The bundles of short-lived flowers found in most shops may look beautiful- but have you ever considered where they come from? Take a closer look, and you’ll see that your wallet isn’t the only one taking a hit from the hidden costs of foreign flowers.
Over the past three decades, the flower growing industry in the USA has plummeted by nearly 95%. Most of the buds for sale in the USA have actually weathered quite the journey to make it to storefronts throughout the country.
A Long Way for a Flower to Go
While the USA has been becoming increasingly more barren of blossoms, Colombia and Ecuador have risen to take the titles of the second- and third- largest flower exporters in the world. The genetically modified roses and food coloring-dyed carnations you see for sale around town are actually the survivors of express shipments rushed in from Latin America.
A post from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates that, in 2017, cargo flights carrying flowers from Colombia made up a whopping 40% of the average airline payload and devoured 30 Million gallons of fuel. That’s 360,000 metric tons of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere- just from flowers shipped between Colombia and the USA. That doesn’t count the trucks and refrigeration used before they get to your home. Roses don’t smell as sweet when the air is full of greenhouse gases causing climate change.
Quick to Bloom and Quick to Fade
Even with the best of care, the average lifespan of cut flowers is a meager three to five days. Express shipping alone isn’t enough to beat the clock, so sellers have turned to chemical enhancements to preserve their dying cargo. But pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other strong chemicals don’t only take a heavy toll on the environment- they are harmful to the health of the workers and local communities as well.
A study by the International Labor Rights Fund found that 20% of the chemicals used on Colombian flowers have been deemed hazardous and have been banned in both the USA and Europe. Coated in toxicity, imported bouquets should always be handled with caution. And despite all of the expenses, risks, and suffering- foreign cut flowers are still doomed to fade and fall within a few days of arrival.
The United Nations, NASA, and other global institutions have foretold a very grim outlook for our planet if we don’t make changes- and quickly. It is time for each one of us to do our part to protect the earth.Far more than a card, our FreshCut Paper flower bouquets will give a thought that lasts a lifetime while helping to save our planet.