Over on Twitter, as part of #EthicalHour (Monday’s at 8pm), I was talking about sustainable flowers. The discussion is always engaging and I always learn something. It’s also been an opportunity to raise topics around bereavement and funerals especially, that people rarely think about.
So many flowers we buy are imported from far and wide, the carbon footprint of funeral and wedding flowers is astronomical.
We may chose a particular flower based on the colour, perfume, name or another link to our loved one. These are important ways to honour them, and mark our grief. Thinking about which elements are most important should help us find a balance between sustainability and self care.
There are a few elements to think about when thinking about what ‘sustainable’ means to you in the context of floral tributes.
- Use of plastic, oasis and wire all pose threats to wildlife, if leaving a tribute on a grave etc.
- Use of glitter, fake beads, colouring etc also pose threats to wildlife and soil quality.
- Non-native flowers could contain bugs or bacteria to threaten native species.
- Imported flowers will have been in cold storage, or forced, and often don’t last long.
You may have the capacity to grown or use home grown flowers, making a unique and personal tribute. Alternatively, I’ve been delighted to find this source of UK grown florists www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk, there is bound to be someone near you growing beautiful native flowers.
One alternative could be to dry flowers that come into your home, ready to be used at some point in the future. This can be done by bunching them and hanging them upside down until dried. If you need them more quickly, you can try the microwave method – this takes some practice, and depends on the type of flower you are using.
Some people are moving away from floral tributes at all. You could consider a living tribute, planting a flower, bulbs, shrub or even tree if possible.
I’m adding sustainable thinking around funerals as my research continues. You can keep up to date here.