Thursday, December 15, 2011

This is the first blog post from our Centerville High School Intern, Erica Coulter. We are lucky to have Erica, in addition to two other interns, join us throughout the week at CEC. The interns are a fantastic help and donate an average of 11.5 hours per week of their time!

A Tree-rific Holiday
By: Erica Coulter

The smell of fresh pine and the look of a twinkling masterpiece entices many of us to purchase a tree for our homes during the holidays. However, there are many options when it comes to choosing your perfect plant and the burden of this decision can weigh on those who have the environment in mind. So, which version of this holiday classic is best: the fresh-from-the-farm option or a pre-lit one from the store?

At first thought, you may agree that a fresh tree is the way to go. This version provides oxygen to us humans, homes for wildlife, and can be recycled when the holiday season ends. Also, most fresh trees are grown on tree farms and therefore are sustainable. They are planted every year, take about 4-5 years to reach maturity, and once they are chopped down, they are replaced with future Christmas trees.

Others consider artificial trees to be the better route to take. These trees can be reused every year and they do not require the water that fresh trees do. This, along with the fact that they are slightly easier to assemble, sells them to many people. However, many believe that the material of which they are made outweighs their set-up ease. Petroleum, a non-renewable resource, is the main ingredient when producing these trees and production often occurs in countries where environmental laws are not as strict; therefore the air and water suffer heavy pollution. Again, though there are negatives with this choice, the re-usability of this tree is a major plus.

So which do we choose? Well, the only sure-fire way we can promote sustainability is in how we dispose of them. Real trees are recyclable and the Cope Environmental Center can help with Christmas tree collection. Your tree can be given a second life and give back to Mother Nature as mulch on our trails. For more information, go to our website, or call (765) 855-3188. If, however, you have chosen an artificial tree, the most important thing is that you do not dispose of it too frequently. Often these types of trees are used for an average of 5 years and then they find their way to the landfill. Try to beat this average and simply decorate yours in a fresh way each year.

Whichever type of tree you choose, there is always an easy way to promote sustainability. Now, with these DOable tips in mind, you can make the decision that fits you best. Happy choosing!

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