[an error occurred while processing this directive] Responsible Romance - you're happy, and the world should be too [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Responsible Romance

peaceful waters

You and your sweetie are happy.

You think the rest of the world should be too.

That's actually a tough nut to crack, and we don't pretend to have the answers here. However, there are a few things we suggest you do to at least nudge things in a favorable direction. And you may also get brownie points for being sensitive...

Buying flowers? Make them local, organic.

Flowers are beautiful bursts of color and nature, a breath of fresh air. They speak to us of earth, growth, and peace. When selecting a flower, consider choosing one that embodies the reality of all this, rather than just symbolizing it. For example, a flower picked from your garden and a flower imported from half-way across the world may both be equally beautiful, but the first is truer to what flowers symbolize than the second, which may have been grown in pesticide laden fields by unprotected workers, then transported across vast distances.

We're not saying imported flowers are evil. The workers who grow those flowers need jobs. The balance of benefits and harms in this global industry are complicated. But we're not trying to solve everything here, we're just trying to figure out, what is a good gift to give our best-beloved? A flower is good, it symbolizes all the right things. A local, organically grown flower is even better - it is all the right things.

Buying chocolate? Look for fair-trade.

Just like flowers, chocolates are a classic gift for a loved one, a delight. When buying chocolate, you cannot avoid “voting” on how the cocoa farmers growing it should be treated. Should child or even slave labor be involved? What share of the revenues should go to the growers, 1 cent in 60, or more? Consider making your gift that much sweeter by choosing fair-trade chocolate, and reduce exploitation.

And make sure you know if your honey likes dark chocolate or milk chocolate. Getting the wrong kind is a major no-no, although they'll probably be polite about it. Probably.

Buying clothes? Make sure they are sweat-free.

It is great to get clothes for each other that really work, that really fit with who you are. But without realizing it, the clothes can bear a darker message than we'd like, if we examine where they came from and under what conditions they were produced. If you want to be sure that people aren't being exploited to make the clothes on your back, look for “sweat-free” clothes, made under decent (non-sweatshop) conditions.

Flying out for a holiday? Make the flight carbon neutral.

If you and your loved one are far apart, or want to go on an exotic trip together, flying makes it happen. But it is hard to feel light-hearted about taking flights these days, knowing the huge amount of CO2 emitted, and the contribution that makes to global warming.

Rather than giving up on flying, more and more people are choosing to carbon-offset their flights; that is, to pay extra to organizations which take specific actions to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. In some countries, airlines offer this as a basic service, and you can always organize it youself. Be careful though, the economics of all this are bizarre, so stick with reputable organizations rather than the cheapest offsetting you can find on a google search.

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