Sunday, February 13, 2011

9 out of the 10 Roses you buy tomorrow will come from Central/South America. It might be good for Love, but is it good for the environment? Make your choice: your loved one or the planet...

Well, maybe it is not that bad after all...The Cut-Rose industry is a good example of an important concept in economics--Comparative Advantage. In this case, Columbia and Ecuador can produce roses, not only at a lower cost in terms of price relative to those grown in the US, but in terms of minimizing the cost to the environment as well.  It seems counter-intuitive, but roses grown, harvested and flown to the US may have a SMALLER overall impact on the environment than roses grown in the US!

""Imported flowers have come to dominate the U.S. market in the past 40 years, as entrepreneurs and scientists have found ways to make blooms survive intercontinental plane trips.

In 1971, just 8 percent of the roses, carnations and chrysanthemums sold in the United States were imported. (These three flowers account for the majority of cut-flower imports.) By 2003, that number had grown to 91 percent, with most of those flowers coming from Colombia and Ecuador. 

This shift from local to imported flowers is a mix of good and bad news for the environment. The bad news first: South American growers rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. According to a study by the International Labor Rights Forum and the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, 20 percent of the chemicals sprayed on Colombian flowers are illegal in the United States or Europe. They have contaminated the soil and caused severe health problems for many workers. There are certification programs for responsible growers, but it's often difficult to determine how any individual bunch of roses was raised.

On the other hand, flowers grown in equatorial zones and shipped to your local market probably use less total energy than the locally grown equivalent, despite spending five hours on an airplane. February isn't prime flower-harvesting season in most of the United States, and efficient growing conditions usually trump buyer-producer proximity. ""

Source: Which are better for Valentine's Day: eco-certified bouquets or silk flowers?

 GO AND ENJOY YOUR ROSES!! It is ok!! :)
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