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Climate Change

Roses are Red, not Green…

by Fran Haddock

What's Going On Here?

Love it or loathe it, this Friday is Valentine’s Day. Bouquets of flowers are one of the most common gifts, but what is the truth about the environmental footprint of this romantic gesture?

What does this mean?

For anyone who hadn’t noticed, Valentine’s Day is in February - a time when there aren’t too many flowers growing in our gardens. This means that for them to be delivered to our baes they must either be flown in from a hot country or grown in heated greenhouses in Holland - and both carry huge carbon footprints. In fact, all year round approximately 90% of UK flowers are imported from overseas!

Why should we care?

Valentine’s Day is yet another occasion with clever marketing persuading us to overconsume, with the UK estimated to have spent 1 billion pounds on the occasion in 2019. Carbon crunching expert Mike Berners-Lee estimates that out-of-season cut flowers have one of the largest carbon footprints per pound spent at the till.

Air freighting flowers from hot countries such as Kenya or Columbia before the flowers perish has around 50 times the climate impact of shipping and growing them in inefficiently heated greenhouses in the Netherlands is even worse! There are also the ethical issues of low-pay, poor working conditions and gender discrimination in the flower industry, especially in Africa and Latin America.

Furthermore, commercially cut flowers use land that could otherwise be used to grow food, and as we know demand for agricultural land is the leading drive of deforestation worldwide. It all begs the question - are imported cut flowers an unsustainable luxury that we don’t really need?

Be Curious!

  • If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day tomorrow, why not opt for a more sustainable gift such as a local potted plant, a home-cooked meal or some good old quality time together?
  • If you’re still after flowers check out Flowers From the Farm, a network of seasonal British flower growers.
  • Check out our recent articles on sustainable sex and eco-dating for more on environmentally friendly romance!
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Storm Ciara: a sign of climate change hitting the UK?

by Maya Comely

What's Going On Here?

Storm Ciara, hailed as the ‘Storm of the Century’ by some, has raised discussions about how climate change is already impacting the UK. Wetter, wilder weather sure is on its way...⚠️

What does this mean?

With Storm Ciara in full blast on Sunday, my plans to cook up a storm (no pun intended…) failed miserably - I surrendered to a cosy day indoors. 
With wind speeds reaching 97mph and yellow weather warnings across the UK, here's how Storm Ciara caused chaos:
⚠️ Passengers were stranded as road, rail and air services were cancelled, diverted or delayed.
⚠️ Blackouts left 20,000 people without electricity.
⚠️ Severe damage to buildings, transport infrastructure and power lines.
⚠️ Calder Valley in Yorkshire saw cars swept away by floodwaters. 
⚠️ Hundreds of homes, schools and businesses were flooded, particularly in the Yorkshire Dales.
Oh, and the Queen was forced to miss her Sunday morning trip to church due to high winds - pretty disastrous stuff. Ironically, a BBC One show discussing climate change was interrupted and taken off air for 7 minutes - so what is the link with climate change?

Why Should We Care?

Scientists are in agreement that climate change is indeed increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events here in the UK. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, causing the heavy rain and flooding associated with storms such as Ciara. The Met has even said that if global temperatures increase by more than 1.5 degrees (which we are currently set for), wind storms in the UK are expected to cause 50% more damage. Key to mitigating this impact involves more resilient roads and railways, improved flood defences and natural drainage across the country.

We often think of the impacts of climate change as being futuristic and distant, but they are happening now and right under our noses…Has anyone noticed the daffodils almost in bloom outside? They should be coming out between March and April, and my pet 🐢 tortoise 🐢 (aka Oswald) has woken up multiple times during this year’s hibernation - more signs of a warming climate.

It’s time we woke up (how can you not with those hurling winds?) and faced the reality of this climate emergency.

Be Curious!

🌬️ Stay safe and hold onto your hats (I've been struggling to keep my beret on my head this week…) and be super careful if you’re cycling - wear a helmet and don’t rush to get anywhere.

🌬️ Want to know more about how climate change is affecting the UK? Check out this page by Friends of the Earth.
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From the curious.archive!

Educate girls to reduce global warming. -

Other news we found curious...

Report: Half of world's largest businesses haven't pledged to end supply chain deforestation -
The hidden environmental cost of Valentine’s Day roses - VOX
Extremely Rare Snowfall over Baghdad Captivates Residents - Interesting Engineering
BP Sets Bold Agenda for Big Oil With Plan to Eliminate CO2 - Bloomberg Green
We're worse with food waste than we think - BBC

Maya Comely
Fran Haddock

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