When you walk into a flower shop, does it smell like funerals to you?
It does to me.
Nobody we know – just thousands of workers in places like Columbia and Kenya who labor long hours handling heavy bunches of blooms soaked in pesticides. Then those same workers go home to lakes and streams polluted by pesticide runoff from the flower plantations, and lowered water tables in drought-prone places while the pretty flowers get all the water they need to grow fast and stay fresh.
Then those flowers are packed in refrigerated trucks and driven to refrigerated planes, then back to refrigerated trucks so we can pick up a cheery bouquet with our groceries.
Donald Pols, a campaigner with Amsterdam-based Milieu Defensie, says “a flower is basically a bundle of water and energy, and it is criminal that we import them just for our luxury from a drought-prone continent like Africa. Just for our luxury we are driving people further toward poverty and water shortages, and contributing to climate change.”
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Your farmer’s market is bursting with blooms right now. And they probably cost less. They are certainly fresher. They smell like summer and laughter. They will brighten your life without darkening someone else’s.
Even better, get acquainted with your native flowers.
Give your local pollinators a thrill. Keep something blooming in your yard all growing season long. Bring in a few blossoms to brighten your interior.
Dry some for the winter.
Photograph your favorites and frame them.
Not all flowers smell like funerals.
What’s your favorite flower fix?