Flowers for Valentine’s Day are a thoughtful way to show someone you care, but before you click add to cart or stop to buy a bouquet, here are some eye-opening stats on the environmental and human cost.
Did you know?
- 75% of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported (mainly from Colombia).
- Before they reach our vases, cut flowers travel 1,500 to 4,000 miles in refrigerated planes, trucks, and boats.
- Three weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, 30 jets packed with roses fly everyday from Colombia to Miami, producing 360,000 metric tons of C02, or the equivalent of driving 78,000 cars for a year.
- Fresh cut flowers are treated with synthetic pesticides that can pollute waterways and seep into drinking water supplies. Because they kill both good and harmful insects, they contribute to the all-important pollinators’ decline.
- Researchers have linked a decline in mental function to chemicals and pesticides. Floriculture workers are not only exposed to them, they also carry them home on their clothing and tools, potentially harming their families.
- Growing flowers is water-intensive. In production centers like Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, half the community’s valuable fresh water is siphoned off for flowers.
Here’s What You Can Do:
Make a change: Since the most significant environmental impact is in transportation, buy locally-grown flowers when possible. A win for a local farmer and business owner, too.
Go a step further: If flowers are a traditional gift, consider other options—perennials for spring or fall planting, a cheery houseplant, a fun experience, or a special home-cooked meal, for example.
Take the Lead: Read one of the articles linked above and share the eye-opening facts on social media or with a friend or family member.
If you’re interested in cooking for someone this Valentine’s Day, we offer a few of our favorites.
Looking for more inspiration to be a greener, more Planetarian version of yourself this year? Sign-up to receive our weekly “Greener You” Challenges!