When we step into a florist, we are overwhelmed by the beauty of the blooms surrounding us. We start choosing flowers randomly, and we usually do not consider whether the flowers we choose are sustainable or not. Here are some tips on how to select sustainable flowers, depending on the fertilizer used, distance travelled, transport and other considerations.
3 Things to keep in mind while choosing sustainable flowers
1. The carbon footprint
The transportation of flowers all over the globe leads to their carbon footprint. In fact, thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere due to the flowers being sent from one corner of the world to the other. Beautiful flowers such as tulips grown in The Netherlands, and the billions of roses which are sent from Kenya, leave a lot of toxic gases in the air. The distance taken, and the emissions from airplane and trucks leave a carbon footprint.
So, the solution is to choose locally grown flowers or better still, try to grow flowers such as dutch tulips in your own garden.
2. Pesticides and fertilizers
Pesticides are another major concern, as they pollute the soil and waterways. As flowers are not eaten, there are fewer laws governing the use of pesticides while cultivating flowers. Flower industry consumes a huge amount of chemical pesticides such as DDT, methyl bromide and so on.
These pesticides cause damage to the health of the workers and the local eco-system. The run-off from the chemicals into the local waterways pollutes them and when fish, animals and humans drink this water, they have a negative impact on the health. For example, Lake Naivasha in Kenya has become toxic due to the fertilizer and pesticide runoff.
Check for flowers which are grown in a sustainable manner, and organically grown flowers, which mean that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not used.
3. Exploitation of workers
The exploitation of workers in floriculture industry is rampant. There are thousands of people employed in the flower cultivations, and their working conditions and wages are among the lowest in the world. Sometimes, even the living costs are not paid and they are subjected to harassment by their superiors.
There have been cases where children have been born with birth defects, mothers miscarry and so on. Workers have developed chronic asthma, breathing and eye problems, skin problems, allergies, headaches etc. Overall working conditions for workers are very poor indeed.
To make sure that workers are treated better, start choosing flowers marked ‘Fair trade’ as this ensures that workers have been taken care of by their employers. They have good working and living conditions, their health is taken care of, and they are paid good wages. If more and more people choose Fair trade flowers, then floriculturists the world over will be forced to change their ways and treat employees better.
These are some of the main points to keep in mind when you are buying sustainable blossoms. as we need to consider the environment, including the biodiversity, atmosphere and people when we beautify our homes and offices.
Article Submitted By Community Writer