Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day calls for staying home

Restaurants are romantic but can get pricey. Here’s how to make staying in just as good.

A home cooked, candlelit meal is not just a great gift for that special someone, it is a wonderful opportunity to do something positive for the environment.

More couples are choosing to eat at home rather than going out to a restaurant. On a larger scale, simple decisions like this can drastically affect emissions levels and take us a step closer to sustainability.

This upcoming Valentine’s Day, don’t deal with the hassles of reserving a table, getting transportation, buying overpriced entrees and getting carded for a glass of wine. When cooking at home, you are able to make decisions restaurants usually make for you.

The first step to a sustainable V-Day is creating an intimate setting at home. Find or make a small table, covered with cloth of some sort. Throwing a red shirt over a lamp adds a noticeable effect too, but make sure to build this romantic setting safely away from friends or roommates. (A lockable door would be preferred but is not necessary.)

Candles make great eco-friendly gifts and can also provide romantic lighting during dinner. Not only are they cheap and romantic, but candles allow you to turn off the lights every once in a while. If people sacrificed their light bulbs for a few hours and lit a few candles at night, more unnecessary energy use could be avoided.

Once you have a space with a table and some candles, you’re going to have to whip something up in the kitchen. Since pasta is easy to cook, it’s good for a dinner date. Usually, a box can be found in the back of a college student’s kitchen cabinet, but if not, a new box of spaghetti goes for little more than a dollar. Add a salad, some bread, sauce, chicken or fish, and you’ve got yourself (and your date) a meal.

To make your Valentine’s dinner even more eco-friendly, try to buy locally produced food. Fresh organic meats and vegetables can be purchased at farmers markets, as well as grocery stores.
So don’t pay attention to the commercials. You can celebrate with your valentine for next to nothing. Structured around consumption, holidays like Valentine’s Day are excellent opportunities for people to make changes to reduce their impact on the environment.

On Feb. 14, make an educated decision when it comes to your plans. Our generation has the opportunity to participate in a movement toward sustainability, and the great thing is, sometimes it is cheaper to go green.

Mike Podlogar can be reached at

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