Posted by troublemaker on November 20, 2011
For years we have been told to save trees. Believing the hype, we have switched our Christmas tree choice from natural to plastic. It seemed like a logical decision at the time. After all, we don’t want to run out of trees do we? Guess what, they grow back. In fact, the great majority of Christmas trees sold were grown specifically for that purpose. During that life cycle, they take carbon out of the air, put oxygen into that air, and generally improve the atmosphere and soil. Once used, they can provide valuable mulch intentionally or they turn into mulch all on their own if discarded in the woods. If they are burnt, they release no more carbon into the atmosphere than they removed during their life cycle. Plastic, on the other hand, well I do not think I need to tell you what its toll on our ecosystem is. So why did the natural, living Christmas tree receive such a bad rap?
1 – Drying Pine needles present a distinct fire hazard.
2 – Cut pine trees tend to come with their own special mold spores which many people are allergic to.
Ah, but do you really think things like health and fire concerns could change an entire tradition? Ask yourself how many public service messages you have seen warning about allergies to pine mold or fire hazards. If you are like me, you remember a few about the fire hazard. Now ask yourself how many commercials and other advertisements you have seen for imitation Christmas trees. When the commercials are weighed against the commercial advertisements, it becomes easy to believe the natural Christmas tree was replaced because it is easier to box, ship, and sell something that comes in a box and fits on a shelf. So what’s the solution?
Why not use a live tree bundled in a root ball rather than either a cut or plastic tree? In the spring, plant your tree on your property or donate it to a park. Here is my Christmas challenge to towns, cities, and other municipalities. Start a collection service for cut Christmas trees, using the bulk as mulch for your parks and other projects. Offer another pick up service for live trees and use those to restore a sense of nature to your parks and cities.
In the grand scope of the revolution, something as simple as what you use for a Christmas tree might seem insignificant. The thing is, no one person is going to change the world. Neither is any one idea. Collectively, we can change the world. Collectively, every little step towards the right direction can restore the splendor of the holiday season. If we can secure that season for our children, maybe we can start working on the rest of the year.
Occupy Christmas this and future seasons by returning to the common sense practices of old.