For the past six years the giant Christmas tree that has been a long time tradition at Rockefeller Center in New York City has been donated after the holiday season to be used as lumber for Habitats for Humanity. This year, the 81st Christmas tree to be lit, will again continue to be donated in what one could only hope to be a new, just as long, tradition.
This donation sets an example for the nation not to simply toss their trees away- but put them to a good use. And this is important as Americans, according to new data from Nielsen Research, use approximately 21.6 million real trees and 12.9 million artificial trees to decorate their households. Often times these trees are not recylced or reused and are simply left curbside for the garbage to claim. However, there is so much more than can be done with these trees- real or fake! And the Rockefeller Center tree is surely making this statement.
Going one step further, the Rockefeller tree is truly being re-used for something remarkable. Habitats for Humanity is an organization with the mission to “put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.” They do this by builiding homes for those who may have lost them in natural diasters, or simply cannot afford or do not have access to liveable housing conditions. The 2007 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was first donated to Habitat for Humanity and used in the construction of a Hurricane Katrina survivor’s home in Pascagoula, Miss. Since then, the lumber has been used in the construction of homes in New York City; Stamford, Conn.; Newburgh, N.Y.; and Philadelphia.
This holiday season I hope the Rockefeller tree, wether Americans get the privelage to experience it in person, or see it lit from afar, serves to inspire others. Not just from a sustainable standpoint, but a charitable one as well.