Terms like green, organic, sustainable, eco-friendly and carbon footprint get tossed around a lot in the media, but what do these terms actually mean? Do we really understand what the users are talking about when they use these terms? Being “eco-friendly” is the in-thing, but do we really know what it means to live it?
According to the Campus Environmental Sustainability Team at North Carolina State University, “The concept of sustainability centers on a balance of society, economy and environment for current and future health. Responsible resource management in all three areas ensures that future generations will have the resources they need to survive and thrive.”
So what does this have to do with flowers?
Most people are unaware of the size and depth of issues involving environmental sustainability in the floral industry. The Society of American Florists reports that 68% of all flowers sold in the United States are imported from countries such as Columbia, and Ecuador, where regulations on labor and pesticide usage fall far below U.S. standards. Some pesticides imported into the U.S. with your flowers have been reported to cause health problems for workers, consumers, and the environment.
What you need to know:
- Cut flowers expose workers and consumers to approximately 100 different kinds of pesticides.
- Exposure to these pesticides can result in everything from skin irritations to reproductive birth defects
- Cut flower workers, many children, work in unsafe conditions and are unfairly compensated for their labor.
- The amount of water required to grow cut flowers seriously depletes groundwater resources and pesticides contaminate surface water resources.
As awareness grows of the need for sustainable practices in floriculture, many growers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers are demanding better standards for our industry. Gaia is committed to upholding these standards. Our core values are respect for nature, community, sustainability, creativity, and thoughtfulness. We choose Veriflora certified sustainably grown and Rainforest Alliance certified flora, and we offer pottery and vase options from our local artists and artisans. We are the eco-friendly alternative among flower shops in the Las Vegas community.
Your purchases do matter. Where and how you choose to spend your money directly affects the sustainability of our society, our economy, and our environment.
What can you do?
- Educate yourself on the issues surrounding sustainability.
- Buy local.
- Choose organic.
- Choose certified sustainably grown flora.