Whether you're a hopeless romantic or see Valentine's Day as just a greeting-card holiday, there are lots of ways to love the planet (and the ones you're with) on February 14th and beyond.
When it comes to cut flowers, many of us shop with our noses. But it's about time we greened up our bouquet shopping skills.
Ask your florist for local, seasonal, and organic flowers. Many cut flowers come from developing countries overseas, where growers use toxic pesticides banned in Canada. And no one tests imported flowers for pesticide residues. So tell your local florist that you'd love more blooms from local farmers, free from pesticides. (Here's one florist's "green" flower story.)
I know it's hard to imagine seasonal, local bouquets when you're shovelling sidewalks and warming up your car door lock with a hair dryer. But I've come across many bunches of red roses marked "Fair Trade Certified". (See Fair Trade and a list of 17 other common eco-labels here.)
Fair trade is based on a partnership between consumers and producers from the developing world that gives growers a better deal and improved terms of trade. When you buy products with a fair trade label, you're voting with your dollar and supporting farmers who are protected by a high level of ethical and economic standards. Fair trade certification ensures that producers and their families and communities get an opportunity to improve their lives and plan for the future — and it helps the environment. You'll also see the label on other products like spices, sugar, rice, fruit, and even soccer balls.
Planning to woo your Valentine's sweetie with chocolates? Choose fair trade certified chocolate and help the planet and reduce poverty while you're at it. . Every purchase you make goes deeper than satisfying a chocolate craving. Read Green Living's article Deep Green Chocolate Love which tells how to avoid the 30-plus chemical pesticides used to grow cocoa and the nasty labor practices behind the wrappers. They even list a few of their favorite brands.
How are you planning to show the planet some love February 14?
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green