By Christa Adams
Surprising your boo with a creative Valentine’s Day date can be hard enough. So why not solve two problems with a single Cupid’s arrow — namely, showing both your partner and the planet how much you care? After all, this holiday isn’t known for its lack of excess. Consider the giant stuffed teddy bears and plastic-wrapped chocolate boxes stocking store shelves. Or the helium balloons and far-from-sustainable decor being snapped up ahead of February 14. Most of it, of course, will wind up in landfills, discarded after a few days or weeks.
So, what is a romantic-at-heart who also wants to lead an eco-friendlier lifestyle to do? Not to worry! If you’ve already found the perfect gift for that special someone and you’re planning a date for two, consider these ideas sure to help make this Valentine’s Day a sweet, memorable, and sustainable one.
Visit a farmer’s market and have a picnic
A fantastic way to be more sustainable is by supporting your local farmers, particularly those who use eco-friendly farming solutions. That’s why spending the morning wandering through the farmer’s market, followed by an afternoon picnic, is one of the best eco-friendly date ideas for Valentine’s Day. Stock up on your favorites, whether that’s fresh bread, cheese, and chocolate or dozens of sweet fruits and vegetables. Gather them in a picnic basket — which also happens to make for a terrific eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift — and head someplace secluded and special. From there, simply relish in the good food and company, or bring cards, a book to read to your partner, or whatever you both enjoy.
Go for a bike ride
Embarking on a romantic cycling date for two is a fun, active way to explore the outdoors while enjoying each other’s company. It is also a sustainable form of transportation that reduces air pollution and conserves natural resources like fuel and energy. Besides, it’s free, so long as you have your own bikes — if not, your city might have a bike rental service — it can be done almost anywhere. Cycle through the city and discover hidden gems, ride around a park, or even just through your neighborhood.
Plant a tree together in your backyard
Have space in your backyard for a tree to grow? Then what could be more romantic and watching this sapling mature as your own relationship does? If you are newlyweds or recently moved in together, planting a tree together is especially beautiful. It takes about 10 to 20 years for a tree to reach maturity. So, every as the tree grows, it also marks another year of being together. Planting a tree is also a wonderful way to help balance out your carbon emissions. Trees produce oxygen that we need to breathe. They also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, which lessens erosion and pollution in our waterways. Plus, they provide homes to such wildlife as birds and squirrels.
Have a romantic dinner using sustainable ingredients
If one or both of you love to cook, this is a cozy Valentine’s Day date idea to do at home. Set the table, light some sustainable soy-wax candles, and cook a meal using fresh farmer’s market produce or local ingredients. Dinner at home is a great eco-friendly date idea if you want to have a fancy dinner while avoiding restaurant prices. Remember to compost or use up all your leftovers.
Watch a movie together at home
Instead of a Hollywood rom-com or tearjerker, why not pop some popcorn and cozy up to watch an environmental-themed documentary? For like-minded eco-warriors, this can be a wonderful way to bond while also learning and refining their environmental focus. Climate change, deforestation, and the extinction of species are some of the most important stories of our time, and storytellers and documentarians are bringing these issues to big (and small) screens. A film can inspire us, raise awareness, and bring you and your loved one closer together — and closer to nature.
Take a hike out into nature
Pack a day bag, strap on your best outdoorsy shoes, grab your partner’s hand, and head out into the beauty of nature. Whether that’s forest, mountain, or beachside trails, nature is a way to reconnect with yourself and your loved one, too. Just remember to leave no trace and be kind to the wildlife you encounter. Bonus points if you pick up litter along the way.
Go camping together
If a hike isn’t enough, make it a unique Valentine’s Day date by going camping together. Depending on the weather where you live, this can be such a wonderful way to spend some quality time together and cozy up beneath the stars. Just be sure to leave no waste behind and camp only in designated areas. We also recommend bringing along eco-friendly laundry strips if you need to wash anything, and some sustainable meals to enjoy throughout the trip.
Dine at a farm-to-table restaurant
If you want to relax together this Valentine’s Day but still be eco-friendly, then a dinner for two is an easy classic. Just visit a sustainable, farm-to-table restaurant in your area. These restaurants have become even more popular in recent years by using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. The vibe is usually simplistic and chic with sprawling plants and wooden decor, making for a stunning Valentine’s Day date night.
Remember that small actions can make a big difference. By choosing sustainable alternatives in your daily life and during special holidays, you’re helping stem the damage being done to the planet — while also enjoying new, unexpected romantic adventures and excursions with your partner.