As you know, The Sustainable Lawyer focuses on highlighting law firms and offices that are committed to sustainability, providing green office tips, and the like. This week, however, we are going to step away from that focus for one very important reason — Valentine’s Day. While one might not immediately associate lawyers and Valentine’s Day, TSL knows that this week is filled with last minute bouquet hunting, chocolate buying and restaurant reserving for your significant other. Plus, we all know that being green is important whether it’s inside the office or out.
Earlier this week, Julie Taylor of Noble & Wickersham LLP and member of our Environmental Sustainability Task Force, sent TSL an e-mail about the Sierra Club highlighting some ways to have a more sustainable Valentine’s Day. While not all of their suggestions are ones we would recommend here (I’m looking at you, eco-underwear) there are some good and plausible suggestions for a greener Valentine’s Day. Here are our favorites:
Choose a “green” restaurant
The most sustainable option when planning a Valentine’s Day dinner is to buy ingredients from your local farmers market and make them yourself. But hey, it’s Valentine’s Day, and you and your significant other deserves a treat (that doesn’t involve washing dishes). So if you’re looking for a restaurant, try using DineGreen.com, the Green Restaurant Association’s website that certifies restaurants as “green” based on 7 categories; Water Efficiency, Waste Reduction and Recycling, Sustainable Furnishings and Building Materials, Sustainable Food, Energy, Disposables and Chemical and Pollution Reduction. The listing of Massachusetts green certified restaurants is here.
If you prefer vegetarian or vegan options, try VegDining.com, a database that compiles vegetarian/vegetarian friendly restaurants and food stores (and even denotes them based on vegan and vegetarian “friendliness”).
Buy Flowers Sustainably
In case you didn’t know, the cut-flower industry is damaging to the environment. While TSL wishes we could suggest that you make your own bouquet from your garden teeming with flowers of all varieties, it’s February in Massachusetts — so that’s not happening. One way to go is to buy from OrganicBouquet.com, the “largest online provider or eco-friendly and organic floral gifts.” Monitored by numerous certification agencies and associations, Organic Bouquets partners with farms in California, Ecuador and Columbia to provide customers with high quality flowers and floral arrangements in line with their strict eco-standards. Worried about shipping? Organic Bouquets has partnered with Carbonfund.org to initiate a carbon offset program that mitigates greenhouse gases generated from shipping your flowers and gifts.
Organic Chocolate is the Way to Go
To many of us, Valentine’s Day means one thing — chocolate. No one is crazy enough to suggest that you don’t buy chocolate for your Valentine, but TSL thinks the Sierra Club is onto something when it suggests buying chocolate that is organic, local and shade grown. Quick fact — of all plants, cocoa demands the second highest use of pesticides (cotton is first).
The Sierra Club suggests avoiding names like M&M/Mars, Hershey, and Russell Stover and keeping an eye out for Green & Black’s, Newman’s Own Organics, and Endangered Species. They offer more suggestions for artisanal, organic and fair trade options here, while Rainforest Relief offers its own list.
We know everybody thinks about the color red on Valentine’s Day, but this year, start thinking green.