Though Valentine's Day is safely behind us, it has caused me to think about all the flora (namely roses) sacrificed for the enjoyment of our female population. Then I ran across this article in the UK periodical New Statesman about the environmental and social impacts of roses sold in Britain.
According to the article, some claim that imported roses from Kenya are depleting local Kenyan water supplies through the process of growing the flowers. Additionally, surface waters are suffering the adverse impacts of fertillizer runoff, thereby disturbing the water system even more.
Conversely, some argue that it is more ethical to purchase the imported roses to aid the struggling Kenyan economy. Plus Kenyan roses are grown in the natural climate without the need of greenhouses, an energy-consuming necessity for European-grown roses.
So this raises the question: What is the best way to be an ethical consumer? Considering the environmental impacts? Or considering the socioeconomical impacts? Or both? Regardless of your answer, I think we're all better off as informed consumers.
And yes, I did get flowers for Valentine's Day. Lilies and tulips, not roses.