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Friday, February 3, 2012

Sustainable love

When I was thinking about what to write for my Valentine's Day post I couldn't help but be reminded of the day's status as a Hallmark holiday; created solely for commercial purposes rather than for any deeper significance. It's not that I haven't enjoyed my share of the typical celebratory indulgences that accompany the Day. In fact, I have no problem with red roses, chocolate truffles, and receiving a nice piece of bling now and then. Additionally, I see no reason not to enjoy a nice glass of extra Brut champagne and dinner at a romantic restaurant.
Acacia Heart Bowl, $18
http://www.serrv.org/

But nowadays, as a recovering hedonist, age and the economy seems to have brought about a change in my overall outlook regarding the blatant commercialism of so many such modern day contrivances.  The plethora of visually tacky reminders in the form of store displays that accost us for weeks preceding Valentine's Day seem to burst the bubble of any genuine romantic inclinations that may have come naturally.

How the origin of the the discovery of the concept of romance progressed from a day created to honor a martyred saint is curious. But as it did eventually evolve into one commemorating love during the Middle Ages, it begins to stand apart as something purer and and more meaningful


Beeswax Heart Pillar Candle
$16.95
http://www.planetonegifts.com/
This scenario of searching for the real meaning of a Hallmark holiday brings to mind Linus' explanation to Charlie Brown about the real meaning of Christmas as it does the Grinch's famous epiphany that "Maybe Christmas...doesn't come from a store..."


The good news is that Valentine's Day is very good for the economy and that this year more than half of US consumers will be spending money on Valentines day gifts, up over 10% over last year. So in honor of this Hallmark holiday,  hope for a restored economy and the celebration of love, I have come across some sustainable and socially conscious Valentines gifts that are unique and affordable not to mention good for the soul.

Pictured at the top of the page: Soapstone from Kenya
The Fatrine Self Help Group soapstone artisans are located in Kenya. They produce custom made, beautiful soap stone carvings such as bowls and plates for local and export markets. They provide work for about 15 families, many widows suffering from HIV and AIDS. One goal is to eradicate poverty in the surrounding community and for each member to be able to have health insurance.

Fair Trade Felt Flowers, $8
http://www.globalgoodspartners.org/
 

Sweetheart Gift Box of chocolates,
$22
http://www.serrv.org/

Stone Hearts Set: Hearts for Haiti
 $14
http://www.globalgoodspartners.org/

Valentine Dog Toy, $12.50
http://www.olivegreendog.com/


Red Rose Cushion
http://www.starfishfairtrade.co.uk/

Gorgeous Goat
 http://www.bynature.co.uk/
•In Sudan and Bangladesh, a goat can be a lifesaver, providing enough milk to keep the whole family healthy. Goats can also be bred and sold, allowing poor parents to generate the income they need to pay for education and vital medicines for their children.


"The One"
Ethically sourced flowers
http://www.arenaflowers.com/

                                    All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.
~ The Beatles 




HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY