Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tearing Down The Tree

The un-decorating of the Winter Season has begun, well at least at my house.  We don't have a real tree.  I'm not sure why we've never bought a live tree that has been cut down.  Are we too ashamed of what it does to the environment?  I'm not sure.  The one year I did have a live tree it was a small potted pine that I purchased because I was living in the hotel for five months and it was over the holiday season.  But I gave the little tree away in the hopes that someone would be able to plant it and it would grow.

The above photo is what often happens to cut Christmas trees.  Sure some of us could burn them in our backyards but then we'd have to get burning permits.  I recently found out that wood smoke is really bad for the humans.  All those chemicals we've let leach into the ground with our carelessness have been absorbed by the trees we now are burning for our fuel in the winter.  I developed asthma symptoms as a child and was diagnosed as an adult.  My parents had a wood stove installed in their house when I was eight years old.  I wonder if that was the cause of my lung problems.  I love the smell of burning wood and I love camp fires but I think I love to breathe a bit more so I doubt I'll ever be having a wood burning fuel source in my home.  Read this article Burning Issues, which is about the hazards of wood burning.

The last of our decorations are now down as of a few minutes ago.  The boxes are taped shut and will again be stored until needed at the end of the year.  We have a four foot artificial tree.  I didn't pay much for it but it suits its purpose as our house is small.  Enlisted Army housing is always small.  I've seen some families packed in like sardines in a can.  But all is good as long as there are rules.  Now I'm getting away from my post again.

I'd like to know what my readers have for trees, that is if you have a tree at all for Winter holidays.  Do you go with a live tree, and if so do you feel guilt at having contributed to the decline of our oxygen supply, or do you feel no guilt at all?  If you have an artificial tree do you feel guilt at the chemicals used in creating your fake tree and the fumes that were expelled into the environment to create the fake tree, or is there no guilt factor at all? 

Yes I know with either option there is no winning.  Maybe we could all opt to just decorate a live potted tree and later plant it in the spring of the year when the soil is ready.

I used recycled paper in the making of my paper chains and snowflakes again this year.  Easy to tear down decorations and easy to recycle again.  All of the paper decorations are now in the recycling bin.  Still I feel some guilt as again some machinery will have to fire up causing more toxins to be expelled into the environment just to make that paper I used into a pulp fiber to be used once again. 

I'm beginning to believe that there is no guilt-free Winter holiday season.  I doubt its even possible.  Think of all the paper wrappings used and wasted.  The bows, boxes, packing materials and not to forget the gas used in getting the gifts to their destinations from the point of purchase.  Why do we do it?  Is it the guilt of not giving or is it blind love with no concern to the environment?

I just read aloud the above to my spouse and he answered back, "its tradition and you can't argue with tradition as its insensitive."  So said the guy with the B.S. in Environmental Science.

However, if you are feeling any guilt about your "traditions" then possibly you should visit the Arbor Day Foundation.   Or check out your National Parks Service.  Make a donation to them or find out how you can give back.

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