This Valentine’s Day, love the earth

Here are six ways to make your romantic gestures earth-friendly this Valentine’s Day:

1. Cook dinner for your Valentine at home instead of going out. You’ll save a little bit on gas and do your part to reduce emissions.

2. Buy local food for your home-cooked meal. Buying locally grown food supports your neighbors and ensures that your food hasn't traveled energy-wasting miles to reach you. While local food may seem scarce in the winter, farmers are often selling winter vegetables or root vegetables stocked from the summer.

3. To save both electricity and your own time and energy, cook your romantic meal in a crock pot. A slow-cooked meal makes a warm and delicious Valentine's treat, and the smaller appliance uses less energy than oven cooking.

4. If you don't own a crock pot, avoid the oven and try dishes you can cook in the microwave or toaster oven. On the stovetop, use the correct size pan for the burner, keep the lids on and turn the burner off shortly before the dish is done.

5. Candlelight is romantic and doesn't cost a penny of electricity. If you must flip a switch, make sure your fixtures contain energy-efficient light bulbs.

6. Make your gifts more sustainable. Give greeting cards printed on recycled paper and opt for a longer-lasting potted plant rather than fresh-cut flowers.