If  a bouquet and a box of chocolate are part of your valentine vocabulary, you may be telling someone you love them with toxins and trafficking in children.  Those flowers and candy didn’t cost you much, but like many other materials we take for granted, someone else may be paying a very high price for our indulgences.


Beautiful, isn't it? Just don't touch or smell it. (photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/damselfly58/2262853040/ )

You can find the details from many sources, but for a quick, concise read, check out planetgreen.com.   It will tell you that 79% of cut flowers displayed so prettily in the grocery store come from Ecuador or Columbia where they are poisoning the people who grow them and the country around them.

And you know that green foam that the stems are jabbed into to fix the flowers in place?  It’s a petroleum bi-product that off gases formaldehyde – but only when soaked in water.

Who doesn’t love the smell of flowers?  Ever buried your nose in that bouquet and breathed it in?

Not such a good idea.  The leaves have probably been sprayed with a toxic substance to make them shine, and the blossoms have been drenched in various chemical pesticides and preservatives.

When flowers aren’t available at your local farmers’ market, give them a pass.


A lot of chocolate comes from an area in Africa with a tradition of using children for labor.  The children are brought from neighboring countries, and it’s a very ugly situation.

Watch  Chocolate: The Bitter Truth, a BBC documentary


The Dark Side of Chocolate

When I first learned about how most chocolate is produced, I actually stopped eating chocolate for about a year.  Then I learned that there are Fair Trade and organic chocolates available.

 Stop Chocolate Savery   has the most comprehensive list of Fair Trade and Organic chocolates that I found on line.


Here are a few other ways to send a Valentine message that don’t have any toxic residue or bitter after taste:

  1. The Sierra Club offers great gifts that support the wild.  With each donation, you get a fuzzy toy.  Protect the Arctic and give your true love a polar bear puppet.
  2. Fair Indigo offers your pick of Fair Trade, organic or USA-made Valentine gifts like a beer soap bar or a recycled sari evening bag.  And instead of flowers, you can give your true love a garden in a bag organic basil kit.
  3. Check out your local antique mall or other venue where you can find items made some time ago.  Their manufacture probably involved less carbon release, and they have acquired a patina that money can’t buy.   To me such gifts carry the message that love can last a long, long time — how long will chocolates or roses last?

 What are your ideas about greening things up this February 14?

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