As hoards are rushing out for flowers and chocolate, a perhaps smaller, more conscientious number are heeding the call to rise up, strike and… er, dance. Oh, what the hell, why not?

One Billion Rising in Belfast, N. Ireland, pic: Sinn Féin (Flickr CC)

One Billion Rising, falling on Valentine’s Day, is the 15th anniversary of V-Day, the movement to end violence against women and girls. According to the official website, One Billion Rising is:

A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being

People have been gathering across the globe to stand up in solidarity for the above. The Guardian’s live coverage contains images, stories and videos from Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, the UK, the Philippines, Israel, Somalia, and many other locations.

Read more about One Billion Rising in the New Statesman.

And now on to Valentine’s Day – and oh what an environmental catastrophe it is. Imported roses (many grown in energy intensive hothouses); chocolate grown by desperately poor West African farmers or even worse, child and slave labor; not to mention those hundreds of millions of paper cards. Well, maybe it’s best to just sing your loved one a song or write a poem. No need to contribute to the capitalist death machine.

See this interactive chart for the environmental impacts of Valentine’s Day-related junk.

I’m off to do vocal warm-ups for a karaoke rendition of Nat King Cole’s L.O.V.E. Can’t buy these pipes, baby.

Tortoises eating their hearts out, pic: Smithsonian Institute (Flickr CC)