Apparently, Houseplants Now Contribute to Climate Change

Published January 9, 2024

The climate change killjoys have gone to great lengths in recent years linking practically anything and everything as a contributor to climate change. Gas stoves? Check. Dishwashers? Check. Eating meat? Check. Sporting events? Check. Breathing? Check, too.

Given this history, I must say I was not all that surprised when I read a recent article in The Washington Post claiming, “Indoor houseplants come with a cost to the planet.”

According to article’s author, “greening indoor spaces can also come at an environmental cost. The trucks that transport plants spew carbon emissions, plastic pots and synthetic fertilizers are made from petroleum and the harvesting of soil components like peat can tear up slow-forming habitats.”

Virtually everything we buy and consume in the modern age is transported via truck, train, and/or cargo ship. For instance, most of the technological devices Americans buy in spades these days are transported across the entire world, from Asia to the United States. The same is true for the vast majority of foodstuffs, trinkets, and creature comforts that we use on a daily basis.

Declaring that we should refrain from purchasing these products simply because they must be transported across vast distances via a train, truck, or cargo ship, which uses fossil fuels, is absurd. If we were to implement this “planet-saving strategy” throughout our lifestyles by avoiding the purchase of products that need to shipped, the worldwide economy would grind to a halt, life would be miserable, and human flourishing would plummet.

Instead of purchasing a plant from a greenhouse or nursery, the author suggests, “looking for local plant swaps or garden clubs in your area, which are often organized online or on social media sites. Other gardeners are often happy to give you cuttings of their own plants, which you can propagate and grow into plants of your own.”

Okay, this may well be true. But, if we were to limit ourselves to solely purchasing or bartering for local plants, the number of choices and varieties at our disposal would pale in comparison to the abundant offerings available at most green houses and nurseries. Moreover, what if you live in an urban area, where there probably aren’t a bunch of gardeners waiting to give away plant cuttings?

The author also argues that people should avoid putting their houseplants in “cheap, black plastic pots that quickly fall apart” in favor of “terracotta and ceramic pots that will last.” While I fully understand that terracotta and ceramic pots are more durable and long-lasting than their plastic counterparts, we should also recognize that plastic pots are much more affordable. For people living paycheck-to-paycheck, which includes more than 60 percent of Americans, perhaps the plastic pot is the only option they can afford.

The same argument applies to the author’s advice regarding the use of synthetic fertilizers and peat. The author “recommends cutting down on petroleum-based fertilizers, which create carbon emissions during their production.” Instead, he suggests using “organic fertilizers” and “peat alternatives, like coconut coir or biochar.”

Of course, organic fertilizers, coconut coir, and biochar are much more expensive than their commonly used counterparts. What’s more, petroleum-based fertilizers work better because they are equally rich in the three essential nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium).

For a great case study on the utter failure of organic fertilizers, see what happened to Sri Lanka after the government banned petroleum-based fertilizers. Spoiler alert: It was a very bad idea.

Then again, climate change fearmongering is chock-full-of bad ideas and terrible solutions to non-existent problems. The climate lunatics’ war on houseplants is ridiculous, but also quite telling of just how out-of-touch these people are.

Rather than excoriating Americans for the simple desire of having an affordable and healthy houseplant, which bring people pleasure, reduce stress, clean indoor air, and just generally look nice, it would be refreshing if the The Washington Post, and the entire mainstream media for that matter, did their due diligence when it comes to climate change. If they did, they might realize that climate change is not an existential crisis, fossil fuels are the lifeblood of the modern economy, and houseplants are not bad for the planet.

Photo by F.D. Richards. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic