By Alex Blackwell, Intent
Dating today is a lot different, from an eco-friendly perspective, than it was 25 years ago when I first met my wife. In 1984 we would hit the McDonald’s on the way to the beach and order bags of fast food placed in Styrofoam containers. After we had our fill of the sun, we would jump back in the car and drive the short one-half mile distance from the shoreline to the Boardwalk where we would play Putt-Putt and shop for souvenirs.
While Mary Beth and I still enjoy our time at the beach, our approach has changed based on our knowledge of how we can better protect the Earth for our children and grandchildren and so on. While there is still plenty of interest from both of us to keep the passion and romance alive, we are beginning to learn how to find romantic things to do that respects our planet at the same time.
1. Exchange cards or notes made out of recycled papers. Nothing delights me more than to find a card or note Mary Beth has left for me. Today, it’s easy to find recycled cards. You may also want to check out www.recycledgreetingcards.com. This site offers 100% recycled cards for almost every occasion.
2. Spend time growing a garden together. Avoiding harmful pesticides is not the only benefit to planting a garden. Gardens help to prevent the run-off of pollutants into our water supplies, plus, the additional vegetation provides a much-need shot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
3. Feed the birds. Feed them and they will come. Set up birdfeeders in your backyard and then grab a glass of wine or the drink of your choice and plant yourself next to your mate on a bench as you watch the birds enjoy the feast. After finding your lawn, the birds will return the favor by eating the insects that can damage your yard. A little birdfeed is a better choice that a bottle of Raid.
4. Go to a zoo. Use your time at the zoo to learn how you can help the environment. Discuss how you can help the animals that are facing extinction. Extend the love you have for your partner to the other living beings we share this world with, too. A word of caution: Not all Zoos are animal friendly. Visit Zoos that allow animals to roam in their natural habitats, like the San Diego Wild Animal Park. In fact you may want to visit the San Diego’s Zoo website to get a better sense of how a conscientious Zoo respects its animals.
5. Have a green picnic. There are plenty of choices to turn your romantic picnic into one that is environmentally friendly. Use real plates, not paper; use reusable cups, not disposable ones. And when the picnic is over, don’t forget to recycle!
6. Turn down the heat. During the months of January and February in Kansas City, Mary Beth and I really miss the milder winters of Virginia Beach. While we can’t control the Arctic air that moves across the down slope of the Great Plains and seemingly through our front door, we can control the temperature inside our home. We have learned to be more energy conscious by turning our thermostat to 68 degrees. While this puts a slight chill in the house, it does provide the opportunity for us to lounge in front of a fire or cuddle closer together in bed.
7. Plant a tree together. Trees play an essential role in the eco-system of the earth. You and your partner can visit your local nursery to get information on which trees would be best for the climate and soil conditions in your community. Planting a tree acknowledges the importance of planning for the future, and of setting down roots – two elements essential to a strong relationship.
8. Keep the car at home and walk. Convenience comes with a price. In 1984, the price for a gallon of gasoline was still less than a dollar. We didn’t think twice about using the car to go wherever we wanted to go. Today, my wife and I attempt to walk to our destinations not because of the much higher price of gasoline, but because of our knowledge to care more for our world more. The auxiliary benefit to this approach is unencumbered, and even blissful, time together.
9. Turn off the lights. Save energy and create a romantic ambiance by turning off unneeded lights. At the end of the day, in the darkness of our room, my wife and I find peace and closeness and feel thankful for our time on this earth together. Just as we try to cherish and respect what we share, we are also mindful to show respect and tenderness to the earth that has provided such a beautiful stage to play out our lives.
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