Flowers may be nice for mom but they’re terrible for Mother Earth, you know

This year, we will spend a collective $2.4 billion to buy Mom flowers. I understand the appeal. I’m a mom of two little girls, and my heart melts anytime they surprise me with a handful of dirt-clumped dandelions from our back yard. But while giving flowers may seem like a good way to show how much you love your mom, it’s a terrible idea if you care about Mother Earth.

I can practically hear my mother-in-law sighing as I write this, and I can guess what you (no doubt on hold with 1-800-NOSEGAY right now) are about to ask: Wait, aren’t flowers natural? Why is this eco-zealot trying to take down the holiday?

The truth is that most flowers are organic only in the truest sense of that word: highly perishable and thus susceptible to decay, as well as vermin and disease. Up to 80 percent of the 5.6 billion stems of flowers sold in the United States each year are imported. Of those, 93 percent are grown thousands of miles away in production greenhouses in Colombia or Ecuador. And it takes an awful lot of energy and artificial tinkering to keep those flowers fresh.