veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

End Valentine’s Day consumerism

How corporate America has hijacked Valentine’s Day
End+Valentine%E2%80%99s+Day+consumerism

The seemingly pleasant and heartwarming holiday commemorating love can be bittersweet for many. Regardless of whether you have a significant other, Valentine’s Day always takes its toll one way or another: leaving your heart empty or your wallet slim. 

If you’ve been through public school, you probably have memories of exchanging Valentine’s Day gifts in elementary school with your classmates. Remember those boxes of Valentine-themed candy your parents would buy for you? As kids, we were all conditioned to associate the holiday of love with purchasing and brands. We see it in television and movies, so no romantic Valentine’s Day is complete without cut flowers and a box of chocolates. 

The Valentine’s Day hype gets quite ridiculous when you walk into grocery stores. Usually, right by the entrance, there will be an enormous display of various on-theme products like flowers and cards. But this is rather absurd when you consider that those stores are, well, grocery stores, and should be selling just that. The retail industry will take any opportunity to make a profit off of manipulating the emotions of consumers, and love may well be one of the most pliable emotions. Retail stores were expected to make a whopping $25.8 billion in Valentine’s Day purchases this year.

Receiving gifts specifically results in a high rate of consumerism, leading to economic and environmental damage. The most common Valentine’s Day gifts of flowers, chocolates and jewelry are produced by industries that are known for being unsustainable or that violate fair trade practices. 

The cut flower trade specifically has steep environmental and human costs. Cut flower farming consumes an enormous amount of water, and can wreak havoc on local ecosystems and contribute to climate change. Due to required refrigeration, transporting these flowers has costly effects. 

“In 2018, Valentine’s Day flowers grown in Colombia and flown to US airports produced some 360,000 metric tons of CO2, according to estimates by the International Council on Clean Transportation. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly equivalent to 78,000 cars driven for one year,” Ted.com said. 

The production of jewelry is also a massive contributor to climate change and pollution, through the mining of precious metals and other materials.

“First of all, mining massively contributes to air pollution. Many toxic elements are released into the air, such as volatile organic compounds and other hazardous air pollutants. Some of the particles found in the air can even contain cadmium, lead, and arsenic,” SustainablyChic said. 

These pollutants can lead to respiratory issues, lung diseases, and other health issues.

As exciting as it is to give and receive special gifts to or from that special someone, we believe that one must take into account the vast negative impacts purchasing these gifts can have. So please, do not fall into the consumerism trap next Valentine’s Day

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About the Contributors
Brooke Herstein, News Editor
Jackson Hill, Ombudsman

Class of 2024

Jackson has been part of the Talon staff for 2 years. He has previously served as a Staff Writer and enjoys writing news pieces.

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