Should we Boycott Valentines Day?

Aidan Priestley

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Boycott Exploitation Photo Credit: Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (Flickr)
Boycott Exploitation Photo Credit: Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (Flickr) Source

February 14th is almost upon us, which begets the false holiday which for this weekend is already in full swing. Of course it’s Valentines day. February is the shortest month of the year, surely we would then do our very best to get the most out of those short days.

Darth Love
Darth Love Photo Credit: Kristina Alexanderson (Flickr) Source

Instead we invented an entirely useless holiday that takes up our time and money. There are a plethora of articles detailing what to do on the eponymous day of love, whether you are single, unprepared or just clueless.

Capitalist Greed Photo Credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig (Flickr)
Capitalist Greed Photo Credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig (Flickr) Source

There is equally no shortage of complainants attempting to undercut the corporate capitalist agenda. Let’s avoid the conspiracy, in part because it has been done to death but equally due to the fact that as a day it is only as popular as the consumer allows it to be.

Consumers Photo Credit: Stavos (Flickr)
Consumers Photo Credit: Stavos (Flickr) Source

Instead of shouting out against the established festivities of February 14th we should look at limiting the damage we cause by being irresponsible in our quest for love. By no means is this article advocating against love, relationships or the general spirit that Valentines is supposed to embody.

True Love Photo Credit: Rooners Toy Photography
True Love Photo Credit: Rooners Toy Photography Source

There is more than one way to be responsible this Valentines day and that is by looking at how we spend our money on each other. While we will avoid damning the corporations for hijacking one of our most sincere emotions we will not shy away from discussing the industry’s abuses.

Sea Pollution Covers Shore Photo Credit: Jimmy Hilario (Flickr)
Sea Pollution Covers Shore Photo Credit: Jimmy Hilario (Flickr) Source

Just like any other event centered on gift exchange Valentines Day generates huge amounts of pollution. Gifts are intrinsically linked to pollution and litter, between gift wrapping, the packaging and the quite frankly useless gift itself there is no shortage of rubbish to throw out.

Recycle Photo Credit: Katy Tresedder (Flickr)
Recycle Photo Credit: Katy Tresedder (Flickr) Source

The first step toward a solution is to be mindful of your own rubbish, make sure to recycle your useless gifts and packaging. Try to take this a step further though, instead of just recycling your own things try buying from a company that has a good record with recycling. At the very least try to avoid the companies that are the worst for the environment.

Sweatshop Workers Photo Credit: zakattak
Sweatshop Workers Photo Credit: zakattak (Flickr) Source

Unfortunately so much of western goods are produced in modern day sweatshops. It is increasingly difficult to find a major company that is not in some way involved in the deplorable conditions found in these workshops. Admittedly Ireland is not in a long way the most progressive in terms of human rights, particularly women’s rights, but one way to avoid rewarding the slave masters is by buying locally, which is good for the economy too; so well done you.

Valentine Roses Photo Credit: Mike (Flickr)
Valentine Roses Photo Credit: Mike (Flickr) Source

Then there are the flowers, valentines is often considered a big day for florists with people claiming there is a boost in the floral economy. The truth is as we are increasingly money conscious we try to buy cheaper and cheaper flowers. There are different disadvantages to this approach, firstly all of the above problems apply to flowers.

Bad Valentines Photo Credit: jb.galedo (Flickr)
Bad Valentines Photo Credit: jb.galedo (Flickr) Source

Flowers are wrapped and packaged and will eventually need to be disposed of so always make sure to do so responsibly. What you might not know however is that in the U.S the flower industry is not as straightforward as you might presume. Instead of buying flowers you know nothing about and will have to throw out, take a trip to a garden or a day out with your loved one.

True Love Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert (Flickr)
True Love Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert (Flickr) Source

Remember this is not an article shaming those that love Valentines Day, or each other for that matter, but it is an article asking us all to be a little more responsible with our love. Love is not a product but a feeling. Save your money -and the environment- by spending time together instead.

 

Valentines Day is not about things or money but love. Boycotting Valentines does not mean ignoring that love but spending it together and not costing our future.

 

Timeless Love Photo Credit: Laura Thorne (Flickr)
Timeless Love Photo Credit: Laura Thorne (Flickr) Source

Never forget those that loved you first and forever, your parents, grandparents and family. Valentines day should not just be about you and the loved ones you choose but also the ones you were born to love; because lets face it, they usually know where you live. To keep them out of your own house go visit them and show them their love is not wasted.

Stuck for Gift Ideas? Photo Credit: Shaun Murphy (Flickr)
Stuck for Gift Ideas? Photo Credit: Shaun Murphy (Flickr) Source

So much advice is given around this time, typically to men, on the best gift this Valentines. Ladies, ye assume ye get this right but in truth we are too nice, and probably too scared, to tell you otherwise. So for the woman unsure what to get her man, and for the woman who thinks she knows but doesn’t, look no further. The perfect gift for your man this Valentines Day.

 

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Aidan Priestley