We all know February is the month of love. Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually on 14th February, a day historically associated with love and the time to embrace matters of the heart. But why not do something a little different this year? Instead of spending money on the commercial gimmicks associated with Valentine’s Day, why not do something more worthwhile? It’s easy to buy a bunch of ridiculously priced red roses but they’ll probably be dead within a week and let’s face it, it’s not exactly original is it? Hopefully, your loved ones know exactly how you feel about them without the need for an overpriced gesture dictated by legend and myth.
Your planet, however, is less convinced of your love and devotion. Your precious, beautiful, fragile world is feeling abused, neglected and damaged. Never has it been so vital to express your love for the environment and to protect it from climate change. Your planet is not asking you to spend money on pointless cards and trinkets this Valentine’s Day; it’s merely asking you to stop and think about how you are treating it and to make small changes towards a better world.
It’s no longer possible to ignore the threat and impact of climate change. Sea temperatures are increasing, ice bergs are melting and weather is becoming more extreme. Wild fires in Australia have dominated news headlines and climate activist, Greta Thunberg (voted Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2019), has inspired millions to take action. Granted, we can’t all take a year out to attend conferences and challenge political leaders, but we can be more energy-efficient and learn to love our planet.
Start by changing your attitude to energy. Unplug computers, laptops and other electronic devices when you’re not using them. Switch off lights. Wash your clothes in warm (not hot) water. Hang-dry your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer. Change to energy-efficient light bulbs and control your air-conditioning with a timer to avoid unnecessary use.
Your eating habits can be more climate-friendly too. Food wastage is a huge problem in Kuwait so avoid ordering and buying in excess and try to eat more meat-free meals (start with a meat-free Monday and see where it leads). Embracing a plant-based lifestyle is good for your own wellbeing as well as benefiting the planet. Reducing the amount of processed food you eat is also recommended. Where possible, switch to organic produce or, even better, grow your own! And remember to take your own bags to the supermarket – cutting down on plastic should be on everyone’s agenda.
Another problem in Kuwait is traffic pollution. Walking is not always possible in extreme temperatures but car sharing is certainly viable. And next time you upgrade your car, consider switching to an electric or hybrid model.
Fast fashion is particularly damaging to the environment. Textiles are a key source of greenhouse gas emissions so think about changing the way you shop or, better still, stop shopping altogether!
Try taking a month off from buying new clothes. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not only saving money, you’re saving your planet too. Alternatively, if this is one step too far, search for sustainable brands. And, if you really must buy that new dress, jacket or shirt, make sure you wear it at least thirty times.
Everyone knows that ‘R’ is for ‘red’ on Valentine’s Day but this year, give a thought to the other three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Your planet will love you for it.