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4 gifts not to give this Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air and it’s easy to forget about sustainability amongst all the commercial hype and cliched ideas of romance. So we’re going to help you out with an easy to achieve list of gifts not to give if you want to protect our planet:

  1. Dinner for two at a restaurant (that serves meat): We’ve said it on this blog before and we’ll say it again, according to Natalie Fee in How to Save the World for Free meat eaters have a water footprint of 5000L per day while for vegetarians this is only 1000-2000L per day. If you must eat out find a vegan restaurant and reduce your water footprint by more than 50%.

2. A new tablet or mobile phone: The War on Waste stated that Australians throw out 700 000 tonnes of ewaste per year. Not only is this gift a pretty ordinary token of affection it’s also contributing to ewaste. The War on Waste estimates that up to 80% of ewaste is illegally dumped and then burnt in third world countries releasing toxic poisons into the atmosphere.

3. Red roses: We hate to break it to you but the Sydney Morning Herald Digital Library Edition on Friday revealed that florists in Australia often rely on roses to be transported from overseas for Valentine’s Day. This means more flying miles, more emissions and consequently more environmental damage. If you must give flowers make sure they are locally sourced.

Anything plastic: Tony Juniper in The Science of our Changing Planet declares that 90% of all litter floating on the ocean’s surface is plastic. So just don’t do it! Plastic is a no go zone if you care about the planet (and you should).

While we haven’t given you a list of great gift ideas to give your Valentine today we have certainly helped to eliminate some of the gift giving mistakes that are part and parcel of traditional romance. Make this Valentine’s Day a happy day for your imagination and for the planet too!  

By Anne Reddacliff, ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group committee member


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