Authors and mother-daughter team, Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell recently chatted with MNN about their new book, Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family and offered some easy and helpful tips for a fun and earth-friendly Valentine’s Day.

What’s the focus of the book?

Our primary aim was to provide earth and people-friendly tips and ideas for celebrating any occasion. People are living more consciously in their daily lives, but when it comes to celebrating, they often think, “It’s just one day” so green intentions fly out the window. Celebrate Green! offers hundreds of alternatives to help keep all the fun and meaning in celebrations while maintaining eco-values.

 

What inspired you to write this book?

In 2007, we started the Green Halloween initiative for a healthier, more earth-friendly Halloween. The response told us that people were hungry for alternative ways to celebrate that weren’t necessarily more difficult or expensive or less fun. We knew that Halloween was not the only holiday in need of an eco-makeover, and that eventually, we’d write a book.

 

How can celebrating green help you achieve a greener lifestyle?

Here’s an example. After reading Celebrate Green!, many readers have said they’ll never use wrapping paper again. If someone made this choice as their first eco-friendly step, we hope that their avoiding wrapping paper might plant a seed. Once you start thinking about what your choices mean to the earth and other people, that consciousness begins to grow and expand.

 

Why go green this Valentine's Day?

Valentine’s Day is an important holiday to celebrate green because the top three traditional gifts have a significant impact on the planet. Think of the trees used for cards and the habitat, soil, water and farmers impacted by conventional chocolate and flower growing practices. If everyone chose to swap just one traditional gift for something greener, it would make a big difference.

 

How can adults green their Valentine's Day celebration?

  • Look for 100% recycled or tree-free cards including those made from bananas and sugarcane. You can also make your own plantable seed cards.
  • Give flowers grown with earth and human ethics in mind. Choose certified organic, Veraflora, or Fair Trade certified flower bouquets.
  • Conventional chocolate is often grown with tremendous amount of pesticides and may be planted at the expense of rainforests and farmers’ health and well being. There are many certified organic and fair trade certified choices available -- we love Sjaaks and Theo.
  • Jewelry is a top Valentine’s Day gift but mining metals and stones can have negative effects on the planet. Choose recycled metals and manmade stones or create a custom piece from jewelry you no longer wear. There are also great designers making eco-friendly jewelry such as Smart Glass.
  • Prepare a candlelit dinner with two twists; you cannot speak (laughter exempt), and feed each other every bite.
  • Make a book of coupons, each one good for a massage, bubble bath, or cleaning the house, clothing optional.
 

How about some kid specific green Valentine's Day tips?

  • Talk to your child’s teacher about swapping green Valentine’s Day cards this year.
  • Have your child find used and recycled materials from around the house that to turn into cards. For example, CD cases, mint tins, and small boxes make perfect cards.
  • Encourage your child to create extra cards and deliver them to people whose Valentine’s Day could be a little brighter (such as at retirement communities).
  • Send your child to school with organic and fair trade Valentine’s Day confections. Organic Candy and Natural Candy Store stock every variety imaginable.
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All the Valentine's Day coverage an eco-geek could ever want.