Ways to have a memorable, but still sustainable, Valentine’s Day
Celebrate your love for a significant other, friend or the Earth with these tips for having a sustainable Valentine’s Day
With the pressure of buying gifts and making romantic gestures, it’s easy to overlook the impacts of increased consumption during Valentine’s Day. It is estimated that 9 million kilograms of additional carbon dioxide is released into the air on Valentine’s Day alone. Stereotypical customs of buying stuffed animals or candy packaged in substantial amounts of plastic produces large amounts of waste. However, there are plenty of accessible Valentine’s Day activities ranging from visiting museums, ice skating or environmentally-friendly crafts where you can engage in a sustainable celebration of love this holiday.
Enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the winter season by visiting the National Sculpture Garden Ice Skating Rink, which offers an opportunity to get outside and enjoy time with friends or a significant other. Open until March 5, weather permitting, the rink is surrounded by sculptures, monuments and museums. Its location showcases the city’s iconic architecture and intriguing art.
For those up for a challenge, Rock Creek Park, located right here in the district, provides a mixture of fresh air, history and hiking. Open year-round, the park is a 1,754 acre property and has numerous paths so guests can customize their hike by utilizing the Western Ridge Trail and Valley Trail. Rock Creek Park, with its water features and bridges, is perfect for those seeking a casual stroll or rugged romantic adventure.
Another popular hiking spot is Great Falls Park. Guests can explore 15 miles of trails with varying levels of difficulty, allowing visitors to choose an experience best suited for them. The park has three overlooks with viewing platforms of the Great Falls.
If an outdoor date sounds appealing but you want something more laid-back, the National Capitol Columns in the U.S. National Arboretum is the perfect place for a romantic picnic. Beyond the columns, the property hosts a range of serene locations including the Friendship Garden, which has benches and seating areas accessible by brick paths.
A warmer option this Valentine's Day is to visit one of D.C.’s museums. For example, the National Portrait Gallery offers various exhibits such as In Memoriam, which includes a print of Sidney Poiter, the writer of For Love of Ivy, which was the first romantic comedy featuring two Black movie stars.
Lastly, there are plenty of sustainable DIY crafts and gifts that show your affection for someone just as much as a box of chocolates, if not more. Buying houseplants will last longer than pre-cut flowers from a store, and making Valentine’s Day cards out of recycled paper is not only cheaper but can be a more personal gesture.
If you want to share the love with the environment, create homemade birdseed valentines, which are heart-shaped birdseed ornaments you can hang anywhere outside or give to loved ones so they can pass on a sweet treat for nature.
With so many local options and crafts to choose from, it's easy to avoid spending on disposable items. This Valentine’s Day, consider how reducing your consumption can still make for a memorable holiday that expresses your love for a special someone and the planet.
This article was edited by Patricia McGee, Kylie Bill, Nina Heller. Copy editing by Isabelle Kravis, Stella Guzik, Sophie Myers and Sophia Rocha.