One potentially revolutionizing thing about the Internet that we’re loathe to embrace is the idea of virtual giving. While one could argue that the very operation of computers makes them un-green, the amount of paper, tape, and candy that is generated every time America has a sentimental holiday seems unnecessary. We won’t give it up because it hearkens us back to the good old days before there was Global Warming. We also tend to do what is expected of us rather than to think outside the box.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday when every parent must either direct their children to make cards or else buy the very branded offerings in the drugstore. But forget about originality; this is about product branding and identification – the Dora cards, the Barbie cards, the Pirates of the Caribbean cards. Is it Valentine’s Day or just another opportunity to pay for advertisers to get the word out about their product? It is enough to make anyone go insane, if you think about it longer than five minutes.
If you are angling towards a little
outside-the-box thinking this Valentine’s Day, and maybe to send the message to your kids that there is nothing abnormal about “going green,” perhaps the Internet is just the place to turn.
There are dozens of sites that send ecards. While many people I know don’t even bother opening their ecards, they are still the more advanced and eco-friendly way to send something like a Valentine’s Day card. Hipster Cards (hipstercards.com) is an interesting alternative to the usual fare. They describe themselves this way: “Hipster Cards was founded by a group of creative Californians who were disappointed with most ecard sites. They realized that there was a desperate need for stylish, clever, and fun cards. Hipster Cards celebrates occasions, real or imagined – birthdays, holidays, new jobs, broken hearts, tattoo removals, student loan payoffs, record company signings… you name it.”
Etsy.com (etsy.com) is a site that specializes in handmade gifts. They offer up a Valentine’s Day array of cards made from recycled materials. The gifts range in price from $20 to $300, but the cards are fairly inexpensive, some $3 and others $6. Even if you don’t buy anything on Etsy, it’s a great place to check out all the cool things one can do with recycled goods.
The website Green Choices (greenchoices.utah.gov/green_valentines_day.htm) has some suggestions that don’t necessarily entail hunting down something inventive online. They think that cooking a romantic meal at home will save the gas of driving somewhere. Making homemade treats to give to classmates rather than buying little pieces of candy with all of that plastic trash to instantly deal with. Use recycled paper to make cards instead of buying brand new card stock.
Pinks and Blues have launched their 2008 Green Heart Valentine’s Gift Guide (greenvalentinesguide.com). The links to quality organic and green goods on this site are the stuff that a Westsider’s romantic dreams are made of.
The sentiment behind Valentine’s Day is a sweet one, and we all enjoy giving gifts and cards. But if we’re going to last, we have to start thinking differently about our traditions, particularly those that involve generating vast amounts of garbage, to symbolize our love.