Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Trees Are Green But Are They Green

Christmas Tree DetailSo we made the annual family trek to get the Christmas Tree today. Mission accomplished. I even have it in the stand and strung with lights (LED's of course). I saw an interesting sign at the tree farm this year though. It ready something like, "Breath Deep - the trees naturally collect carbon dioxide and let off oxygen. If you don't cut them down we can't plant more. So get your tree and do you part for the environment". 

Now I guess you could call getting a Christmas Tree a guilty pleasure for me. I mean the gas we use on the way to and from is a waste, and the whole process of growing the tree and running the business I'm sure has a big carbon foot print. I do still do it though, I think some traditions are necessary, as long as you try to keep it limited to some extent. In fairness we carpooled to the tree farm and like I said I light the tree with LED's, so at least that's something.

Anyway, the sign keeps sticking with me. It just feels like the string of half truths that normally the crazy climate change disbelievers put out. Yeah trees do suck up CO2, so that part is good. But once you cut them down you have killed them and therefore begun the decomposition process which is going to release that CO2. Trees are like CO2 storage compartments. They do indeed suck it up and pull it out of the atmosphere, but once they die or are burned they release that back into the air again. So yes planting new trees is what will then capture the CO2 that was released from a older trees breaking down. But we as Christmas Tree consumers would really only be helping if we were cutting down trees that were about to die and making room for new ones. The trees we are cutting down are in fine shape, that is why we chose them. I'm not sure what the total life expectancy of a Christmas Tree is but I know when I walk though the woods most of them on 40-100 feet tall. The one I put in my living room is less then 8 feet, so there was a lot of life left in that tree if it was just left alone.

So don't get me wrong, we all need to live a little as long as we stay conscious of what is happening to this planet and work to get it back on the right track. So you and I don't have to beat ourselves up because we partake in a old tradition with our family. It just bothers me that these kind of statements are made so that people are thinking they are really helping the planet when they are actually hurting it. You gotta do what you gotta do, but at least know what it is that you are doing!

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