Go Green This Valentine’s Day

Love your sweetie and your planet with these organic ideas for Valentine’s Day, and make February, and the rest of the year, a bit more green.

Green is the new red this Valentine's Day.

Green is the new red for Valentine's Day.

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Make "green" the new red this Valentine's Day. Show love for the planet by altering some traditional activities, making February a greener, more eco-friendly month. For example, Jodi Helmer, author of The Green Year, suggests:

? ordering organic roses for your Valentine, grown without pesticides or preservatives;

? surprising your Valentine with a candle lit dinner, turning the lights out saves energy;

? toasting your Valentine with organic wine produced locally (they travel the shortest distance from vineyard to table);

? snapping photographs of your Valentine with a digital camera, print your favorite images and store the rest electronically;

? onsidering the purchase of a piece of estate jewelry, the ultimate in reducing, reusing and recycling.

Going green is no small task. It takes a real commitment to change and for those who live a fast-paced, convenience-oriented lifestyle, the challenge can be more than a little daunting. What’s the answer? Take it one day at a time. Break down that giant commitment into 365 daily routines that will help make the planet a better place.

In her book, Helmer provides simple and inexpensive eco-friendly ideas for each day of the year. Organized by date, the green living tips suggest small changes and environmentally friendly ideas that make a big green impact. Flip to April for ideas on greening the garden or turn to November for ideas for a green Thanksgiving celebration.

The Green Year (December 2008, $14.95, ISBN: 9781592578290, Alpha Books) is more than a calendar. It offers practical, affordable, and engaging activities that help make going green a blessing rather than a burden. Daily ideas include:

? August 18 – Place tennis balls in the dryer to speed up the drying time as well as fluff up items like comforters and pillows.

? September 14 – Purchase a one-gallon container of milk instead of two half-gallons.

? May 26 – Plant mint in your garden for a natural solution to keep mice at bay.

? July 17 – Try the 100-mile diet – eat food that is grown within 100 miles of your home.

In addition to these easy green suggestions, readers will find:

? The “why” behind each activity – what makes it good for the environment and the reader?

? A quick “how-to” for any activity that requires additional explanation (most do not).

? Room for readers to write in their own creative alternatives.

? Illustrations where extra clarification is needed.

Check out the book's website for more information. Helmer is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about eco-friendly topics from her home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Contact her through her website.

Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., publishes high- quality lifestyle and reference books in 30 different categories. The Complete Idiot's Guides®, Alpha Teach Yourself in 24 Hours, At Your Fingertips – as well as other series and stand-alone titles – provide helpful how-to information and general knowledge in an easily accessible manner. Visit the website for more information.