Got a green dilemma? Ask me! I'll be answering a new question each week.
Q: I always send my mother flowers on her birthday. Which bouquets are best for the planet? —Erika Johnson
A: Conventional bouquets can come with some thorny issues. Eighty percent of cut flowers purchased in the United States are imported from countries where workers are often not receiving fair wages and governments do not restrict the use
of dangerous pesticides. (For example, a 2006 Harvard study showed that children born to women working in the Ecuadorian flower industry had impaired
brain development due to prenatal pesticide exposure.) Happily, the marketplace for healthy, eco-conscious flowers is continuing to blossom. You can even find responsibly grown bouquets from mass retailers like FTD.com and Costco. So show how big your heart truly is by purchasing one of the bouquets in the slideshow below or checking the website or packaging for the green labels after the jump.
Fair Trade Certified
This label means the flowers come from sustainable farms that provide fair wages and safe, clean conditions for workers and also help fund community development projects.
USDA Organic Certified
No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used at any time during the growing process.
A third party (Scientific Certification Systems) has determined that both the workers and the natural resources are protected during production.
Rainforest Alliance Certified
The green frog seal means that the farm follows Sustainable Agriculture Network standards for limiting pesticides and providing access to health care and education to workers and their families.
Mindy Pennybacker regularly answers readers' green-living questions. She is also editor of GreenerPenny.com and author of Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices.