How to have a romantic and sustainable Valentine’s Day

Barry gives some easy tips for making reducing your impact on the planet this Valentine’s Day

Written by Barry Clohessy


“What you are doing for Valentine’s day?” she asked. This may seem like a normal question for most, but I knew it was a loaded one as it came from the mouth of an eco-warrior! I replied, that I wasn’t doing anything special “Probably a night in, dinner and a movie.” She then took my plans and ‘planet proofed’ them which meant she ensured my actions had the lowest impact on the environment and people.

When I started working in the Union of Student in  Ireland, I knew the basics about sustainability and climate change. However, the last few months has made me realise how much of an impact young people can really have. I sat in the Four Courts last month as young people packed the room and watched the government get taken to court over their poor climate action. I read all about the walk outs happening across the world by school children. I was so inspired by Greta Thunberg, I went plastic free and even cut back on my meat consumption. USI’s  work on Fairtrade opened my eyes to the social pillars of sustainability and workers’ rights. This is why I accepted the eco warriors tips with a smile on my face and I want to spread the word so others could ensure they include the planet in their plans too.

So, here are my tops tips to ensure your Bae and Planet are shown love this Valentine’s day:

The Gift

Flowers & chocolate, it’s a classic for a reason. This year swing by Lidi and pick up Fairtrade flowers & chocolates that won’t break the bank. The flowers are 5.99 in Aldi, while chocolate range In Lidi goes from 1 euro to 5 euro.  While your there, you can pick up some Fairtrade wine too. If you don’t have a Lidi, you can try local store for ‘Green & Blacks’ chocolate bars, Maltesers or Ben & Jerrys Ice cream. For a full list of products and location here.

Setting the mood

Dim the lights real low to get the mood right, It also saves on energy bills. Or skip the lights completely and opt for some eco soy candles. They are palm free and made with essential oil which only add to the sensory experience. I get mine from Emma’s So Natural

The Meal

Only the best for your love one this year! When choosing ingredients opt for organic or local when you can. Meat can be picked up from your butcher and most chain stores have contracts with local famers so just check the pack to see where the meat is from. That said, keeping it veggie keeps your carbon footprint low and planet happy. Try some of these quick and easy vegetarian recipes.

Remember keeping the lid on pots and cooking in glass speeds up the process and saves energy! Keep that oven door closed too.  

Now that you’re a cooking god, don’t forget to keep your scraps so you can cook another meal tomorrow. Create your own magic or simple google ‘meal ideas for left vers’. You get great value for money and prevent food waste.

Dessert time

Don’t know what to make? There is lots to choose from, like banoffee pie, carrot cake,  banana & chocolate bread, in the Fairtrade cookbook here. Pair it with some Fairtrade tea or coffee to make it complete.

The activity

Don’t turn the heating on if you want to turn things up! The lights are dim, your belly is full, there is a romantic aroma in the air…. time to snuggle up on the sofa under a cosy blanket. Still cold? Skip the heating, grab and extra blanket or jumpers and just move in closer for that body heat.


There is nothing better than a fresh pair of sheets so remember washing at 30 degrees saves energy and keeps those whites white! Don’t forget to turn off all appliances so we know they won’t  be the cause of your restless night

Student Switch Off is a not-for-profit international campaign encouraging student action on climate change. It is funded under Horizon 2020. We run energy-saving competitions within universities in the UK, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, and Romania. Follow them on Instagram and snapchat 

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