Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day to You and the Planet!

While some may view it as strictly a commercial holiday, Valentine's Day is a great excuse to do something nice for someone you love. Unfortunately, a lot of the traditional V-day gifts aren't so great for the planet, or the people on it. Thankfully, there are plenty of options that are better for the environment and don't exploit workers!


Flowers

About 78% of all cut flowers purchased in the U.S. actually come from Ecuador and Columbia. Workers, including children, earn minuscule wages, sometimes working 80 hours per week, while being exposed to harsh chemicals. Those chemicals are used to grow the flowers and to keep them looking good while they're transported to the U.S. They're extremely hazardous both to the workers and to the planet!  Organic Bouquet has flowers that are grown organically, without the the use of any harsh chemicals. They provide their farmers with healthy working conditions and fair wages. And their arrangements are beautiful! Both FTD Go Green and 1-800-FLOWERS also offer a range of fair trade certified bouquet options.

Organic Bouquet offers flowers that are fair trade and organic!

Chocolates

The candy industry is another big offender of crimes against the environment and human rights. More than 75% of the world's cocoa is grown in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Like the cut flower farmers, workers on cocoa farms have to endure dangerous working conditions and are paid next to nothing for their labor. The only way to protect both workers (including children) and the planet is to purchase only chocolate that is labeled fair trade and organic. That doesn't mean your options are limited! There are loads of ethical chocolates on the market. Some of my favorites include Taza ChocolateEndangered Species Chocolate, and Dagoba. For more brands, check out this list of ethical chocolate manufacturers.


If you've already got the basics covered, but you're still looking for an eco-friendly gift for your Valentine, here are some really great ideas:

Ms. Betty's Original Bad-Ass Soy Candles - These candles come in glass containers featuring messages like "Be Mine (For the Night)" and "Blow Me (A Big Fat Kiss.)" They're made with soy and the heavy glass containers are reusable. You can choose from scents such as citrus and chili pepper or spearmint and eucalyptus. So cheeky!

Ms. Betty's Original Bad-Ass Soy Candles

A Subscription of Paris Letters - There's no city more romantic than Paris. If you can't be there, you can still get a lovely hand-painted letter from Paris every month! A subscription makes a totally unique and wonderfully romantic gift for your Valentine. (Or check out Paris Letters, the book!)

DaDa Underwear Subscription - This is a really fun gift idea for the man in your life. A membership in the DaDa Quarterly Underwear Club will get your dude a new pair of skivvies every three months. These aren't just your run-of-the-mill undies either. They're luxury underwear made from eco-friendly fabrics like bamboo, seaweed, or organic cotton. Choose from a variety of styles and fabrics when you order.

Do Amore - If you're planning to pop the question this V-day, make sure you do it with a conflict-free diamond! Your engagement ring should be a symbol of love, not war. Do Amore takes that concept one step further. Not only are their diamonds conflict-free, the company also guarantees that each ring is made using at least 80% recycled precious metals. Every purchase of a Do Amore ring provides a lifetime of clean water for two people, by funding wells. Celebrating the love of two people while giving a better life to two more? Now THAT'S romantic!

If you're single this Valentine's Day, there are even some planet-happy ways to treat yourself. Take another look at my post about recycling unwanted adult toys, and finding greener toys to have fun with!

Looking for a few more ways to be earth friendly this holiday? Here's a look at my Eco-Friendly Valentine's Day Pinterest board! It's loaded with ethical Valentine ideas like vegan dessert recipes, jewelry that gives back, and eco-friendly lingerie. There are great romantic gift and date suggestions for Valentine's Day, and every day of the year. Enjoy!


Follow Rachel Gottlieb's board Valentines Day - Earth-friendly romance! on Pinterest.



p.s. Need a soundtrack for your special day? Here's a playlist of some of my favorite love songs!

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