An Ethical Valentines
Updated: Apr 5
Lets talk Valentines. The day (apparently) to show your significant other how much you love them. And one of the easiest, laziest ways , is cut flowers. They light up the house and show beauty and elegance… for a week at most. Then they die... Not exactly a sign of long lasting, sustaining and healthy love...
In The UK, most of our cut flowers are imported from The Netherlands or Kenya. Both cases represent a huge carbon footprint. Our imports from overseas is a controversial issue in terms of sustainability. Importing can sometimes actually reduce carbon “cost” i.e. grown in heated greenhouses vs no heating requirement but more carbon miles. There is also a huge case of supporting developing economies, such as buying Green Beans from Kenya (an extremely well rounded argument is presented in Fred Pearce’s book- “Confessions of an Eco Sinner”.)
Cut flowers have huge carbon “bills” associated either through their growth, transport or selling (they have to be kept supeeeer cold!) as well as waste associated with their packaging. And they do not provide as sort of nourishment, just simple “enjoyment”.
Buying cut flowers is really not that romantic. You’re buying something that will die in a matter of days. Drenched in plastic wrapping. How did this really become a thing?
Perhaps flowers lovingly planted, watered, nurtured and handpicked from your own garden, morphed into spending a lot of money on cut flowers grown elsewhere- with no real emotion or care thrown in. Plus they die- no future- except a future of buying more... Consumerism goals.
Why, instead of buying your loved one a present that represents minimal enjoyment over an extremely limited time frame, with huge environmental costs, you buy something a little bit more meaningful. Something with more sustained love, more thought but at most probably the same cost. Something that will last forever if you look after it, be a constant brightening force in your home and even provide some of the every oxygen your partner needs to survive.
A plant, for example is a great swap over. House plants for those city dwellers, a rose bush that will flower for years (hey- you could even cut flowers off for next year!) or even a fruit tree for those lucky enough to live in the countryside. Canoodle in it’s shade. Either way, there are much much better options that the boring basic flowers.
And hey, if you’re worried about supporting developing nations and their experts, buy some fair trade organic coffee, for those lazy weekends in bed. Or some green beans. (Confessions of an Eco Sinner is sooooo good).