The traditional romantic trappings of Valentine’s Day are filled with ethical and guilt-inducing landmines.
Enjoying those succulent chocolates?
Many cocoa-producing countries have a track record of exploiting child labor. The problems of “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds,” are well documented – the last thing you want your honey (and money) to support are human rights violations in some faraway civil war.
Even the sweetest smelling roses have their eco-thorns. Heavy use of pesticides negatively impacts the health of farm workers, florists, and birds, inevitably seeping into the food chain and groundwater.
So what are environmentally conscious lovers supposed to do? Here are a few gift suggestions that are good for you and the Earth!
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas
Fair Trade Roses $69.95 for two dozen. OrganicBouquet.com – Organic Bouquet supplies Fair Trade Certified roses. The company partners with Carbonfund.org, donating to the Nicaragua Reforestation Project for every flower and gift shipment.
Upcycled LOVE Vases Less than $10. DannySeo.com – No need to go for the crystal to display those fair trade roses. In his book Upcycling Celebrations, green enthusiast Danny Seo shares how to make flower vases with only empty plastic bottles, plastic spray paint, and duct tape sticker sheets.
- Aura Cacia Essential Oils $8.15 AuraCacia.com – An aromatherapy massage relieves muscle tension and revitalizes the senses. All of Aura Cacia's all-natural massage oils can also be used in the bath. The company gives 1 percent of its sales to projects that support organic farmers and their communities.
Dreaming Tree Wines $15 DreamingTreeWines.com – This California winery co-founded by musician Dave Matthews uses lightweight bottles manufactured with clean-burning natural gas, 100% recycled paper labels with no bleaching, and natural corks from sustainable farms.
Solar Phone Charger $139.99 iLand-Solar.us – If your romantic correspondence is done primarily through texts, why not recharge his or her iPhone with the sun instead of plugging it in the wall? The iLAND Fly charger has fold out solar panels that even work in low-light conditions.
SodaStream Source $99 SodaStream.com – If you want to skip out on the wine over your romantic meal, the SodaStream offers a bottomless supply of bubbly water or homemade sugar-free soda if you’re watching carbs. The reusable carbonating bottles also cut down on the use of plastic bottles. Now available in Valentine’s red.
Cariloha Bamboo Bed Sheets $99 and up Cariloha.com – Sustainable bamboo sheets naturally prevent odors, reduce allergens, prevent skin irritation and are antimicrobial, all things that you don’t want to be thinking about when you’re snuggling with that special someone. Bamboo fibers, like wool, keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Bike Chain Necklace $75 Chainspirations.com – No worries about grease residue here, Chainspirations cleans recycled bicycle chain parts and reconfigures them into hearts. The gunmetal finish is framed with the bright accent color of your choice.
- Silver Heart Pendant with Conflict Free Diamond $125; 18K White Gold Pavé Heart Diamond Stud Earrings $1,595 BrilliantEarth.com – Brilliant Earth sources its diamonds from Canada, Russia, Namibia, and Botswana, guaranteeing they are conflict-free, free of human rights abuses, environmentally responsible, and mined with fair labor practices.
- Diamond Candles $24.95 Diamond Candles.com – Think of these candles as wax Cracker Jack boxes with more valuable prizes. When the candles burn to the bottom, they contain a surprise ring worth anywhere from $10 to $5,000. Diamond Candles contain soy wax made from 100 percent soy beans and not paraffin, which is a byproduct of crude oil.
- Fair Trade Chocolate of the Month Club $98-$282 NewLeafChocolates.com – New Leaf sends four bars of organic dark or milk chocolate bars to your loved one’s door step. Available in three-, six-, and nine-month plans.
- Customized Chocolate Hearts $10 and up. Chocomize.com – Chocomize allows you to choose your own mix-ins for their Valentine’s Belgian chocolate bars. Organic toppings include nuts, fruits, herbs and spices.
- Organic Raw Chocolates $5.79 RighteouslyRawChocolate.com – Righteously Raw produces handmade organic, vegan, and gluten-free candy without cooking the ingredients. Why? “Because nutritional and enzymatic structures that make our ingredients so powerful in their raw state would be damaged by the heat."
Green& Black's Organic Chocolates $1.69 to $3.49 GreenAndBlacks.com – How about a colorful bouquet of Spiced Chili, Mint, Ginger, Toffee, and Hazelnut for your sweetheart? Even Green & Black's "plain" dark chocolate bars come with a taste challenge: How many flavors can you pick out while resting a single square on your tongue?
Endangered Species Chocolate $2.99 to $4.19 ChocolateBar.com – Made with shade-grown, ethically traded cacao, these animal-themed bars let you express your love for nature. Wrappers include information on at-risk species, and 10 percent of net profits are donated to the African Wildlife Foundation and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
- Valentine’s Day Seed Cards and Confetti $3.95 and $9.95 BotanicalPaperWorks.com – These cards and heart-shaped confetti are made from special seed paper embedded with wildflower seeds. When your sweetheart is done displaying the card, it can be planted in a pot or outside for a more glamorous second life. (And you can always scan the cards to digitally preserve the thoughts inside.)
- TisBest Charity Gift Cards $10 to $5,000 TisBest.org – TisBest makes it easy to express your shared love for the environment. Gift cards, available in recycled plastic or print-at-home versions, can be issued for a variety of causes, including the African Wildlife Foundation, the ASPCA, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Days End Farm Horse Rescue and NatureServe.