The day has come and passed, but the impact could be felt for a long time; that thrilling date, the memories created and the carbon emissions will linger long after Valentine’s day has passed.
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 36 percent of Americans (58% men; 16% women) will buy flowers for Valentine’s Day 2016, spending a total of $1.9 billion. That’s a big figure in itself, but it gets even worse. Roses are generally grown in warmer climates—such as South America for US markets and Africa for Europeans— which means they have to be flown across the world and this of course generates emissions.
According to Flowerpetal.com, the 100 million roses grown for a typical Valentine’s Day in the US produce some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. That’s just the US, and that’s just the cost of raising and transporting them. But growing roses also involves pesticide use and runoff that could affect the wildlife. After all, cutting down a hundred million roses has to leave its mark.
It should be said that this is just a small fraction of what the US emits every day, but it’s still significant. So, maybe next time you want to give that special someone a rose, give her a planted one, or at least one grown locally. Explain, and she’ll appreciate it. The planet will too.