02/08/2011 06:14 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How to Love Mother Earth on Valentine's Day

On Valentine's Day, don't forget about Mother Earth. These four tips will help you make her feel cared for even while you're tending to the other loves of your life.

1. Let love blossom. It's little-known, but the flower industry is actually pretty environmentally destructive. To minimize your impact, consider ordering an organic bouquet. Better yet, pluck some peonies from your own garden or bike over to your neighborhood farmers' market to buy a locally grown burst of color (make sure to verify that what you're buying is pesticide-free). Remember, too, that a potted plant always lasts longer.

2. Choose the sweetest things. Valentine's Day is a boon for chocolate companies, so support the most responsible confectioners by buying organic, local, or shade-grown. And if you can, resist the convenience of that frilly heart-shaped box with all those individual paper wrappings tucked into a plastic mold. Instead, go for a less packaged (but just as romantic) option.

3. Make a commitment. Thinking of proposing a lifelong commitment this Valentine's Day? Do it. For as little as $20, you can sponsor a wild place in honor of your loved one's favorite outdoor space, whether that's Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Your investment goes directly toward preserving those majestic expanses so they can last for eternity, and you'll nab a few goodies to show for it. If you chip in a bit more, you can get your sweetheart a Muir-style rucksack or a stuffed animal representing a species that'll be more secure thanks to your gift.

4. Wrap it up. Monogamy seems greener than the alternative -- think of all that rubber saved from the landfill. But if you're not there yet, and are trying to do your part to prevent overpopulation, consider buying your contraceptives from a company that offsets its carbon footprint. Always choose latex (biodegradable) over polyurethane (not biodegradable) and, to keep the seas clean, never flush either down the toilet.