Written by: Lauren DeLorenzo
Every rose has its thorn… and a significant carbon footprint.
That doesn’t stop people from spending billions each year on bouquets for our loved ones. The majority of cut flowers sold in the United States are sourced from Colombia and Ecuador. During the three weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, as many as 30 cargo jets per day are sent out from Colombia to Miami carrying refrigerated flowers, which are then transported all over the country.
The International Council on Clean Transportation estimated that those three weeks of flights emit approximately 360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — and that’s not even considering the compounded emissions from refrigeration. Here are some ways to make sure your loved one is left breathless by your presence, not by carbon emissions.
Buy locally grown and seasonal blooms.
Rather than buying those wilted grocery store roses, switch to an alternative, more environmentally-conscious option, and look for a bouquet of fair trade, locally grown blooms. Calla lilies, irises and primroses are all at their peak during February, and your local farmer’s market or florist will appreciate your support. Flowers can later be composted or broken into mulch to further reduce their environmental impact.
Send e-cards or skip the card altogether!
Valentine’s Day is the second-largest card-sending holiday after Christmas, but with so many creative (and free) alternatives, we can all send a more sustainable message this year. Sending an e-card, writing a heartfelt letter or even belting out a ballad from a rooftop are all ways to show your appreciation for your loved ones and the planet.
Make your grand gestures eco-conscious.
Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than an ethically-sourced gift, and there are so many ways to make sure your declaration of adoration isn’t completely paired with something that causes environmental harm. The production of diamonds is often fraught with environmental degradation, human rights abuses and child labor issues. So swap diamond jewelry for ethically-sourced stones. Look for fair trade and sustainably-produced wine and chocolate, have a picnic in a local park, or enjoy a romantic evening at a restaurant (with specific COVID-19 workplace safety standards) which serves locally-grown food.
Despite the waste produced by the commodification of the holiday, we all know what really matters — appreciating the people around us and the home that we share.
If you could send a sustainability message to one of your favorite brands, what would it be? Comment below!