My Green Valentine
February is the month of love. With so many weddings and engagements, it also seems to be the month to declare our love for that special someone. This is also the month when most people reach for the traditional gift: jewelry.
Most of us probably have seen movies and documentaries about how our fascination with earthly treasures is not only creating wars and killing thousands of people but also ends up maiming our planet, our mountains, our beautiful caves, and now even our glaciers.
Let’s work together to make February a month of truly declaring our love, not only for our loved ones but also for our planet. Let’s give something that is truly eternal, that has true value and that will last a lifetime (and even longer).
Here are some ideas:
- Find a tree program in your city. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give your loved one a tree? Imagine the benefits of it. You will be able to name it, tend to it for years and watch it grow with you and your love. It will give you shade, maybe fruit and it will add decoration to your house. Trees also clean the air, give you shelter from the rain and provide shade from the burning sun. A tree is a gift that will last a lifetime.
- Sponsor an animal. Even if your partner is allergic to animals or doesn’t like the messiness of having one, you can adopt one through a non-profit agency the way some people adopt a child in a different country. I adopted a wolf for many years and received news about her regularly. You can also adopt dogs, cats and a variety of animals from a local shelter to give as a gift. Animals need you and will give you and your loved one many years of joy – the kind that can’t be compared with any diamond in the world.
- Buy a brick/paver in your partner’s name. Some galleries, government buildings, museums, hospitals, churches, fire stations, police departments, etc. raise money by offering a wall or a path to the community. This wall or path is created with bricks that bear the name of your loved one. This gift lasts forever (well, as long as the building stands, at least) and will hold your memories. It’s like carving a heart into a tree with you and your partner’s initials as a declaration of lasting love. Most “brick fundraisers” start at a minimal of $100. (Declaring your love with a message in the sky is not only temporary, it is also very harmful to the environment.)
- Adopt a seat in a theater. I’ve always wanted to do this because I think it is such a great gift for someone you love. Go to your favorite theater and see if they have such a program. You will not only flaunt your love for the world to see, you will receive season tickets and support a local business. In these hard economic times, your gift might help a theater stay open for another season. (I believe some churches have similar programs. Support them with this gift of love.)
- Join a community garden.You and your loved one can learn how togrow your own fruits and vegetables and benefit from this gift every day. Eat your own freshly-picked cucumbers, add your own cilantro to your fish or take a home-grown apple to your next picnic with friends.
- Here’s a different idea for a bachelor or bachelorette party. How about hanging out and partying while giving back to the community? You can give your friends an unforgettable event and give back to the community.
- Volunteer for one day at a children’s hospital.
- Volunteer to feed the animals, or clean up or educate at your nearest zoo with your friends.
- “WHAM! BAM! The Loudest CRAFT CLUB Workshop EVER!” Put on a performance at a foster home or at a senior citizens home with your friends or organize a craft night with these kids or the seniors.
- Organize a block clean-up in your neighborhood. Make sandwiches, bring some drinks and make a picnic afterwards.
- “Trees and Community” by Gary Slossberg Organize a tree care eventwith your best friends. Water, mulch and trim the trees in your neighborhood.
- “A Good Hair Day” – Anchor House fundraiser leaves participants baldPut together a fundraiser to gather warm clothes, food and blankets for the homeless or throw a benefit for the local organization of your choice.
The opportunities are endless. You can have memorable events with all your friends that are worth more than all money in the world. Give back to those you love with a gift that will provide a lifetime of memories without hurting the planet, without hurting other communities and without hurting your wallet.
Let the memories begin!
Enci is a Mother, Actress, Artist and Activist.
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