Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the Christmas tree dilemma

The sustainable Christmas tree dilemma has plagued me for years now. A while ago I got my parents to forgo the real tree and opt for an artificial one. Then I learned that apparently, that's even worse.

Clearly it's a bit late in the season for this post to be useful this year, but I proudly present to you my second Free Press article:

Click here!

My take: I guess it makes sense that in a general-concept kind of way, that using real trees is better for the planet than using artificial ones, due to chemicals in plastic, and the environmental cost of shipping the fakes from China, etc. That being said, if you already have a fake tree, especially a second-hand one like me, it is not unsustainable to use it.

No matter what the argument, it just makes me sad to see a real, beautiful tree whither away in my living room, sacrificed for the fleeting pleasure of a piney smell. And even though I know if I hadn't bought that tree, it would just be sitting, unused and dejected in a lot, that doesn't take away from the sense that the whole tradition is inherently flawed. Sure, tree farms sequester carbon while they grow. But why are we growing trees just to dress them up in tinsel for two weeks then make them into wood chips?

This year I didn't put up any sort of tree, but I did decorate my house with second-hand (yes) real pine boughs, and they look and smell quite gorgeous. If you find ones that have fallen naturally, you're not hurting anything by using them as decorations.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Awesome work Sandy!
    It's pretty cool to know someone who writes for the Free Press.
    Keep it up!

  2. I'm now a treeless guy, because I can't justify the cruelty of cutting down a tree just because I like the smell of pine!