February 11, 2009

A Traditional Valentine’s Day—Consciously. ~ Catherine Fordham.

A traditional Valentine’s Day—consciously.

By our favorite NYCer, Catherine Fordham.

Flowers are always a great gift for a loved one on Valentine’s Day, but conventional cut flowers are hard on farm workers and farming communities (usually in Africa and Asia) and the planet. Make sure the flowers you buy are beautiful in all ways by buying from businesses like Organic Bouquet, Trans Fair or Organic Style or your local farmers market, season permitting.  Learn more about the flower industry on Grist.org and in the Environmental Working Group report.

Potted plants can produce flowers year after year, help clean the air in your house, and connect you with nature. Visit your local farmers market, or plant store, to pick out a great green gift for your loved one.

The Chocolate industry has been characterized by environmentally damaging pesticides, child labor, and poor working conditions. Give a truly sweet gift by buying chocolate, thoughtfully, from Sweet Riot, which sources cocoa directly from Latin America, and only uses all-natural, healthy ingredients. Dagoba Organic Chocolate has incredible bars in a range of flavors. They also offer an e-card for Valentine’s Day that comes with a $1 coupon for their products, which is a sweet way to send your love. Or support an Eileen Fisher Woman-Owned Business grantee by buying “The Best Truffle in Westchester” from Chocolations.

Beeswax Candles, unlike most of the manufactured paraffin candles, are hypo-allergenic, great for people with allergies or other sensitivities, and for those of us who want a safe, clean burning candle in our homes. This website selling Beehive Candles has a great array of sweet smelling candles to light your night. 


Share the Love. 

Look for ideas of ways to volunteer together on the 14th on Volunteer Match, or check with your local senior center, homeless shelter, pet adoption agency, or favorite organization to find great opportunities to volunteer with your loved one, and share the love.

Give life to someone in need by finding a blood bank near you on the Red Cross Give Life website, or call 1-800-GIVELIFE.

When your friends or loved ones receive your GiveNow card fromJust Give, they can make a donation to any charity they want to support! The JustGive Guide includes 1,000 charities grouped into 19 categories so that they can search for the one that means the most to them. Give the gift of giving!

Support the Environmental Working Group on Amazon.com! Just click through the EWG Amazon link (so they know EWG sent you) and Amazon will give EWG a percentage of proceeds from your purchases! The mission of the Environmental Working Group is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.

Take action with Global Exchange’s National Valentine’s Day of Action. Participate in inviting K-6 teachers to teach Global Exchange’s Fair Trade cocoa curriculum. Kids learn about how they can personally make a difference in the world, and can influence social justice issues affecting their peers overseas through the products they buy, often starting them on a lifetime of socially and environmentally conscious consumerism—all through learning about something they love—chocolate!


Wine and Dine, Organically:

Nothing is better than a home cooked meal, paired with a great organic wine and an evening together at home. GreenLiving.com offers great tips on Valentine’s Day menus. Or enjoy an evening out at a local, organic restaurant. Local Harvest offers a list of spots on their radar.

Or enjoy a local, organic meal with friends when you have them over for a green dinner party. Check out Planet Green for great ideas and tips!

Precious Gifts, with a conscience:

Brilliant Earth uses Canadian diamonds and recycled gold to create jewelry that is “luxury with a conscious”.  Or check out your local antique shop and find a one of a kind piece—a great way to give the gift of jewelry without worrying about working conditions, environmental damage and business ethics.

Citizen Watch sells high-end watches for men and women that are powered by the sun, saving energy and avoiding the toxic chemicals and heavy metals found in batteries.

The Gift of pampering:

Chicago-based The Enterprising Kitchen is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides workforce development and support services to women who are working toward self-sufficiency and economic independence.  They also sell amazing soaps and personal care products that make a perfectly thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day.

Good Clean Love, is a certified Coop America Green Company that sells only the finest all natural and organic green products for your health and sexual enhancement. Good Clean Love personal care products are organic and use only natural ingredients that not only feel good, but are good for you.

Buy The Massage Book for yourself and learn to give a great massage to the tense loved ones in your life, or send them to a professional massage therapist or spa in your area for a day of wellness.

Burts Bee’s has wonderful pampering products for everyone, including a Bay Rum Shaving Kit for the man in your life.

Greenhouse Cleaning and other such services, use non-toxic cleaning agents to uplift your home and keep harmful toxins out of our waterways. Give the gift of an uplifted home!


Say it with words. 

Write a poem or make your own valentine with handmade paper from Twisted Limb Paper, who specializes in sustainably created, handmade, 100% recycled paper products.

Or buy a box of conscious cards for all ages from Great Green Goods, or Etsy or just for kids from Tiny Prints. Or give up on paper altogether and give a creative “e” card from Smile Box!

Hire a musician from Songwriters for hire and give a love song to your love, for a really unforgettable gift!

How about a good old fashioned “mixed CD” of your favorite songs, in a recycled CD Sleeve, of course.

Lovely books, for those you love.

Girls Incorporated, a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, offers a great gift for the teenage girls in your life. You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self is a girl’s guide to giving up the quest to be “super” and to start celebrating what makes her amazing.

Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project is a selection of some of the most remarkable stories from the vast Story Corps collection of stories from incredible, ordinary American lives.

The 13th Century poet Rumi composed poems that expressed the deepest longings of the human heart. Loves Poems of Rumi is a collection of his poems, with a forward by Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American medical doctor and writer who has written extensively on spirituality and diverse topics in mind-body medicine.

Great sites for conscious giving:

World of Good by eBay is an online marketplace to convene thousands of People Positive and Eco Positive sellers and products all in one place, empowering you to shop in ways that align with your personal values. Original Good is the World of Good’s signature line of fair trade products.

Global Exchange Store generates income for thousands of artisans and their families in over 40 countries, by operating according to fair trade criteria.

ABC Carpet and Home’s mission market curates a collection of visionary organizations and gifts of compassion that serve to create true beauty in the world.

Other Great Gift Lists

Treehugger and Grist offer “green” lists, always worth checking out. While you’re there, read interesting articles on all things conscious!

And here’s a list via our little elephantjournal.com, which our dear friend Catherine seems to have forgotten about. ~ ed. And here’s another idea. And another.

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