Here is a common question that always seems to arise this time of year; albeit it is not always answered.What is more sustainable? A real Christmas tree or a fake reusable one?
This welcomes a few points. First, a real Christmas tree is returned back to the earth in green waste that renews its own cycle within the planet. That said, there are still factors to consider with a real tree. What is the carbon footprint of shipping these trees to your local markets or perhaps the drive you make to the nearest tree farms to pick it out? Also, are these trees grown with the use of pesticides because that would certainly have a negative impact on the environment. Fir trees, especially, require a lot of pest control.
Now before you get too comfortable thinking about that full, triangular, plastic tree you had your eye on, be aware that fake trees (even though reusable) are not so ethical either. The shipment alone puts them on par with real trees but then there is the factory pollution, and the plastics (namely PVC “Polyvinyl Chloride”) that are non-biodegradable and hazardous to our oceans. Those plastic trees breakdown into ever-smaller pieces only to pollute the planet and poison our wildlife, which are both at risk. Did you know it has been predicted that by the year 2050 ALL marine life will be extinct?!
So what are we going to do about that? We need to rise above the need for tradition and big, shiny objects in order to rescue our planet. We need to teach our children a new way so that they grow up to respect the planet and it’s resources. The better choice is real trees but keep reading for an even better solution.
Real trees do have benefits. They smell incredible and the essential oils infusing your home could help you engage in mindfulness more easily, as well as softening headaches etc. They also clean the air by absorbing CO2 and other air bound pollutants and by releasing more oxygen in return.
My choice this year was to purchase an aromatic rosemary plant that is shaped like a little tree. I walked to the store (lessening the carbon footprint) and chose one that was sold ALIVE in a soil pot. It is about 12 inches tall and fits very nicely on the chest in my living room. This plant will not produce waste but, instead return to the soil. As well, it was likely not doused with pesticides or certainly not as much as it’s 12 inches tall opposed to a 12 foot tall fir tree, that was doused with pesticides. Lastly, if I need some fresh rosemary for my cooking…...well, I'm covered!
Start now to teach your children a better way of living. It will become a new wonderful tradition that they could take with them into adulthood and beyond. A minimalistic approach discourages excessive consumerism and will ease the overstimulation and overload of the holidays for everybody. Merry Christmas!