This post is meant to piggy back Nicki’s from Valentine’s Day about buying local, sustainable flowers!
Like a cliche girl, I love receiving flowers: roses, sunflowers, daisies, basically anything with a stem and petals I’ll take.
But I never really considered the impact of cut flowers on the environment, so I looked into it. The results were surprising, and now I need to find better displays of love other than flower arrangements.
1. 78% of cut flowers in the United States are imported from South America, where weather conditions are prime for growing flowers all year round. This means that there will be high transportation costs, from the pollution and carbon emissions of trucks needed to transport the flowers from their place of origin to the airport, then the air pollution and carbon emissions from flying the flowers via airplane, and again the pollution and carbon emissions from the transportation of flowers from airport to US florist.
2. Since flowers are usually grown outside of the United States, where environmental laws are less regulatory, over 30 pesticides are used on the flowers, with hazardous effects on involved workers, and the environment. For example, DDT and methyl-bromide are used in flower production, which can cause skin conditions, respiratory problems, impaired vision, and birth defects for the workers exposed to the pesticides. Furthermore, DDT is toxic to many bird and animal populations, and methyl-bromide has been linked to ozone destruction.
3. Floriculture also depletes groundwater with the high water requirements to grow flowers as well as pollutes surface water, with wastewater from growing flowers contaminating surface water.
Clearly, the effects of growing cut flowers are extremely detrimental to the environment. BUT there is a middle ground if you can’t give up your obsession with flowers.
Shop for flowers at farmers markets or local florists, and ask for organic, pesticide-free flowers in season certified by the USDA or Veriflora.
OR..you can just buy some seeds instead and show your significant other that like the flower, your love for them only grows 🙂