Share the love with Planet Earth this Valentine’s

Love is in the air this week as romantics across the globe pull out all the stops to show their loved ones just how much they care.

For centuries, Valentine’s Day has been the day for love-struck couples to express their feelings through giving tokens and gifts, but have you ever stopped to wonder about the impact it has on our environment?

From mass-produced roses pumped with chemicals and imported from around the world, to plastic-packaged chocolates, and glitter-filled cards, the commercial pressures of the most romantic day of the year are wreaking havoc on our beautiful planet.

This year, we’re turning to the principles set out in Laudato Si’ to inspire us on how we can share the love with Planet Earth this Valentine’s.


  • Buy a plant instead of a bouquet

Deep red blooms with long stems are the ultimate Valentine’s gift but the story behind these classic flowers is perhaps not quite so romantic. For hundreds of years, the Netherlands has dominated the cut flower trade, exporting beautiful blooms right across the world. However, a significant proportion of these are in turn shipped to the Netherlands from countries in Africa or Latin America, meaning your Valentine’s gift – that can be grown in your own garden – has clocked up some serious air miles. In addition, to make the cut in a highly competitive market, many of these flowers have been grown using harmful chemicals and pesticides, causing further damage to our ecosystem; whilst varying employment laws and working conditions around the world could mean your well-intentioned bouquet might not be the most ethical choice.

The issue was recently a hot topic for debate within the Church of England, after last year’s General Synod highlighted a call for the Church of England to ban imported flowers and the use of floral foam in celebrations as part of its Net Zero mission.

What’s more, these plastic-wrapped bouquets have a very short shelf-life, lasting no more than a week or so. Perhaps not the best message for an everlasting love.

So why not try a longer-lasting, greener alternative this year? Instead of reaching for the shop-bought bouquets, opt for an ethically-sourced, environmentally-friendly plant of their very own, which they can cherish for years to come.


  • Plant a tree

If you’re looking for an even grander gesture, you could plant a tree and dedicate it to your loved one. Organisations such as the National Trust, the National Forest, the Woodland Trust and more have initiatives in place where you can help replenish woodlands and forests and dedicate your tree to someone special. Alternatively, charities such as CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) offer gifts that enable you to help overseas communities protect their homes and livelihoods, or give families the chance to grow and sell their own produce.


  • Choose Fairtrade

If florals aren’t your thing, then chocolates are undoubtedly the way to go but this too, needs some careful consideration.

Choosing Fairtrade treats means you can give a little love back to the world this Valentine’s.

Fairtrade works by supporting farmers and communities around the world compete against larger corporations, by protecting workers’ rights and safe working conditions, and nurturing sustainable, environmentally-friendly practice that delivers mouthwatering products whilst caring for our common home.


  • Create your own card out of recycled materials

The excitement of sending secret Valentine’s Day cards has been a tradition loved by people for generations.  It is estimated that around 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. Covered in glitter, glue, and plastic sleeves, greetings cards can have a significant impact on our environment. So this year, why not do something a little different and create your very own original design from recycled materials?


  • Think of a hobby or experience to do together

Giving a gift is a lovely way to show someone you care, but what could be more precious than making time to spend with the person you love? There’s no doubt that Valentine’s Day has become another victim of our busy, frantic way of life; with thoughtful tokens of affection often being replaced with slap-dash visits to the supermarket to pick up whatever you can find on the shelf. But by making time in our busy schedules to spend with those we love the most might be the very thing we need in our love lives. Whether it’s planning that walk you’ve been meaning to do but never got round to, or starting a new hobby to try, or cooking a meal together from scratch, sharing a little bit of quality time together might just be the perfect way to say “I love you”.

However you choose to spend this Valentine’s Day, there are so many ways to honour this time-honoured tradition without leaving a mark on our beautiful planet. The world around us is brimming with wonder and beauty, so what could be a more romantic gesture than the protection of the very earth itself?