Monday, February 12, 2007

Be My (Carbon-Neutral) Valentine


This Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, the day when we are supposed to go out and pay three-times what we would pay any other day of the year for a bouquet of roses for the one we love. But that is just the tip of the (melting) ice-berg in terms of environmental cost…

A report out this week by Cranfield University compared the carbon emissions involved in the production of batches of roses sold in the UK and grown in Kenya and Holland. [reported p. 36, The Times, Saturday February 10 2007]

Guess which roses have the higher carbon cost? Well, it’s a no-brainer: it has to be the Kenyan roses. And if I tell you that transportation accounts for 91% of the carbon emissions of the Kenyan roses – that’s the aeroplane industry for you – compared to less than 1% for the Dutch roses, those stats only go to confirm it, right? Wrong.

Growing and importing Kenyan roses produces 6,004 kg of Co2 per batch; or 17% of the 34,188 kg of Co2 produced by the Dutch roses. Growing roses on an industrial scale in the Netherlands takes a lot of light and heat (and even then results in half the yield of roses grown in Kenya’s natural climate)…

So if you are planning on buying roses on Valentine’s Day, you might want to ask the florist where they came from. And if they are (relatively) local, you might want to choose some grown further a-field instead…


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