Are Roses Really a Wise Choice for Valentine’s Day?

Mattea Vecera, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

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With Valentine’s Day approaching, many might already be planning what to do with their significant other. Some of these might include going to dinner, to a movie, or maybe just ordering pizzas and staying inside to avoid the cold.

Valentine’s Day is also a day that many visit the nearby florist to purchase roses. However, I doubt that most have wondered where they came from or what harmful chemicals they were grown with.

By the time these roses reach the buyer, most will have been sprayed, rinsed and dipped in potentially lethal chemicals. The roses and other flowers that we buy are imported from other countries, where they are grown under unsafe conditions that negatively impact the environment and harm those working in the greenhouses.

The roses sold in the United States are most often imported from Colombia, where typically “36 percent of the toxic chemicals applied by rose farms were listed as ‘extremely’ or ‘highly’ toxic by the World Health Organization.”

About 80% of the workers are young women, and they are often not told about the risks to their health or the high probability of their getting pesticide poisoning. This does not only affect them, but also children from future pregnancies.

A Harvard health study examined 78 children of the ages 7-8 in Ecuador whose mothers were exposed to pesticides during their pregnancy and found that “they had developmental delays of up to four years on aptitude tests.”

In addition, there are many reports of “stillbirths, sterility and birth to children with abnormalities and defects.”

As a high schooler, I bet you’re wondering how you can advocate against this. The first step is awareness, so becoming aware of these dangers and sharing with others is a good place to start.

Another simple change you can make this Valentine’s Day is to avoid buying roses for your significant other. Instead of buying roses and supporting this unethical business, I’ve included below a list of better alternatives that your partner is sure to love, particularly aimed for girls.

Better alternatives to gift:

  • Chocolate/ Chocolate covered strawberries: this is a safe gift if you aren’t looking to spend a lot of money. Everyone loves chocolate!
  • A necklace: this will be something that they can wear every day and will always serve as a reminder of you.
  • A cute teddy bear: Bonus points if it smells like your cologne!
  • Anything warm: a tie blanket or one of your sweatshirts are always a safe gift, especially because Valentine’s Day falls during a cold time of year.
  • Make it personal and gift them something that has meant a lot to you: Some examples would be gifting them your favorite book, or a mixtape with songs you enjoy that you think they would like as well.
  • Personalized picture frame: put your favorite photo that you took together into a small picture frame. It’s extremely thoughtful, and she’ll smile every time she looks at it.
  • Write a heartfelt letter: words are a massively powerful tool. A letter is something she will keep forever, and it’s sure to bring tears each time.

And remember: it’s the thought that counts! It doesn’t matter whether you spend $50 or $1 on a gift as long as it comes from the heart.  

 

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