Our planet should be everyone’s favorite on Valentine’s Day

February is the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is observed not only in the United States, but also in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. The tradition of exchanging cards, chocolate, gifts and flowers is very popular. 

According to the Greeting Card Association, Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. That makes it really important to try to make this wonderful holiday celebration a little bit more Earth-friendly and get creative in terms of what is exchanged without losing focus of what the celebration is really about: a demonstration of friendship and love.

Small steps toward making Valentine’s Day a little gentler on our Earth may include purchasing cards made from recycled paper, making your own cards and notes from what we already have at home (as shown at wikihow.com/Make-a-Recycled-Heart-Valentine%27s-Day-Card), giving flowers from your garden, buying gifts from local businesses and performing meaningful gestures.

The last one is the most important of all because gestures and attitude really show where our heart is. If someone (or something) is really important to us, we will do everything to protect them and preserve the relationship we have with them. 

If you think about it, it is valid to say that the same applies to our planet, our Earth.

Our relationship with the Earth goes beyond affection. We depend on a healthy planet to lead healthy lives. Our existence relies on it. And if we want to do something, every small, everyday gesture truly helps the planet. 

From applying less fertilizer on your lawn and planting native Florida gardens to bringing your reusable bags when you go shopping; from voting to make changes in legislation to better protect the environment to donating unwanted items instead of putting them on the curb; from bringing recyclable items to dispose at home to dropping off your used corks at River Rocks (Rockledge) or Total Wines & More (Viera) to be used in projects — everything counts.

As writer Sydney Smith said, "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little — do what you can." Whatever that may be, find the best way you can positively contribute and that will make an impact. After all, "Humans are an environmental force that impacts Earth’s ecosystems" (Environmental Science for a Changing World) and we do need that force to be positive, to be constructive. 

Because the stories of the origin of Valentine’s Day "all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and —most importantly — romantic figure," February became the month we demonstrate our love toward others who are important to us. The Earth should be important to all of us, so this month, why not vow to be Earth’s Valentine?