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Michael wants to ruin Christmas

by on December 2, 2013
 

http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/artificial-christmas-trees-buy-american

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6 Comments
  1. These articles drew my attention for every reason they shouldn’t: the damaging effects of Christmas trees are not something we want to think about. During the holiday season, our contributions to pollution in watershed and bringing toxins into our homes are the last topics we want to think about or discuss. At the same time, celebrating Christmas without a tree is nonnegotiable. Further, as explained in the articles, there is no real solution; both real and fake trees have negative consequences. Even various real trees have consequences. Like climate change, we read this information and we deal with it. Parallel to the “no action, no attention” idea, after reading there is no straight forwards right or wrong answer, no easy solution, most Americans will tune out. Similarly, with selective attention, many Americans will choose to not to dwell on this idea. During a time of “holiday cheer” it’s depressing to think that there is no real eco-friendly way to enjoy a Christmas tradition.

  2. My family has had an artificial tree in my house for my whole life. We have a one big artificial tree in my family room, but both more brother and I have small artificial trees in our rooms. Having an artificial tree definitely benefits the environment in some aspects because you do not need to cut down trees or use land for Christmas Tree for farms. When visiting Virginia this past year, my local man told the group I was with, that Christmas Tree farming was the most profitable practice in the area but also the most damaging to the land. However, I did not know of all the hazardous substances that are found in artificial Christmas trees. such as PVC and lead. It’s crazy and scary to think that something as joyful and wonderful as a Christmas Tree has the potential to have chemicals that can cause cancer and neurological disorders. I am glad to see that the American artificial Christmas tree manufacturers, which are said to be safer, are located in New Jersey (where I live)- so hopefully that is where my family got our Christmas tree!

  3. These articles really put a damper on the whole “Christmas Spirit” attitude. Our society is not ecologically conscious in most aspects, why should we think it would be when related to Christmas trees? It is scary to think that fake Christmas trees contain various carcinogenic toxins. Who wants to believe that they are being poisoned while enjoying their decorated trees? Even though the article says that there really is no good solution here at all, I believe that a real tree would be the best way to go. However, ultimately the replant-able trees sound like the best bet, but these are rarely advertised. If society was informed about these types of trees, I believe more people would buy them. No one wants toxic trees, or to harm the environment anymore than we already have. Buying a tree that will contribute to the planet after its use definitely would attract consumers, as well as being a good deed during the holiday season.

  4. Ashley Leonard permalink

    Before having taken this class, the most surprising aspect of these articles would be the reality that what is considered nation-wide as an “eco-friendly” choice in re-using a fake Christmas tree every year may have more environmental concerns than a naturally grown tree. And the fact that 85% of the fake trees that are sold North America are produced in China, (when shoppers are encouraged to at least buy an American produced tree), shows that already our nation has fallen at a disadvantage environmentally when purchasing the fake trees. Now though, I am not surprised that not only are fake trees produced with polyvinyl chloride, which is an extremely hazardous form o petroleum-derived plastic to the environment, but environmental harm also affects the surrounding communities in which the plastic is produced that suffer the pollution and the labor workers themselves face incredible danger regarding chemicals they use in the factories. What I find troublesome, though, is where we must go from here. If the fake tree is not the solution, and the majority of real trees are shipped from elsewhere resulting in the pollution of travel as well as causing pollution to local watersheds when discarded after a short time of use, what can we do to save our Christmas tradition? While purchasing a locally grown tree will decrease environmental costs and support a local business, the majority of Americans may not have access or affordability to make the more environmentally friendly consumption. Unfortunately, the fake tree may be the cheapest and most accessible option for the majority of our country.

  5. Cristina permalink

    The PVC problem is a largely overlooked hazard. I watched a documentary in high school called Blue Vinyl that discussed the environmental problems with PVC. When they looked at workers from PVC plants, a huge portion of them were dying from cancer. Other than human rights issues, PVC is one of the hardest materials to discard of. It is extremely harmful and does not decompose. Fake Christmas trees are not something that I am familiar with. My town has a local tree farm that I can walk to from my house and we get a tree from there every year. Although it isn’t really sustainable because it practices monoculture and promotes the cutting down of trees, at least it is local and everyone is responsible for doing their own cutting.

  6. I’ve never heard of buying a live tree with its roots intact before. It’s a really awesome alternative to both cutting a real tree and having an artificial one. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s all that popular of an idea. Since it only lasts one week, which is a pretty short time in the holiday season, I doubt people would really want to spend a lot of money on it, plus their back yard might not be conducive to planting a tree in their back yard. To promote this approach to Christmas trees, local growers should have a system where people rent trees for less money than buying one, and then return it to the grower so that someone else could rent it the next year. It would be a much more sustainable approach to the Christmas tree tradition. I was really surprised about how dangerous artificial trees are. I always thought they were the more environmentally friendly option. I think it will pan out similarly to the situation of having lead in children’s toys. Once more people become aware of the hazards on their fake tree, there will be a push for safer trees. But like with the lead problem, it will probably take a while for change to occur, as the companies that produce the trees will probably resist the change as best they can.

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