V Day Challenges
Feb 9
Have you ever noticed that life is full of dilemmas? Of course, if you're fortunate enough to be in the U.S., chances are your dilemmas are pretty tame. You're not a refugee. You're not displaced.

So what's the big dilemma? Valentine's Day.

I've been listening to a lot of Freakonomics podcasts lately because...economics. I love the stuff, especially when the Freakonomics people make it so damn interesting. And upsetting, as it turns out. The environment is frequently discussed in Freakonomics conversations, and V Day flowers were a recent topic. An expert noted that most flowers we buy for V Day are grown in South America (or somewhere tropical - don't quote me) and flown or driven to the west coast of the U.S., then put on trucks and driven all over the states to become your special sweetheart bouquet. The fuel and hothouse waste is immense, hurting the environment.

This expert suggested buying high-quality plastic flowers instead. Her reasoning was that they were re-usable. I just about fell over. Is that truly better? Factories in China polluting the air and water? Plastic flowers subsequently put on container ships that pollute the oceans? Is that the best we can do?

I don't give crap about V Day, so I might be out of touch here. But what if we just skipped the flowers entirely and started a new tradition? Remember when people started using bird seed at weddings instead of rice? Let's do something similar with the flower issue. Let's give bird seed. Figuratively speaking. Get your honey something he or she can enjoy for a while - like a weekend away, some new and needed car tires or Salt and Straw ice cream. Skip the flowers. They just seem to be a mess, environmentally speaking.

Here's an even wilder idea - you and your valentine could give money to a favorite charity instead of any V Day present. Skip the meal, skip the present, skip the hullabaloo and donate to those damn refugees. They have real problems. Plastic flowers, my a**.
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