The Carbon Footprint of a Dozen Roses is Huge
Why a dozen roses isn’t necessarily the best way to show your love, especially if you love the planet as well. Say no to the dozen roses pressure and instead choose creative crafty ideas this Valentine’s Day.
The tradition of giving flowers made sense in the ancient world because love letters were impractical to a largely illiterate population. During the Victorian Era, the practice of giving flowers reached new heights when we began attributing different meanings to different flowers, creating a language of flowers. The number 12 for example, represents a complete cycle of 12 months or the 12 signs of the zodiac. But today, over a century later, the practice of giving a dozen roses is largely outdated, especially when you consider the impact that a bunch of roses has on the environment.
In fact, the 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the U.S. produces an estimated 9,000 metric tons of CO2. Flowers are hauled across the continent in temperature controlled trucks so the precious red petals don’t wilt before reaching their destination. Depending on where they’re grown (such as in Holland), they may require artificial light and heating. In the U.S. for example, they’re largely grown in climate-controlled greenhouses.
Then there’s all the water that’s used to grow the flowers, considering in the U.S. drip irrigation is used much less often. And then there’s pesticide use, which can make workers sick and pollute soil and ground water for years to come.
Choosing sustainable and organic blooms is better because the flowers are likely grown using less pesticides as well as drip irrigation, rainwater collection, air pollution filters, and sustainable waste disposal. Fair Trade certified blooms means those that grow your dozen roses can expect higher than average wages and shorter than average work weeks. Buying locally grown flowers means you can choose blooms grown by people that you know so you can ensure better environmental practices. But no matter where your flowers are grown they require water and they’re grown in fields that could produce food. That’s why you may want to pass on flowers entirely.
Instead of flowers, think of the wide variety of ways that you could show your love this Valentine’s Day. Maybe you can plan to make a meal for your special someone. Or consider your craftier side and make your love a DIY card or DIY Valentine’s Day craft. The language of love doesn’t have to be about flowers. Especially since it’s become such a mega-industry.
Step outside the box this Valentine’s Day and find creative ways to spread the love while reducing your carbon footprint. And saving some cash as well. Flowers, especially quality flowers, can be a pricey endeavor.
Do you live to get flowers on Valentine’s Day? If not, what would you prefer from your special someone this holiday?
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Image of a dozen red roses from Shuttershock