Posts Tagged ‘waste’

List: Why Valentine’s Day is awkward for me and bad for the planet

Here’s a fun post for today, because it’s almost V-Day and I know that makes some people depressed. (Not me.)

Now, I don’t like to be one of those people that thinks Valentine’s Day is great when I have a boyfriend and thinks it’s stupid when I don’t. Because I am not that kind of person. I’ll be honest, Valentine’s Day has always been a little weird for me. And I have no shame, so here’s my story.

One Valentine’s Day, when I was probably in about third grade, my older sister, who was about 14 at the time, was watching as I made my Valentines for the class. She looked at my photo of the class and pointed out this boy named Spencer, who was the kid in class with a year-round cold who looked like he never saw the light of day. She really wanted to send him a Valentine, from her. So I said OK. And I don’t know if I realized this beforehand or not, but she had written, “Love, your secret admirer” on it–so the next day when everyone took out all their valentines, there’s Spencer with his “Secret Admirer” valentine, which just so happened to be on the same Mickey & Minny Mouse valentines set as the rest of mine were. So for the rest of the year, everyone in the class thought I had a crush on the kid with the perpetual stuffy nose.

In high school, I think I went on one date for Valentine’s Day. To a pizza place I believe? I assume so, as there are no other kinds of restaurants in the town I grew up in. I don’t remember much, but it was most certainly awkward.

My freshman year of college, I received two dozen roses from no one. As in, no one signed the card. I was so excited, until I found out my boyfriend at the time didn’t send them. I asked him over and over again to tell me if he had sent them, for real. He hadn’t (and looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t believe him, the schmuck.) Then, sophomore year, the exact same thing happened, different colored roses this time. Only I was single, so I was even more confused. But oh well! Anonymous roses, how romantically frustrating. Then, last year, my Valentine’s Day was effectively spent saying good-bye to my boyfriend at the time, as I was leaving for Australia literally the next day. So very bittersweet and again, awkwardly emotional.

In conclusion, Valentine’s Day just never works out for me. And I would argue Valentine’s Day goes beyond just putting me in awkward situations, it really does much more of a disservice to the environment than if we were to celebrate February 14th as another regular day.

Oh, Cupid, how bad art thee for the planet and its people? Let us count the ways…

  1. Wasteful use of paper – According to the Greeting Card Association, (let’s just pause for a moment here, THE GREETING CARD ASSOCIATION!? Is that REALLY necessary?!)…ahem, excuse me. According to the “GCA,” over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent worldwide each year. I don’t know how many trees would have to be cut down to produce 1 billion cards, but I bet heaps. And yes, I just checked, the GCA really does exist. And they have a “.org”
  2. Purchasing/supporting of blood diamond industry – Men often want to propose on Valentine’s Day (can you say “unoriginal”?). And I am going to venture out on a limb and say if you are the kind of guy that is going to choose Valentine’s Day to propose, you probably are going to buy your little future Mrs a diamond ring. Now, let’s talk about this for a second, because I have always been really pro-engagement ring and pro-diamonds, and my sister’s boyfriend is always saying how it’s an antiquated tradition and blah-blah women don’t need to sell their ring anymore if their husband dies because women have jobs and are independent. Well, I always just thought he was cheap, but turns out maybe he was just being progressive. I like this piece, because it suggest alternatives to buying a new diamond ring that are less wasteful of the energy it takes to dig up diamond. Not to mention, ever seen Blood Diamond? Yeah, enough said.
  3. Shipping of all those Valentines gifts – Like chocolate. Who would have ever thought about this statistic, but apparently someone figured out that 1,233 locations produced Valentine’s chocolate in 2007, and $14.4 billion is how much it cost to ship all that chocolate. We shouldn’t be eating all that chocolate anyway! Obesity-related medical treatment is costing our nation an extra $147 billion every year!
  4. Roses have to be shipped from far away – People always want to send roses on Valentine’s Day. Which sounds fine, except that most roses are grown in and transported from South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, which means they are far from local, and you might as well just fly to Buenos Aires for the same carbon footprint you’re making when you buy them. And I don’t know about you, but I would rather fly to Buenos Aires than get some stinky flowers that are going to die in three days. However, there are ways to purchase local organic flowers domestically, which I think is great, but likely much more expensive. In fact, in 2008, $24 million was spent on domestically produced cut roses in. GAWD, we could just not buy roses for each other and donate what we would have spent to Haiti! Or, just do something that is free. Which brings me to my next point…
  5. Unintended pregnancies – People always want to “make whoopie”–as The Newlywed Game would say–on Valentine’s Day. And of course, then they get pregnant and before you know it, we are overpopulating the world. And there are too many people in this world and we are using up resources faster than we can replace them and this is very bad. I sound sarcastic, and in fact I am sort of joking, but I am being totally serious about this problem. If you don’t believe me, you should read the book, Maybe One by Bill McKibben, which I haven’t read yet but I eventually may. It is a book arguing for people to have less children, like maybe just one. There is actually a much larger movement, known as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which I should mention I DO NOT support, but it is something worth reading about. Their basic M.O. is, “Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed.” Though, it would do wonders for the condom industry if it ever caught on (which it won’t).

OK, I hope everyone enjoyed reading my fun little “Cupid is killing our planet” post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What are you up to this Feb 14? Whatever it is, I hope you’ve been comforted by these facts. Or at the least by my ability to out-awkward any Valentine’s Day story you may have.