Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world in various styles and dimensions. Increasingly, its celebration gets more robust in our clime with each passing year as a way to relieve ourselves of our pervasive social and economic stress.
Every society needs love, shows love and can do with a love-rich world. After all, love makes the world to go round.
On Valentine’s Day, flowers, cards, wines, chocolates and various other gifts are freely given. Lovers and intending lovers go out on dates to cosy restaurants and exotic places. But have you ever wondered how these celebrations affect our environment?
The CO2 emission during transportation and refrigeration of flowers and other items is usually high, contributing to the global warming of the environment.
Our show of love does not have to be incompatible with caring for the environment. A good way to help the environment whilst showing love is to replace the concept of cut-flowers with planting trees. This helps with afforestation and purification of the air. It is equally a much more symbolic expression of love.
Chocolates are widely given during Valentine. Ironically, most of the chocolates we give are imported. Meanwhile, the cocoa belt from which chocolates originate is within our zone. We do not have enough cocoa plantations any longer, neither do we have organisations that operate the full value-chain of cocoa processing from planting to production of chocolates. I believe investing in cocoa plantations and manufacturing the chocolates locally will help the environment, as it will reduce the carbon footprint arising from importation.
The show of love is more endearing in a green, orderly and pollution-free environment. As part of our celebrations, let us spare a thought for making our environment beautiful by lining our streets with trees, having our medians decorated with lovely flowering plants, creating love gardens around our cities, sweeping and occasionally washing our roads, valuing our wetlands and minimising the waste going into our landfills.
To further reduce the burden of Valentine’s Day celebrations on our environment, we should endeavour to do the following:
• Send e-Valentine cards.
• Trash your paper Valentine cards — think of recycling.
• Commit to showing love to every space within your environment by keeping it clean and pollution-free.
• Avoid eating out at this time to reduce carbon emission; opt instead for home prepared dinner.
• Cultivate community garden where you obtain freshly plucked vegetables for your meals.
• Compost most of your kitchen waste.
Here’s hoping that you had a beautiful and environmentally friendly Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Onabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of the environment.