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February 3, 2020 News, Sustainability Tips

LOVE YOUR PLANET

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to share with the people in our lives just how we feel about them. This day is all about love – love for our family, friends, partners, love for ourselves – love for others and love for the earth.

Read on to learn about the best gift that you can give (hint: it isn’t material) and check out the guide for finding a gift that shows love for all.

MAKE MEMORIES (they have a greater impact than material gifts!)

“People often struggle with the challenge of choosing what to give someone. If you want to give them something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.”

Chan and Molginer (2016)

Why give an experience?

  • Experiences are more unique than a material gift
  • Experiences provide the gift of memories and stories to share
  • Experiences have been shown to foster stronger relationships than material gifts
  • Giving an experience reduces the risk of giving a gift that the receiver doesn’t like (which can have the opposite intended effect!)
  • Doesn’t contribute to clutter, or the material burden of owning too much ‘stuff’

Note: An experience doesn’t necessarily need to be shared (i.e. you don’t have to be with the person) for the gift to foster feelings of closeness between the giver and the receiver.

Experiences to Give

Something playful: Bowling, Escape room, Go-karts, Arcade games, Golfing

Something solo: Massage, Spa treatment

Something interactive: Cooking class, Wine tasting, Paint night

Something cultural: Theatre or concert tickets, Trip to a museum or gallery, Sports tickets[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

A GUIDE TO GIVING GIFTS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

If you are opting to give material gifts, make sure to take a moment to consider the options that are best for the receiver (is it meaningful?), the gifter (can I afford it?), the community (were all people involved in this item’s production treated fairly?), and the environment (are their consequences of this item’s production?)

Say No To: ROSES

Roses are environmentally costly, both in their production and transportation. High levels of pesticides and fertilizers are required for their production, which can pollute local environments. Roses are imported primarily from South America and Africa, which requires them to be transported internationally to their consumers. Because roses are such fragile flowers, and their bloom is time and temperature-sensitive, they need to be transported by air, rather than shipped by sea, which is very carbon-intensive.

Say Yes to: LIVING PLANTS AND SEASONAL FLOWERS

Living plants are very popular right now and a welcome gift by many! Aloe, Snake plant, Jade plant, and Pothos are just a few examples of low maintenance house plants that even the blackest of thumbs can care for. These plants don’t require much light, bring life to any room and also act to purify the air in a room.

If living plants aren’t quite the right fit for the receiver, go for something seasonal. Seasonal flowers and arrangements can be bought at any farmer’s market or market (such as Granville Island). If you are shopping at a flower shop, make sure you call ahead to know if they have seasonal flowers available. Most flowers that are available at grocery stores or through online delivery services will not provide seasonal/ local options.

Learn more about the benefits of purchasing locally.

Say No To: CHOCOLATE (WITH PALM OIL)

Palm oil is an ingredient in the majority of recognizable candy bars and chocolate products. The demand for agicultural land for palm oil production has resulted in vast deforestation of rainforests, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia, where the majority of the world’s palm oil is produced.

Say Yes to: CHOCOLATE (FAIRTRADE & RAINFOREST ALLIANCE)

Choosing chocolate that is Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certified ensures that certain environmental and ethical standards are being met throughout the entire supply chain of the products.

RainForest Alliance is an international non-profit organization that ensures farms meet sustainability requirements, including standards on biodiversity conservation, human livelihoods and well-being, natural resources conservation, and effective planning and farm management systems.

Fairtrade is a certification that ensures farmers are given fair prices and workers are provided with decent working and living conditions.

Say No to: NEW JEWELLRY (WITHOUT TRANSPARENCY)

Mined metals and precious stones used for jewellry manufacturing (particularly in the diamond industry) are known for social conflict, as well as impact on the environment. To avoid the social and ethical effects of the fine jewellry industry, it is best to avoid purchasing items from manufacturers that do not have transparency throughout their entire supply chain (resource extraction, production, distribution).  While there are third-party certifications that strive to control the harmful effects of the industry (such as the Kimberley Process, for diamonds), the efficacy of these certificates has been debated.

Say Yes to: VINTAGE, PREVIOUSLY-LOVED, AND ETHICAL JEWELLRY

Local jewellers often have greater transparency surrounding the material extraction and manufacturing of their products. They also often have strong commitments towards ethical sources when they do use materials that historically run a risk of contributing to harmful social and environmental systems.

Purchasing previously-loved jewellry removes the majority of concerns regarding environmental and ethical consequences. As the money you are spending is not ‘voting’ in support of the original manufacturer, it is also not supporting the extraction and manufacturing practices.

Alig and Frischknect (2018)

The Atlantic (2014)

Chan and Mogilner (2016)

World Policy (2013)

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