November 29, 2007

green xmas trees

There have been a few articles written recently about whether real or fake Christmas trees are more environmentally friendly. I've seen posts on Treehugger as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle.

As we are headed into the first weekend of December, I thought it would be timely to consider the issue since many people are planning on getting their trees (if they haven't already done so). I encourage you to read the articles in full. I appreciated the Chronicle reporter's effort to stay neutral and honestly report the faults on both sides.

Ultimately, no Christmas tree would be the greenest choice. Bah humbug! As a parent I am very aware that I am helping to shape memories of a (hopefully) happy childhood. For us, a beautiful tree is a part of our celebration.

To spare you the suspense, most articles concur that a real tree is ultimately the way to go. I do too, for a few reasons:

1. I think people are in need of a connection with nature, and a real tree over a plastic one is an important difference.

2. Plastics trees do not have the smell or complete sensory experience.

3. Plastic trees are made from PVC and are coated with flame retardants. Awful!

4. While the real trees might have a big burden of CO2 in their shipping, at least they will decompose eventually (unlike plastic).

If you're up for alternatives, there are other options, like getting a real live tree and planting it afterwards. Another good choice is to find a local place and go cut it. It should be much fresher, travel less distance and be a memorable experience for the whole family.

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