanket to keep a child warm and 50 sachets of life-saving food.
Australian Red Cross also has a range of gifts that make a difference. For instance, the Not Another Bottle of Wine card provides a meal for someone who’s homeless. Oxfam Australia also offers V-Day cards. Opting for a Valentine’s Day Fish helps fishing communities along the Mekong protect their livelihoods from the detrimental impacts of large-scale dam projects. A Valentine’s Day Cow helps women in Bangladesh earn a living from dairy farming. Or you can choose a Valentine’s Day Chicken to help families in Vanuatu earn a living.
Whatever gift you choose to give your Valentine this February 14, have a heart for the planet as well. Choose locally produced food or flowers, or gifts that can make a real difference to the environment or vulnerable people, both here and around the world.