Green valentines

Traditionalists often lament the disappearance of letter-writing, personal notes, and other niceties of a time gone by. But have they ever considered the environmental impact of all that stationery? Ruth Loucks's fourth and fifth graders at Brant Central School in Southwestern Ontario have such matters on their minds. Using their math skills, they determined that nine hundred pieces of paper would be consumed if each pupil gave a Valentine to every one of his or her classmates. Extrapolate that to all the classrooms in the school and the number grows to over 4,000. Contemplate the entire school district and over 400,000 Valentines would end up in landfills after the celebrations are over. "If we made a whole bunch of cards, it would take a whole bunch of trees, and they would all end up in the garbage," said student Jacob Weber. How true, Jacob! So the class developed a reasonable solution: each student will draw a name from a hat and create a single Valentine for just that person. But don't be fooled by the modesty of that idea. The students' aims are much larger. "If we wouldn't really buy as many Valentine cards, perhaps next year there won't be as many little Valentines in the stores," said little Sarah Frook. Sounds like Hallmark might be next in line for a bailout.

"Students look to end paper waste created by Valentine's Day cards," by Christine Brandt, The Walkerton Herald Times, February 10, 2009