Transforming gifts of love into agents for peace involves investigation into the nature and history of brands and romance commerce. Global Witness has worked for more than a decade to track links between corruption, war and trade. How can we reverse these damages and create peace products, chains of trade, with sensitivity and sensibility to human rights, environmental concerns, and conflict resolution?
This is where our journey begins:
Martin Donohoe's powerful and thorough documentation underlines the beginnings of the marketing and manipulation of products associated with love and the devastating consequences. He explores alternatives - not only by supporting ethical business but sharing with one another poetry and heart-felt authentic sentiments not necessarily tied to spending hard earned cash.
If thou canst but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress and thy ease. Henry Vaughn
Roger Cohen, journalist for the International Herald Tribune and NY Times has written a poetic essay on greater possibilities of a rose as a Tool for Social Change demonstrating more conscious flower supply chains.
In a current Economics with Justice class at the School of Economic Science in London - Part 3 of the course attempts to show 'principles of truth, love and service translate into policies for governments and economic planners and practical precepts for individual households and businesses.'
Economy - an ancient Greek word - originally means 'rules of the household.'
Money takes root in more conscious and directed ways to represent greater rather than greedy values and our better natures rather than our worst. Lynne Twist, founder of The Hunger Project, explores this powerfully in her book the Soul of Money. Can this 'root' be guided to 'blossom' in multiple ways? Can global commerce undo its tarnished history with such endeavors as socially conscious entrepreneurs in conflict areas? Colleagues from the Hub (a global network to inspire and support imaginative and enterprising initiatives for a better world) is working to develop incubating offices for social entrepreneurs in post-conflict areas.
If blood diamonds have fueled war and torture then peace diamonds can fund peace and conflict resolution.
If carnations were a symbol for one of the most peaceful revolutions in history (Portugal Carnation Revolution) then what can they accomplish for the people of Colombia who grow them?
If cocoa/chocolate is created out of exploitative labor from the Ivory Coast can it be re-branded?
From Northern Uganda and its burgeoning flower industry; from newly discovered mineral deposits in Afghanistan's gem industry; there is a growing a promise of peace via economic stability and justice - producing current and future socially active - just products and systems.
This is the philosophy behind the VPP to launch a creative community flower brand functional for peace on levels from inner reflection, to community participation, to global intention, development and unity.
The Valentine Peace Project (VPP) - celebrating inner peace, community peace and the journey towards world peace.
From a student in Boise, Idaho's VPP poem submission: 'Let go of everything you know, And let all become new.'
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