03/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sustainable Valentine's Day

V. Day is coming soon and I'm not referring to the WWII holiday or Eve Ensler's spin on February 14th. It causes plenty of angst amongst couples about how they should profess their undying love for each other on this special Christian-rooted Hallmark-marketing holiday. Is it with a bouquet of flowers? An over-priced dinner (re-labeled holiday special by restaurants)? Chocolates?

For those of us who are single, we might have the following instincts for dealing with February 14th: hide and pretend the day doesn't exist (I sometimes use the Jewish card to explain to people that I don't celebrate a holiday honoring St. Valentine), embrace it as International Quirky Alone Day or comb through all of your Facebook friends to find a group of like-minded single people to spend time downing lots of alcohol and chocolate while also paying for an over-priced meal. Whatever your take is on February 14th, it's an opportunity to actually not spend much money (and who has any left to spend in this economy?) and make it a sustainable day.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Buy organic flowers. Did you ever think about all of the pesticides that are applied to conventional flowers and the effects of these on workers and the environment? The thought of it could make a gladiola wilt.

2. Give Theo's fair-trade organic chocolate. If the recipient has a special place for Jane Goodall or wildlife, then you might want to consider their special line which honors the conservationist and donates to her organization. I had the pleasure of visiting the factory with my sister and while they nearly threw me out for eating all of their samples, I can attest to the delicious-ness of all of their products.

3. Prepare a homemade dinner with local produce. It's a lot cheaper than eating out, will probably taste better and is a great way for you to show your love for a local farmer.

4. Skip flowers and plant a tree. It lasts longer, helps the planet and will be a living testament to your love for another person.

5. Practice safe sex and protect the environment. Yes, birth control will help keep our population growth down, but more importantly, you can use vegan condoms and organic lubricant. And, if anyone reading this happens to live in Brazil, you can help to protect the Amazon by purchasing new government-issued condoms made from an Amazonian tree.

6. Make your own cards. Yes, let's get out the crayola crayons, scissors, glitter and glue to make a homemade gift for someone special in your life. I guarantee you that even if you're not the most artistically-inclined person, your homemade card will probably be a lot more meaningful than a store-bought one.

7. Write your own poem. You don't need to be Shakespeare to express your love and you can also be a green hero by using recycled paper.

8. If you decide to purchase a gift, consider supporting a local business which is probably struggling during these tough economic times. You can help your local economy and buy a lovely V. Day gift.

9. Choose organic lingerie. So, this isn't as racy as Victoria Secret stuff, but it's eco-friendly for you and the planet. And, who isn't attracted to a green girl?

10. Enjoy organic champagne. Yes, I keep seeing those ads about the name champagne being illegally used by American winemakers who are ignoring their French counterparts pleas for accurate labeling (real champagne is only grown in Champagne, France). Whatever you want to call it, I'm suggesting you enjoy an organic beverage of choice.

The original post of Sarah's Social Action Snapshot appeared on