AYAN RAHMAN ’20
It’s finally December, the perfect time and temperature for delicious hot chocolate,fur coats, boots, and all things winter. Some people are starting to put up the lights and decorations to commemorate the upcoming holidays and a pine tree may be one of the decorations on their lists. Erica Moon ‘20, smiled as she stated that she was excited to “put up a real tree because my [her] family loves the scent.”
However, many people are starting to consider the environmental consequences of getting a real tree. A common misconception is that real trees would be worse for the environment. In fact, buying a natural tree, may offer even more benefits that simply the smell.
According to Ms. Alberga, an enthusiastic Living Environment teacher, she grew up with a mix of artificial trees and natural trees. She prefers naturals, however, and this is because she knows that artificial trees are bad for the environment in that they are a huge source of resource depletion, are a cause of climate change, and ultimately aren’t even biodegradable. About 85 percent of fake trees are made by PVC and shipped overseas from places like China. PVC is a material that cannot be recycled. This coupled with it being shipped from far away places adds to a person’s carbon footprint.
Interestingly, trees cut for the holiday season are grown to be cut. Deforestation disrupts natural ecosystems. However, many trees that are grown for the holiday season are farmed for that specific purpose. They are not taken from natural environments, but rather grown in isolated sections.
Another benefit of natural trees is that they are organic, so they can decompose and provide mulch and habitats for decomposers. The plastic trees are not biodegradable, so they would pile up as wastes, unable to be reused or disposed of. And since one cannot really do anything to them besides dispose them when they are no longer in need of them, they would end up in landfills unable to be eradicated. With real trees however, it is possible to compost them, and in return receive free mulch!
The holidays are approaching quickly, so be sure to encourage your family to make a more environmentally conscious decision and have a safe and healthy vacation!