Ah, love. Each Valentine’s Day, lovers take pause to recognize that special someone in their lives. Pink and red hearts ornament retail locations, and flowers, chocolates, jewelry and other gifts are purchased and exchanged. Hands are held, sweet nothings are shared and love is in the air.
But what if these tokens of romantic affection mean something more sinister than the celebration of love and friendship? What if the production of these goods comes at a grave cost for the people directly connected to them?
I can trace my path to eco-awareness from a desire for undershirts. Baby undershirts, to be exact.
I’m a sucker for love letters and chocolate, so it should come as no surprise that I look forward to Valentine’s Day. Show a little love for your partner and the planet by having an eco-friendly holiday this February 14!
Here are four ways to do it:
The recent snowstorm caught me by surprise. I was just gearing up for Halloween festivities (also my birthday!) and was unprepared for the power outage, bitter cold and dangerous ice everywhere. It certainly wasn’t like any Hallows Eve I can remember! All I wanted to do was to stay home (which isn’t like me) and keep warm. I must be getting old, I thought. But hey, it happens to all of us, and birthdays are a perfect time to remember what matters most … and this year what mattered was to be home, warm, with my man, snuggled in bed.
With the creation of Small Business Saturday this year (and its huge following!), there’s another movement taking shape this holiday season: Buy Handmade. At www.buyhandmade.org, people around the world are pledging to buy handmade gifts for loved ones this holiday season and ask that others do the same for them.
Have you ever caught yourself, mid-bite into a juicy burger (veggie, beef or buffalo) loaded with all the fixings, and stopped to consider where it all came from? Like, how did your home-grown tomato end up nestled next to an avocado from California, topped upon a patty of ground beef processed in Kansas?
I had an interesting realization last month when I joined my sisters-in-laws on their annual pilgrimage to the mall for some Black Friday consumerism. We all left the mall pretty much empty-handed, and I realized that I just don’t really shop at malls and chain stores anymore, particularly for gifts. Instead, I am trolling the cute indie boutiques for the perfect, unique gift, and searching online for interesting options from fun online retailers. Luckily, when it comes to foodies on my list, there are plenty of options, so shopping’s a breeze. Here are some places to look online for some wonderful cooking-related gifts that have an environmentally friendly focus.
Born into an Akha hill tribe village in Northern Thailand, Ging started out with nothing. She was left with no home, no education, no work — no opportunity to live a decent life.
Yellowstone National Park, of which I’m a huge fan, recently launched a really exciting venture. Its Mammoth Hot Springs General Store has been re-created as an interpretive center to educate the public about climate change and the implications of consumer purchases, recycling, conservation and more. The store’s products are identified accordingly as fair trade, organic, renewable, locally-made and so on. Consumers can then make their choice based on a true understanding of the product’s value.
Does fair trade work? See how in the words of these five artisans — a few of the many shared with us from artisans and fair trade partners whose creations we offer through our One World by Gaiam Marketplace.
“Before I didn’t have enough money for three meals a day.
Hagar in Cambodia