Lasting love: Why a tree is better than flowers this Valentine’s Day

But before you think about buying your loved one a dozen roses, perhaps you should ask yourself what the cost of Valentine’s Day is to the environment?

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JOHANNESBURG – Valentine’s Day (14 February) is coming up and people are researching what to get their significant others.

Chocolates, romantic dinners, getaways and flowers are popular choices for the day of love.

In fact, Valentine’s Day sees a sharp rise in the purchase of fresh flowers. The global flower production industry is worth an estimated 64.5 billion euros.

But before you think about buying your loved one a dozen roses or land in terms of a whole sunflower field, perhaps you should ask yourself what the cost of Valentine’s Day is to the environment?

According to Tree-Nation, a reforestation platform, many flowers bought at local florists and supermarkets are imported from other countries, which means large amounts of CO2 are emitted during their transportation.

Because there’s such a high demand for flowers on the day, this also poses a significant environmental impact.

How does this impact the environment?

“In some areas, large inputs of energy are required to grow the flowers on the scale required by consumer demand. This is the case for countries which experience cloud cover throughout the year and so mainly grow flowers in greenhouses, such as the Netherlands and UK.” Tree-Nation said in a statement.

A study from Cranfield University using life cycle analysis showed that roses sold in UK and grown in the Netherlands emit 6 times more CO2 than roses grown for example in Kenya. This equals roughly 3kg of CO2 per flower.

“Showing love does not have to be incompatible with caring for the environment. Longer lasting and environmentally friendly alternatives include tree planting as part of reforestation projects… While cut flowers usually just last for a couple of weeks, a tree will last as long as any relationship,” Tree-Nations added.