« Freakonomics Radio

73. A Rose By Any Other Distance

2012-05-02 | 🔗

At a time when people worry about every mile their food must travel, why is it okay to import most of our cut flowers from thousands of miles away?

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for economics, radio on marketplace: here's the host of marketplace. I really don T, know if a little bit economic radio that moment every couple of weeks where we talk to Stephen, damn near the co author of the books and the blogs of the same name. It is the hidden side of everything double as always, it could deducting great, be hurt. I haven't you know it seems like you talk about your mom quite a bit of, and am I am I right. I don't know maybe, and it sounds from want to hear that you too have a fairly loving really chip and also right on number one she's listening so watch yourself and and number two year. You know we get along me, mom, I'm just thinking with mother's day coming up in a two Sundays guessing you're thinking about may be sent in your mom's and flowers. Ok, two things one is: It's all I can do. You remember, get my wife flowers on mother day, let alone my own mother and to the dirty secret, which I will deny you repeated. My wife actually does the flowers from my ma, but mom does good, but she gets
yeah she gets them, so she is not alone in the. U S. Every year we spend about twelve billion dollars on cut flowers alone. Mother's day is obviously a huge part. Let me hear something you may not know Kai about. Eighty percent of these cut flowers are imported, mostly from equatorial countries. Get no twelve hours of value rather suddenly, Mario, via is a flower wholesaler in LOS Angeles, he handles about two million flowers a year and here's how they get to him anything this come now. South America jointly airfreight it into Miami, then its trucked over to California. It they fly to Miami and drive. It ought to be here, and I do not want to reign on your mother's parade or anybody's mothers parade, but there is some then going on here. Ok, we live in this day and age where people are obsessed with food miles,
carbon, very everything that we consume. So if that's the way we're gonna be here's what I want to know. Where is the outrage over these globe Trotting mother's day? Flowers? Ok, I mean if you ship food across the planet. At least we eat our sustenance raper with flowers. You just look at him for four days and then you know into the trap. So this is Europe on your high horse. Here you are now killing all the joy and glory than his mother's day and cut flowers in this country Kai. It is not my nature to scare me. I hope you know that by now, but I do find it curious that cut flowers. If somehow escaped the environmental scrutiny that accompanies what we eat, how we transport ourselves. You know it may be a halo effect from the flowers themselves I mean had had you hey unripe roses in tulips. That's a pretty right! So so here's the thing, though, if I don't well,
me rephrase that if my wife doesn't send my mother blacklist for Thursday, then I'm in deep in serious trouble. I dont want that to happen here. Ok, it's a lasting! Ought to happen so, let's look to a different holiday for potential solutions. Merry Christmas. Every year we buy about thirty five million Christmas trees in this country about two billion dollars worth now again, we're talking crops that are harvested and transported solely for our viewing, but not our eating pleasure, but every year the share of artificial, Miss trees grows and now we're up to about forty percent fake Christmas trees, meaning there is no need to grow in transport and other tree next year. You know your way: no stock is on not doing a faker mystery, I'm not going to. Let me try to persuade you have a little Saki have a packaging do you always do so by area they got a good time to open that ok number one little disappointed because it clearly not beer
but our right. That's. Why is this a corsage or something equally sensitive? What do you think how today, They look lovely their yellow roses and when I made of yet another area there plastic flower, they're beautiful, rightly do wonderful thing: s plastic, these so here's the thing, we may associate flowers with nature and plastic with the opposite, but that is in fact a very simplistic view of how the world actually worked. So here's Suzanne Freeburg she's, a Dartmouth, professor, an author, has been studying how carbon footprint are calculated. Here's what she thinks of the idea of giving plastic hours instead of real ones, because there's a lightweight they wouldn't need to be flown anywhere. They wouldn't decompose and produce greenhouse gases is any landfill there is the endless lifespan so the day the possibilities for re gifting them. So kindly
if you really love your mother and I'm not implying that you don't by the way. I want you to think about sending her having your wife send her some plastic flowers this year, because even if you want you can even we give this bouquet. I sent you as like Professor Freeburg suggests you know. So I guess I understand you're a bit of a cheapskate as a state. I am actually happened here. Stiffened doesn't have reaganomics dot gum is, though,
I won't be back in a couple of weeks, will say about hey thanks guy coming up on next week's podcast, there's a guy named Caleb in Oklahoma City who likes to argue with atheists and when they say they don't believe in the existence of a soul. Caleb says I. So why are you some years give you fifty bucks for fuel here from Caleb from the guy? He finally convinced to sell his soul, and From Harvard professor Michael Sandel, who talks about the moral limits of markets talk, you then.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-16.