Sustainability of Christmas Trees

12.02.2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

It is everyone’s favorite time of year, the holiday season. For most Americans, each December we start our celebration of Christmas after thanksgiving, and the main way we celebrate throughout the month is by decoration. One of the main points of decoration, and the entire Christmas tradition is the Christmas tree itself. Most think of a Christmas tree with a cut stem, sitting in a pool of water, and decorated to the max with lights and ornaments. But in reality, Christmas trees are real living parts of the world.

Even though we only think of Christmas trees during and approaching the holiday season, the evergreen or “Christmas tree industry” is a non stop industry that is actually in circulation year round. Evergreen tree farms are massive, as the demand for trees is enormous each holiday season. But what are the environmental effects of having massive Christmas tree farms?

Because Christmas trees are mainly sold for their beauty, they are managed and maintained by artificial preservatives and pesticides which are not only bad for the environment but can lead to indoor air pollution as well. Like with any major agricultural practice, you see the same major problems with pesticides and preservatives.  The pesticides are not only bad for the plants themselves but they are harmful chemicals which are put into our atmosphere.  Another major problem associated with using these pesticides is when the trees actually enter peoples’ homes.  These chemicals from the trees will now be in your home, and depending on how bad they are will lead to indoor air pollution. And these chemicals are not something you want on your hands, on your pets, or just in your home in general.

However it must a big help to the environment that we are planting massive amounts of trees on farms. They do intake carbon emissions but the problem is that people will buy a tree that they will die right after the Christmas season. An evergreen tree takes at least  7 years to grow to a size that someone will display in their home. But in my opinion it is a major problem that trees go to waste when they could essentially help the environment more afterwards. This has been changed in the past few years because companies have developed that actually rent Christmas trees to be used every year and keep the trees alive. The way it works is the companies own tree farms. For the Christmas season the company will deliver you a tree. The tree needs to be kept alive in a pout with roots and all. After Christmas the company will pick up the tree and keep it alive. The tree will then either be delivered to another house or donated to a urban deforestation project. Because these trees are organically grown, they may not look as good for a second year that it could be used for a family. But the tree will be donated to an urban reforestation project so that the tree stays alive. This is a great alternative to killing a Christmas tree and it is great for the environment because these tree farms are organic and the trees stay alive and continue to intake carbon emissions. For an example of a tree rental company visit http://www.livingchristmas.com/how-it-works/

Other references: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/garden/04garden.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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