Pigeons have been with us since the homo sapiens, who ate them. They were part of our diet for a very long time. Their origin is the rock dove, which has been bred to adjust it to our lifestyle. They were used In the 5th century BC the first network of pigeon messengers is thought to have been established in Assyria and Persia by Cyrus the Great. In 2000 BC they were carrying messages to warring groups in Mesopotamia. They were used in WWI and WW2 and saved a lot of lives. And only very recently, has the dislike for Pigeons started (around 1940s) and this „dislike“ was cultivated by experts, with some statistics and then the media picked up on it to spread it and make it cultural. Very unjust. They are very intelligent creatures and remember voices.

Through media and movies well, the term „rats of the sky“ was coined and imprinted in our minds. Without really asking why. And then, through imaginitive geography we start to believe that cities should be „nature free“ and pigeons are regarded as „nature“ and therefore we want to banish it – control it. Just like pretty much everything in cities – trees gro where we decide to let them grow etc… Pigeons don’t reallg give a fuck about our wants in that sense and adapt – as they were dragged and bred into our civilisation and are a part of „our“ structuring and altering. Due to – lack of natural nature in our cities there is a lack of food. So, due to their inbred capacity to reproduce like crazy – food resources are scarse and they shouldnt be eating bread (nor any bird) but of course they eat what they find! We wouldn’t act differently. Just like with weed that grows between tiles and inbetweeb concrete – it is natures way of staying and for some reason we seem to have learned to „hate and dislike“ these plants. They are plants that remind us that there is no escape, and I think that is very very important. 


A special occasion, a birthday, a anniversary of a kind, a get well visit, a wedding, a get together and every other celebration that requires a symbolic flower. Primarily in the west, a flower represents a powerful gesture. It carries a meaning, easier to deliver than words. A rose, is associated with love (in the west) so to declare our love, we gift roses. There are all kinds of symbols we have placed upon flowers, depending on the situation. A person wants to gift another person with a flower based on their history or wished for the future. These flowers are an emotional exchange between the giver and receiver and will then be placed in a vase till they decay. I have come to question this cultural imbedded notion of buying flowers for others. The fact that we use something grown in nature, that has a purpose right there, to establish relationships between humans is something I cannot wrap my head around. These flowers, usually do not grow in ones own apartment or garden. They are bought. So where do all these flowers come from? Kenya is the number 1 supplier of flowers, in particular roses to the European Union. Flowers are a business. In Kenyas case, it is the second source of foreign exchange behind tourism. According to the Kenya Flower Council, the flower industry generated $960 million in 2019 (in 2008 the industry earned US$585 million) What makes this a sort of bitter to write is that the flower industry directly employs 150,000 people and contributes 1 percent of the country’s GDP. Basically speaking, a cultural belief literally generates another countries income and that is not all, this country also pays with its natural resources. So what is considered a symbol of love, wishing one good health and recovery, is actually an object of hypocrisy, it is a paradox. In its origin country, the place of the flowers growth, it extracts and poisons the environment. Lakes lose oxygen, fish die, humans who have to work with toxins and pesticides suffer health issues. These flowers are no joy bringers, they spread pain. It does not stop here. The flowers have to be transported to Europe and have to remain „fresh“. Time is critical in the flower business. A cut flowers must reach the consumer within 72 hours if they are to survive seven days in a vase. For every extra day spent travelling, flowers lose 15 percent of their value. So in addition, the flower transport generates a serious amount of carbon emission as they are being kept cool in refrigerators during their overseas flight. For example, on Valentine’s Day in 2008 flowers grown in Colombia flown to US airports produced some 360,000 metric tons of CO2, according to estimates by the
 International Council on Clean Transportation. This is equivalent to 78,000 cars driven for one year. The transport does not end there, from the airport, trucks distripute them to their final destinations.

Ecuador is the third largest producer of cut flowers in the world, primarily roses, many of which are destined to be sold for Mother’s Day. The industry employs more than 103,000 people, and relies heavily on agricultural pesticides. The price for a 5 day rose is payed by local humans. There is evidence in a paper published by the journal NeuroToxicology, where researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Ecuador and Minnesota, found out that children who just live close to Ecuador’s floricultural greenhouses, have altered short-term neurological behaviours associated a peak pesticide spraying season linked to the Mother’s Day flower harvest. The researchers suggest that the children may have been exposed to contaminated clothing, shoes or tools brought home by floriculture workers. 

To say it bluntly, the rose that you may gift your mother on mothers day, harms another mothers child, a mother, a son or a father, a brother. And due to the current climate change and the fact that we are all connected, in a way, this rose harms the buyer as well as the receiver in a long term for a short term „pleasure“. Not to mention, that mothers deserve not a flower, but your attention, your fight for womens rights, your call, your support. Of course, everyone has a different relationship with a care giver. But let us cut the crap on mothers day or womens day or whatever day and give out flowers. Flowers don’t secure my rights, flowers do not give me equal pay, flowers do not make me forget hurtful words you have said or even went beyond words. Flowers do not heal the pain that society has created. Flowers do not and should not cover up what one feels sorry for, what one believes is „too incapable“ to say. Flowers, are like an empty promise. They are words without action, even though here we have an action, with a powerful connotation but nothing more. If one really cares, one would leave the flower where is belongs. Leave it in the soil and watch it grow. One nourishes the soil, by being a earthling, by refusing habits that harm our planet. If one really cared one would make sure that there is clean air, clean water for not just your significant circle, but for everyone. If one really cared, one would be brave and speak. Say what one feels and express their emotions, through their voice, through their tone and choices of words and in every action. That is much more memorable, than a rose. What is a rose in a vase? For it dies. And no being, on this earth, wants to die. And as it is such a powerful symbol of love, well, what does this tell us about love?


Google Maps Screenshot
Google Maps Screenshot