Valentine's Day would have to be one of the most conflicting times of the year for those of us who care about the environment. On the one hand, we see all of the unnecessary heart-shaped balloons, stuffed teddy bears and plastic-wrapped roses that we know will ultimately end up contributing to landfill. But on the other hand, we don't want to discourage what Valentine's Day should be all about - the celebration of the ones we love!
Never fear, the Green Gift Guide is here to save the day. We've compiled below a list of eco friendly Valentine's Day Gift ideas to help you celebrate a sustainable Valentine's Day.
GIFT IDEA #1: Adopt a koala (or other cute, cuddly animal!) on their behalf
It might be a bit too soon for you to take on the shared responsibility of a pet, but you can still give your valentine the gift of something cute and cuddly with an animal 'adoption'!
The Australian Koala Foundation run the Adopt a Koala program where you can choose to 'adopt' your favourite koala from the list of koalas cared for by the AKF across Australia. When you adopt a koala, you will receive a beautiful personalised adoption certificate with a photo of your koala, a welcome letter, and koala stickers. The best part - if you are ever in the area, you can drop in and visit the adorable koala you adopted! All money raised from the proceeds of koala adoptions goes towards the work of helping save koalas in the wild.
Image Source: Australian Koala Foundation
Other awesome animal adoption programs include:
- Taronga Zoo's Zoo Parent program, where you can choose to 'adopt' from a range of animals including a platypus, bilby, tiger, asian elephant, meerkat, red panda or even a tasmanian devil! All adoptions will fund Taronga's work with research and education programs, focusing on endangered species in Australia and around the world, and will assist with the conservation, breeding and preservation of wild animals and their habitats. Australia Zoo run a similar Adopt an Animal program.
- Brightside Farm Sanctuary offer a virtual adoption program where you can choose to 'adopt' any of the animals currently hosted by the Sanctuary. Valentine will receive a certificate, made out in your name or the name of your choice, with a picture and a biography of the animal.
GIFT IDEA #2: Swap roses for Australian natives
Have you ever wondered where all the Valentine's Day roses are grown? In Australia alone, there are more than 900 flower farms intensively cultivating 4,470 hectares of roses in order to supply the insatiable demand for florists on Valentine's Day. However, it might surprise you to know that the majority of cut flowers sold in Australia (both generally and on Valentine's Day) actually originate overseas. In 2017, Australians imported more than 5.22 million rose stems between February 1 and 14, with most of these coming from Kenya.
Why not forgo the roses this year and instead source some locally grown Australian native flowers for your Valentine? A number of florists around Australia specialise in 'farm fresh' flowers grown right here in Australia and transported directly from the flower farm to the florist.
Grevilleas are a beautiful Australian native flower that can look stunning as part of a bouquet.
GIFT IDEA #3: Prepare a fancy home-cooked meal full of their favourite foods
If you're looking for a gift that shows how much effort you're willing to put in for your loved one, why not prepare a fancy home-cooked meal for them? Plan out a meal complete with entree, main and dessert. If they have a few favourite foods, try to work these into each course.
On the night, prepare the dining space with a beautifully set table and some candlelight, then set them up with a glass of wine and cheese platter while you're preparing the meal.
Just make sure you don't forget to buy the ingredients in advance!
GIFT IDEA #4: Swap cut flowers for living pot plants or seeds
Cut flowers are nice, but often come wrapped in plastic, and only last for a short time until they need to be thrown out. Why not gift them a pot plant instead? Garden nurseries have a great range of colourful potted flowers that are super easy to care for. For an added personal touch, pick out a nice pot to plant them in.
Alternatively, if your partner has expressed a desire to start their own garden, you could give them the motivation to start their own garden in their new home or apartment with packets of seeds.
Flowers are crucial for pollinators such as birds and bees, so rest assured that growing flowers will have a positive impact on the environment (and will also look gorgeous!)
GIFT IDEA #5: Trade things for experiences - gift them a wine tasting or gin tasting class
If there's something that your Valentine has always wanted to try or learn more about, why not give them the gift of knowledge by booking in a class that you can attend together? For the budding wine connoisseur, a wine tasting class might be the perfect gift. Gin more their thing? A gin course may be right up their alley.
GIFT IDEA #6: Get sentimental
If you're looking for a simple but sentimental gift, why not frame your favourite picture of the two of you surrounded by mementos from the time you've spent together? Movie tickets, concert wristbands, restaurant receipts and maps all work well for this project.
Happy Valentine's Day! xx