Valentine’s Day in Mauritius is celebrated worldwide on 14 February every year. On this day, people express their love by exchanging gifts, words, and gestures. The ultimate expression of love for humanity is ending global suffering, poverty, and inequality.
COVID-19 and social distancing may have changed this year’s festivities; however, that does not mean you cannot still enjoy – and do a charitable deed simultaneously. Instead of just gifts, flowers, or chocolates, what if you expressed your love with purposeful presents that advocate sustainability, challenge institutions of inequality, and promote eradicating poverty?
Not only can you contribute to making an impact in the community, but you and your loved ones may also memorialise your common beliefs to benefit others. Here are seven ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day while making the whole world a kinder, more environmental, and a better place.
1. Donate to a cause that helps vulnerable communities.
An organisation like YUVA has taken the initiative to help and contribute to vulnerable communities, children, and young people around the globe by providing them with facilities like education, employment, clothing, and healthcare. Their primary goal is to eradicate poverty and malnutrition from the face of the world. You can give a helping hand to numerous organisations like YUVA and make your Valentine’s Day even more purposeful.
Valentine’s Day is also an excellent opportunity to donate to organisations that fight starvation, gender inequality, poverty, global health, and climate change. Giving to others, no matter how much or how little, is a decision that seems to reap meaningful rewards.
2. In honour of your Valentine, plant a tree.
As part of our fight against climate change, trees reduce carbon dioxide emissions by millions of pounds each year. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, so you can become part of the solution for a more sustainable world by supporting tree-planting organisations.
Arbor Day Foundation is among the many organisations where you may honour your dear ones by naming a tree after them. You can express your love with a tree, as trees grow robust and can live for years – the ideal testimony to your relationship. You and your partner can plant a tree together in your backyard even if you do not donate to an organisation that plants trees.
3. Send a gift of sustainably sourced flowers.
On Valentine’s Day, flowers are the most conventional gift. However, even many red roses can have significant repercussions on the ecosystem.
It was recently reported in the Washington Post that 80 per cent of 5.6 billion flowers purchased in the US are sourced from outside. This results in more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Furthermore, long-distance delivery of flowers requires more chemicals to maintain their freshness.
The cultivation of these flowers occurs in countries with less regulation of pesticides. Besides damaging the natural environment, labourers are also exposed to hazardous chemicals that might have severe health impacts. Look for local, organic florists instead of contributing to the commercial flower industry to reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Give a cup of coffee or tea that promotes social issues.
No matter how rampant the pandemic, how hectic news headlines, and how social distancing tactics are, a warm cup of tea or coffee is sure to brighten your partner’s day.
The organisation, Change Please aids people who are suffering from housing insecurity. By providing training, jobs, accommodations, and therapeutic assistance, Change Please is healing people and helping to eradicate homelessness. By buying their coffee, you can put your bit into the noble cause, which allows positively transforming someone’s life.
Tea People lets you select tasty, award-winning teas while supporting a social purpose if your companion likes tea. Half of their profits fund educational programs in tea-growing areas.
5. Show your commitment by adopting an animal.
During this pandemic, spending more time at home could be the perfect time for you to adopt a pet and save an animal’s life.
According to Helping Hands, roughly 8 to 12 million cats and dogs are killed every year since they are homeless and nobody wants them. Adopting animals from shelters also reduces the brutality and violence that animals endure in crossbreeding operations. As you work together to take care of the adorable addition to the family, a puppy or kitten can bring you and your partner closer than ever.
6. Take a class together at a local business.
While you would have enjoyed Valentine’s Day 2021 out at a fancy dinner or bar, you could try something drastically different this year. Rather than spending your day cooped up on the sofa, you may spend your Valentine’s Day sharing quality time with your partner, taking a new course, or even learning a new skill, all the while supporting local businesses.
You and your partner might enjoy taking online classes as a way to spend quality time together instead of giving gifts while assisting local businesses suffering during the outbreak.
Many businesses are already offering online workshops and classes, from painting to candle-making, pottery, and even beer brewing; all you can learn from the comfort and privacy of your home on online platforms.
Payal Mathur, YUVA Intern and PhD Research Scholar, Amity University, Rajasthan, India