Valentine’s Day can have a darker side. There is a big environmental and social impact associated with the holiday. Learn about those impacts and what you can do about it.
Valentine’s Day is a day of love and showing people we care but it can have a darker side. Many of the common gifts that we give on Valentine’s Day have a big environment and social impact.
Many of the flowers sent this Valentine’s Day will have been picked by women and children in South America that are forced to work and often abused. Many of those flowers from Ecuador and Columbia are often picked by women and child that are forced to work and abused.
The environmental impact is also large, most of these flowers are being shipped in and many have been grown using chemicals like DDT and methyl-bromide, which are banned in the US.
Another favorite Valentine’s Day gift is chocolate. Around 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast where much of the chocolate is farmed using forced labor and child labor. Workers are often forced to work in unsafe working conditions and abuse is commonplace.
You have likely heard about blood diamonds or conflict diamond, diamonds that are used to fuel horrible wars in Africa. While these are becoming less common, conflict metals are still pretty common. Metals and diamonds that aren’t fueling wars may still be causing environmental harm due to poor mining practices.
All of this may sound like there is no way to enjoy Valentine’s Day without harming others and the environment but that’s not true. There are many more ethical brands out there that use better practices that you can feel good about.
You can look for Fair Trade gifts including flowers, chocolates, and other popular Valentine’s Day gifts. Fair Trade certified products have higher environmental and ethical standards.
With a bit of effort, you can find great gifts you don’t feel guilty about and that help others. There are many great resources out there to help.
Better Valentine’s Day Resources
- Ethical & Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas
- DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
- Eco-Friendly and Romantic Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day
- Green Valentine’s Day Tips from the Sierra Club
- Ethical Valentine’s Day Gifts
You can also skip the gifts and use experiences instead. There are great restaurants and fun events all over Oklahoma that are a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.
Whatever you choose to do think about your choices and when possible choose items that are better for the planet and the people on it. There is no better way to show love this Valentine’s Day than that.