Guest Author - Aimee Wood
The commercialism of Valentine's Day can be daunting. Jewelry stores often have incredible sales and try luring you into their big bright stores. But, is this jewelry ethically made? Chocolate is another popular item on this day of love. Unfortunately, most chocolate is not produced in an ethical or sustainable manner. Never fear, here are some great suggestions on how to have an ethical and sustainable Valentine's Day.
1. Buy organic fair trade chocolate. Fair trade chocolate is ethically produced. The big box chocolate companies that you are most familiar with, do not work with ethical chocolate producers. In Ghana they kidnap children from neighboring areas for slave labor. These children are exposed to dangerous working conditions and exposed to pesticides and chemicals. Natural food stores are likely to stock only fair trade chocolate.
2. Purchase gift items from fair trade stores. Fair trade stores, such as Ten Thousand Villages, provides unemployed and underemployed artisans to earn an income and improve their quality of life. The World Fair Trade Organization is a global network of 350 fair trade organizations in 70 countries. These organizations give artisans cash advances and prompt final fair payments for their goods. They also encourage environmental responsibility. Gift items you can find at fair trade stores range from clothing, jewelry, frames, home goods, food, and more.
3. Make some simple homemade gifts. This choice is fun especially if you have children. Create a picture album with photos taken from your smart phone. This is super easy by using apps from services like Shutterfly. Make a vase or candleholder with a clear jar, watered down glue, and newspaper/crepe paper/tissue paper. Simply paint on the paper with the watered down glue and let it dry. Homemade candy is fun to make from sustainable organic fair trade chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and pour into molds. Homemade gifts are fun to make and memorable.
4. Purchase local or organic flowers. Ditch the flowers from grocery stores, likely grown with pesticides. If you can't find organic cut flowers, consider going to a local nursery and purchasing a lovely house plant.
5. Pick up some biodynamic or organic wine. Organic wine is grown with organically grown grapes. This wine is free from pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. These wines may be harder to find, but most liquor stores have a small section.
6. Make a sustainable and organic dinner at home or locate a local farm to table restaurant. Sourcing a meal from a local natural health food store or organic CSA market is the way to go when finding organic ingredients for a meal made at home. Also, farm to table restaurants are becoming more popular. These restaurants work with local farmers in keeping ingredients fresh and of high quality. You can simply google "farm to table restaurants" or go to: www.americanfarmtotable.com.
Enjoying Valentine's Day in an ethical and sustainable way is very possible. It is possible to have a great day while doing it consciously, supporting fair labor and high environmental standards.