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Seeing red this Valentine’s Day

World Vision
13 February 2015 by Ruth Dearnley
Seeing red this Valentine’s Day

You can spread the loves this Valentine's Day with ethical gifts that don't cause harm to others.

I’ve barely finished the leftovers from my Christmas feast and the high street has already turned red. The colour of love.

Red ribbons, red hearts, red flowers, red chocolate boxes! Red. Everywhere! It’s too much! I’m still getting over my annual dose of Christmas glitter – and my struggles with the awful conditions and frighteningly low wages that people endure to produce the world’s bauble and decorations.

But now these decorations are tossed aside, to make way for the Valentine’s versions.

Now, before you all call me a cynic – I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a little bit of romance. In fact, I think the world needs a little more of it. But I’m not talking about the schmaltzy kind that you find in a Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie. Urgh, no. I truly believe that rom-coms have ruined good old-fashioned romance for us all – especially Notting Hill. But that’s a longer story!

I mean the real warm your heart, give you hope in humanity kind of love and romance. The little things that makes a real difference in people’s lives – and perhaps give you a warm, fuzzy feeling too!

It’s the kind of thing that makes me cross the road to go and hug complete strangers when I see their “Free hugs” sign, because I believe that bringing a smile to someone’s face is a great gift. No matter what frivolous form it may seem to take, we should encourage more of it.

It’s the kindness cards that are sneaking up all across Australia as people make anonymous displays of affection to others. I can vouch for the warm fuzzies that come with leaving my favourite chocolates on the doorstep of someone I have never met.

And yes, it’s also can come in the form of a romantic gift. A box of chocolates that also give workers a fair wage. A dozen red roses from sustainable sources that also show thought for the earth. And if you’re really lucky – diamonds!

The jewellery industry is perhaps one of the lesser known culprits of human rights, but some of the most horrific forms of exploitation and suffering occur in the mining of gold and gemstones , some financing rebel movements and violence.

Yes, even the most hopeless romantics amongst you who are planning/expecting a proposal on Valentine’s Day can ensure that no one was hurt to put that ring on your finger.

Of course it’s only natural to want to treat your loved ones, but when you think about it the most romantic gestures don’t cost a cent – and they certainly don’t cause harm to others.

Sending free hugs to you all and wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day!

Ruth Dearnley Ruth Dearnley

Ruth is the former Public Advocacy Manager at World Vision Australia and a passionate advocate for all the little things we can all do to make a more just world.


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