CHRISTMAS TREE MASSACRE

WHY DO WE CUT DOWN CHRISTMAS TRESS TO BRING IN OUR HOMES EVERY YEAR?!  

Every year 30 million live evergreen furs or pine trees are cut down and sold in the US as Christmas trees. An average Christmas tree is cut after approximately 7 years of growth (1)  and sits in our homes for us to enjoy for only about 3-4 weeks. Every year after New Years, New Yorkers and the rest of the country tosses what once was alive trees out on the curb for disposal like trash. Every year I walk around seeing dead corpses. This year I chose to personify it... With help from my cohorts, we hit the streets of NYC and hung cartoon dead faces and toe tags on already tossed out trees. ‪#‎christmastreemassacre‬ ‪#‎slpart‬ 

 

BENEFITS OF A LIVING PINE OR FUR TREE

  • A single fur or pine absorbs 1 ton of CO2 in it's lifetime (2)

  • A single fur or pine produces enough oxygen for 18 people (2)

  • Creates habitat for animals

  • Helps to regulate climate temperature (Heat Island Effect)

  • Protects from flooding by absorbing on average of 100 gallons of water per storm! (3)

  • Cleans water

  • Cleans air

  • Stabilizes soil

  • Provides food (pine nuts)

  • and much more....

ALTERNATIVES TO CUT CHRISTMAS TREES

  • Create a tradition of planing a tree for Christmas

  • Buy potted live trees that could then be replanted

  • Rent live Christmas trees with the living root ball that farmers replant

  • Decorate live outdoor trees

  • Maybe forgo the Christmas tree tradition, or go back to the origins of just decorated pine branches

  • NOTE: There is much controversy surrounding the use of fake plastic trees as these are often made overseas, are made of PVC and other toxic materials, and will eventually end up in a landfill

BENEFITS AND ISSUES WITH TREE FARMS

  • While 30 million Christmas trees are cut every year, 350 million Christmas tress are growing for a rotation of Christmas trees for years in the future. This can be beneficial for all the benefits that growing trees provide before they are cut

  • Tree farms cover 350,000 acres in production for growing Christmas Trees in the U.S (1) and much of the land that is used for tree farms was natural forest land

  • Christmas trees are a monocrop. Monocropping reduces the eco-system diversity which leads to a decline in the beneficial eco-symbiosis that is found in more healthy eco-systems, such as integrated pest management from symbiotic cohabiting species.  Monocropping leads to soil nutrient depletion (since it is dominated by one plant pulling the same nutrients from the soil) which eventually renders the soil inadequate to support any plant growth

  • Often pesticides are used to manage these tress as monocropping and consistent cutting of tress does not foster stabilized soil or ecosystems that could naturally fight pests. Pesticides contaminate the air, soil, and groundwater

  • The Christmas tree industry employs around 100,000 people. However, a live Christmas tree rental industry could still be sustained without adverse economic effects

  • There is embedded energy and carbon associated with transporting tress from farms to personal homes

  • There is much controversy surrounding the use of fake plastic trees as these are often made overseas, are made of PVC and other toxic materials, and will eventually end up in a landfill

  •  There are alternative to using cut trees that still preserves traditions and supports the economy with less of an environmental footprint, such as renting live trees, planting trees for Christmas, decorating outdoor trees, and buy live potted trees

HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

It is believed that there was an old Pagan custom of suspending  just a branch of fir, spruce or pine at the ceiling called Podłaźniczka associated with Koliandia. The branches were decorated with apples, nuts, cookies, colored paper, stars made of straw, ribbons and colored wafers. Some people believed that the tree had magical powers that were linked with harvesting and success in the next year. 

The modern Christmas tree tradition of bringing in cut trees into private homes dates back to Western Germany in the 16th century. They were called "Paradeisbaum" (paradise trees) and were brought into homes to celebrate the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on DEC-24.  They were first brought to America by German immigrants about the year 1700. Christmas trees became popular among the general U.S. population about 1850 and have remained so ever since."(6)

"In the past, there have been objections to Christmas trees. The Prophet Jeremiah condemned as Pagan the ancient Middle Eastern practice of cutting down trees, bringing them into the home and decorating them. Of course, these were not really Christmas trees, because Jesus was not born until centuries later, and the use of Christmas trees was not introduced for many centuries after his birth. Apparently, in Jeremiah's time the "heathen" would cut down trees, carve or decorate them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlay it with precious metals."(4)

Jim Gaffigan talks about holiday traditions and Christmas Trees in this clip from his Comedy Central stand-up special and DVD "Beyond the Pale". 

1.     National Christmas Tree Association, http://www.realchristmastrees.org/dnn/Education/QuickTreeFacts.aspx

2.     Earth 911, http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/real-vs-artificial-christmas-trees/

3.     How Trees Retain Stormwater Runoff, Arbor Day Foundation.  http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/uesd/uep/products/11/800TreeCityUSABulletin_55.pdf

4.     "All about the Christmas Tree: Pagan origins, Christian adaptation, and secular status:", at: http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm *

5.     Diane Relf, "Christmas Tree Traditions," Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1997-AOR, at:http://www.ext.vt.edu/ *

6.      Jones, David Albert (27 October 2011). AngelsOxford University Press. p. 24.ISBN 9780191614910