A Happy Valentine's Day for All
Chocolate. Flowers. Justice. Why not have some of each this Valentine's Day?
In 2010, 198 million roses were produced for Valentine's Day and more than 58 million pounds of chocolate will be sold during the week of Valentine's Day. These are ways we express our affection on this holiday, but at what costs?
Over 60% of the flowers bought in the U.S. come from Colombia. The floral farmworkers there are primarily women, working long hours and paid poverty-level wages. The women working in the flower fields often face hazardous working conditions that put their health at risk.
Although chocolate is made in the United States, Switzerland and other places, the cocoa beans that are harvested to make chocolate primarily come from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. An estimated 284,000 children are working on cocoa farms in hazardous tasks such as using machetes and applying pesticides without the necessary equipment.
This Valentine's Day, convey your love by participating in Global Exchange's fourth annual National Valentine's Day of Action. Some of the action ideas include the following:
- Buy fair trade chocolate and flowers for your valentine. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has partnered with the fair trade co-op Equal Exchange to make available fair-trade chocolate, coffee and tea.
- Send Valentine's cards to Hershey's asking them to purchase fair trade certified cocoa.
- Host a screening of the Dark Side of Chocolate film.
In addition, Change.org is sponsoring a petition to 1-800-Flowers asking them to offer flowers for purchase that weren't picked by exploited workers.
Purchase fair-trade chocolate and flowers and you'll have more than just a happy Valentine—you'll have a happier world.