Feb 142007

Mooove over, cows. The freshest, yet most beautiful, threat to the environment is the Valentine’s Day bouquet.

The U.K. Telegraph reported that Britain’s demand for imported flowers for Valentine’s Day could have “serious implications on climate change,” due to the carbon dioxide emissions from the airplanes.

The story noted that the average flowers for a Valentine’s Day bouquet travel nearly 34,000 miles to reach Britain. Flower imports from the Netherlands have dropped in recent years while imports from Ethiopia have jumped from zero to 130 tons since 2003. Kenya, another African nation, is Britain’s second largest importer of flowers behind the Netherlands.

But Africa’s blooming floral business isn’t a bed of roses for the environment.

Andrew Sims, policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said, “You can argue the planes would be flying anyway but the amount of greenhouse gases pumped out depends on the weight of the cargo.”

Vicky Hird, spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth, chimed, “We don’t want to be killjoys because receiving flowers can be lovely but why not grow your own gift?”

Right. And where, Mr. Hird, do we get seeds from imported plants? (Sorry, trick question. The seeds are imported – i.e., flown-in; i.e., requiring CO2 emissions – as well.) Is he going to suggest that we grow our own coffee and make our own chocolate, too?

The Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Flowers and Plants Association, who argued that the boom in flowers from Ethiopia and Kenya helps these countries to build schools and to boost the economy.

No matter. Global warming is going to kill everyone, so it doesn’t matter if flower sales from Ethiopia and Kenya contribute to the well-being of those countries.

Meanwhile, in other global warming news, upstate New York has received over 12 feet of snow in the last week. I don’t think Al Gore’s Toyota Prius could handle that much powder, but maybe his motorcade of three motorcycles, two limousines, and a light duty pick-up truck could clear a path. (How much carbon dioxide is emitted from airplanes importing DVDs of “An Inconvenient Truth” all over the world?)

Last Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declared that the United States needs to cut its CO2 emissions in half by 2050, but apparently those cuts don’t include her desire to fly around in a military-style aircraft.

But this hypocritical behavior is typical of the left. Take John Edwards, for example. In his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, he spoke about how much work he and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry needed to do in order to strengthen America.

Said Edwards, “The truth is, we still live in a country where there are two different Americas . . . one, for all of those people who have lived the American dream and don’t have to worry, and another for most Americans, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day.”

Guess which “America” Edwards lives in? Hint: He and his family recently moved into their 28,000 square-foot home in North Carolina. The home itself is worth over $4 million, and the 102 acres of land that the home sits on is valued at another $1.1 million.

Edwards’s crib is reported to have five bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths, a “barn” that has its own set of living quarters, and is modestly equipped with a handball court, a basketball court, and an indoor pool. Oh, and it also has a four-story tower so Edwards can look down on “everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day.”

Go to http://www.johnlocke.org/site-docs/images/edwardshouse-low.jpg to see Edwards’ estate. Looks as if he did some pretty extensive clear-cutting, and how much energy will a place like this use? I don’t see any solar panels.

Oh, wait. Edwards is a Leftist, so the global-warming-consenting environmentalists won’t care if he cleared out a few dozen acres of forests for his own personal happiness.

But those florists in Ethiopia had better stop trying to improve the conditions and livelihood in their poverty-stricken country, and everyone else needs to grow their own food and flowers so we can return to 18th century living. Ah, the good ol’ days long before the Industrial Revolution when the world was coming out of an Ice Age.

Trevor Sides is a senior speech communication major. His column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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