In case you were considering it, please don’t send me roses this Valentine’s Day. It’s thoughtful, but no thanks. (And no, this isn’t a read-between-the-lines-kind-of-moment when I say ‘don’t give me roses,’ but really mean ‘I will hold it against you if you don’t send me flowers.’)
Thing is, Valentine’s sweet smelling flower comes with a heftier environmental impact than most crops. According to a Scientific American podcast, the 100 million or so roses grown for Valentine’s Day in the US will produce some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Much of that hefty footprint stems from where all those roses are grown. Most roses for the North American market are grown in South America, while those for European markets are grown in Africa. Even once the jet setting flower arrives in the US, it then has to be trucked to local cupids all over the country, travelling in temperature controlled trucks and stored overnight in cold boxes.
All that travel and refrigeration consumes a lot of fossil fuel, not to mention the fact that refrigerant gases further exacerbate climate change.
Further, most of the roses available to American cupids are grown on floral plantations - massive areas that have replaced forests and wetlands in South America. Heavy use of pesticides on these plantations impact local wildlife, as well as have serious health consequences on the farm workers who manage the rose crops.
If you can’t imagine a Valentine’s without flowers, check out VeriFlora which sources its blooms locally, or ask your local florist what they have in store grown nearby.
But as for my Valentine, just forget the flowers altogether. Chocolate however... while, I never say no to that.