Columns, Opinion

RUTH: Sustainable love

A tree would be the perfect valentine. Time after time, they alleviate our errors by taking in the absurd amount of carbon dioxide that we propel into our atmosphere, they’re beautiful to look at and it’s impossible for them to lie. Trees are completely open books. If you use an increment borer to extract a core from the bark to the center of the tree, you can read the entire growth history, illustrated by thedistances between the growth rings.

Since I’m not going to profess my love to a tree on Commonwealth Avenue, I might as well do it justice. Out of all the things that should be receiving love on Valentine’s Day, it’s the natural resources that we take for granted. Nothing says “I love you” more than a dozen roses (and let’s not forget the chocolate). According to CNN, the total spending this year for Valentine’s Day was a whopping $18.6 billion. That being said, it’s quite obvious that this is a holiday that was invented by money-hungry corporations. By purchasing one of the 224 million roses grown for Valentine’s Day, you’re showing your affection for your loved ones and the big industries as well.

According to Hallmark, 151 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged between friends and lovers annually. I tend to make my own though, hand-written and hand-drawn masterpieces. I was never a fan of giving someone a Hallmark Valentines Day card with just my name written on it. I like to put my creative skills to the test and not pay $2 for a tacky card with a tagline that tried too hard to be funny.

I know that Valentine’s Day has its roots with Saint Valentine, who was beheaded for his Christian faith and apparently, after being imprisoned, healed a jailor’s daughter of her blindness. I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite sure how this moment in history made people want to buy extravagant gifts for their loved ones.

Cards aren’t the only things that trees provide for us on the magical holiday devoted to love. Trees present the perfect barky service for couples to take a pocketknife and grotesquely carve their initials into.

Similar to humans, trees are sensitive and the tissue directly on the inside of the outer bark is particularly delicate. After cutting into the tree, pathogens and insects burrow their way into the exposed area, leading to the spread of disease throughout the tree and ultimately leading to its premature death.

So, before you frolic off into the woods and precariously write your initials into an innocent sugar maple, display your love for your boyfriend or girlfriend by leaving the tree out of it.

For those who bought Hallmark cards for their sweethearts on this Valentines Day,consider sending an e-card to your lovers via email next year. You can animate it, choose pretty colors and reduce the massive carbon footprint of Valentine’s Day.

And for those of you who don’t have a Valentine, you can always hug a tree.

Jennifer Ruth is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].

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