The top of the tree

There is an ongoing debate when the Christmas holidays approach. Some of you might already have asked themselves the question: which is more ecological, the natural christmas tree or the artificial ones?

Here’s the long-awaited answer to this torturing question which I believe haunts your dark and cold winter nights…

Let’s quickly weight the pros and cons of each and understand their environmental impact:

The natural tree:

– induces deforestation and land use change which we all know have consequences over the ecosystems and can lead to land erosion and mudslide.

– its growth requires (to our fast-food, fast- everything consumerist sterilized standards) pesticides, fertilizer and insecticides that pollute the environment.

The artificial tree:

Although it can be reused, its lifespan is very environmentally costly. The production of such trees is highly polluting as it is made of PVC, plastic and aluminium. From the production chain to its destruction the artificial christmas tree is the cause of many emissions of greenhouse gases. Moreover they are usually produced in China and sent all over the world, often via Canada…On top of that it is highly inflammable and logically setting it on fire releases CO2!

And so the winner is…

Not so obvious… but yet I would say we should opt for a natural tree – including that we enquire if they come from a mass production site or a local farm, this way we ensure we’re not adding miles of transportation to its carbon footprint and avoid big scale land-use changes. The artificial tree on the other hand would need to be re-used every Christmas for about 20 years before you compensate for its carbon footprint.

Finally, when Christmas is gone don’t just chuck your tree on the sidewalk. Spare your neighbours the sad picture and yourself the shame of this act, check out the following websites to find out the nearest recycling center to your home: Recycle for London and Recycle Now. For non UK inhabitants enquire with your local authority !

Happy Christmas and saving of the Earth holidays!

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This entry was posted in Climate science, Lifestyle, recycling. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The top of the tree

  1. Aaron Strong says:

    As a fellow UNFCCC-youth, I would like to add that for the past several years I have cut down my natural Christmas tree (balsam fir) not from a tree farm but from a second growth forest. Making a single selective cut (following sustainable forestry practices) is, in my opinion, the best way to go. I’ve sometimes cut from private land with permission or from public lands through the National Forest’s christmas tree permit program which operates in some western states. Of course this practice is not as easily available to those in urban areas and of course it would begin to have an ecological effect if it was scaled up to larger numbers of individuals, but if you’re looking for a way to green christmas, i highly recommend looking into it.

  2. Georg says:

    nice blog! 🙂

    keep it green!

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