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(Kennebec Journal)   Real Christmas tree vs. a fake one. For those that pick fake to be environmentally friendly, you're barking up the wrong tree   (kjonline.com) divider line 139
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7374 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Dec 2012 at 8:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-16 01:33:33 PM  
I environmentally go out with a bow saw and cut the top 8 feet off a healthy 25 ft tree.

Best bit is, if you get it in the week before Christmas, not a single needle drops before it is chopped up for kindling on the 5th of January...
 
2012-12-16 01:46:37 PM  

weapon13: abhorrent1: I don't pick fake to be environmentally friendly. I pick fake so I don't have to go out and buy one every year and clean up the mess.

Exactly.


Not to mention the fire hazard of stringing electrical wires all over a dead pine tree.
 
2012-12-16 01:52:18 PM  

senoy: I think the real lesson to be learned is that essentially people like to argue-- especially internet people. Is there a more inane topic than real vs. artificial Christmas trees? Reading these comments is like bizzaro world to me. Do you people really care that much or do you just want to say something? We've already diverged into religion and how holiday traditions are stupid. Wow, it just blows my mind. For the record, we have a live tree. My boys like to cut it down, the cat likes to climb it, the dog likes to drink the water, I like the smell and my wife likes the fact that it forces me to take down the decorations before February. My parents have artificial. It's easy, it looks good. It always fits their space. It leaves no mess and they don't have to worry about watering it. It's all good.


farm3.staticflickr.com
 
2012-12-16 02:01:01 PM  

Smackledorfer: kaseyfarksdaladies: Real or fake, it's a stupid tradition.

Decorating anything for any reason is stupid. fark aesthetics, am I right?


Well, there ought to be ways to decorate that don't involve gratuitous plant mutilation.
Just look at Halloween: harvest a pumpkin, grab a big knife. carve scary faces into it. Scoop out its guts. Put FIRE inside! Seems a little silly to me.
 
2012-12-16 02:18:24 PM  

MoparPower: Gortex: TFA was actually an interesting read. Where I'm from, (Nova Scotia), shipping Xmas trees to the US is a fairly big industry.

Red spruce is the only real Xmas tree!

Well I guess if that's all you can get it's close enough. Norway Spruce FTW.


Both wrong. Noble FirTW
 
2012-12-16 02:18:54 PM  
People pick fake trees because they're cheaper (over time) and less messy. It has absolutely nothing to do with being "environmentally friendly."

/real trees ftw
 
2012-12-16 02:44:11 PM  

dready zim: I environmentally go out with a bow saw and cut the top 8 feet off a healthy 25 ft tree.


really? every time i try this i find the tops have become pruned and straggly and very bent to the sun...

abhorrent1: Kimpak: Christmas tree bags. Check them out. .....
Still an all around pain in the ass. Drive to the lot, pick one, strap it to your car. drag it in the house etc. etc.... Plus having to spend $50 or more every year.
Got my fake one about 10 years ago for like $99. No annual cost and it takes me about 30 second to go out to the garage and get it when it's time to put it up.


...
We take a bow saw, wander into the bush and hike till we find a good looking tree. Then we cut it down, drag it out, toss it in the back of the truck and drive home. Black spruce works good (looses lots of needles) but my favorite is Balsam fir. Total cost: 0 dollars and 0 cents. And its Christmas tradition. We do it every year. Buying a tree - real or fake - is for chumps.

Drasancas: ... and then the CO2 is released again when the tree rots/burns. Or are you one of those people who keeps the tree alive and growing perpetually, for each tree for every year you get one?
The process that removes CO2 from the air and keeps it out is the one that produces petroleum/coal. Trees will lock it into solid form while they're alive.
... but to grow a tree, and then toss it out doesn't accomplish anything.


QFT. Thats not what happens. Growing trees absolutely forms a carbon sink. The CO2 takes allot longer to be released than it does to get absorbed and the plant itself is incredibly beneficial to the land it grows on. You are being incredibly disingenuous by claiming only petrification can sequester carbon.

Soil is capable of (and benefits from) containing huge amounts of carbon. Thing is most of the carbon in the dirt is unusable. You can increase the useable carbon by altering the chemistry of the soil (expensive and tough) or adding organic matter (cheap and relatively easy) --- fark -- im not going to write out the entire carbon cycle for you.

Trees grow and die just like any other plant we harvest. Nature is not fragile, its shockingly tough.
 
2012-12-16 02:45:36 PM  
Real only here. We go to a local tree farm guy. Pick one out, he cuts it off. $6/foot, so a 6 foot, perfectly formed tree is only $36.
And as it is absolutely fresh, it drops almost zero needles. Couple years ago, we put it outside and decorated it for Valentines Day.

Fake trees just look...fake. Sorry.
 
2012-12-16 02:54:25 PM  
I've never had a Christmas tree my entire life. When I was a kid, my mom used to hide the presents around the house on christmas eve while we were asleep and we had to wake up and race around and find them.

500 times more fun than a dumbass christmas tree with presents underneath. We were also told there was no santa claus from the age of 3 onward and the Real Meaning of Christmas TM, instead.
 
2012-12-16 03:00:20 PM  
Real tree: Grown on a farm, sprayed with fertilizers and pesticides, cut down and transported using car/truck that burned up a tonne of gasoline, stuck in someone's home for 2 months at most, fire hazard that gets sap all over everything, then is transported again using car/truck and fossil fuels, then releases the carbon when it rots/burns (mulcher uses gasoline too) every single year, unless you have the land/resources to keep its root ball on and plant it.

Fake tree: Lasts 20+ years, get from box in the basement/attic, vacuum up the odd green fleck, fire-resistant, ours is old and probably has lead, put back in box for next year, pretty sure that at least the metal inside could be recycled when my grandchildren wear it out someday.

I think in this case the pros of the fake tree outweighs the cons of a real tree.

This is not a stupid debate, its a good exercise in understanding what to analyze when someone claims something is 'better for the environment' and not some greenwashing marketing bs.
 
2012-12-16 03:02:34 PM  
I like artificial because:
1. easy setup
2. easy take down
3. no pitch mess
4. don't have to shop for one each year
5. NO BUGS RIDE IN WITH IT
6. don't have to water it
7. lights already strung

My gift to the environment: no mountain of baby diapers
 
2012-12-16 03:16:19 PM  

Chelle82: The only thing weirder than dragging a dying tree into your living room and worshipping it for several weeks is dragging a fake dying tree into your living room and worshipping it.

Plus I like the smell.


Tonight you will be visited by three spirits...
 
2012-12-16 03:18:37 PM  
My family always go real and at the end of the season, we haul it to the local boy scout troop where they recycle it. We never did like the fake ones.

One of the huge advantages I see with going real rather than fake is the variety of tree species you can select with real ones. When you buy a fake one, it's the same tree over and over again throughout the year. This year the family went with a blue spruce, and last year it was a noble fir. There is also even more species variety out there when selecting your tree to cut. Granted yes it all boils down to aesthetics but I like choice and picking out the tree my family will enjoy this year.

Next year I I'm thinking Turkish Fir.
 
2012-12-16 03:25:52 PM  
My mom swapped from real to fake trees probably 8 to 10 years ago because there were a few years in a row where it was a giant pain to find a tree that was between 7 and 9 feet tall that had lots of nice straight branches (as opposed to ones pointing up like.. I think Douglass Fir?) and lots of room between said branches. She has a huge collection of glass ornaments and wants to be able to display them -- fake trees don't fight back if you decide a branch should be pointing a slightly different direction. I still think we should buy a natural wreath or something and put it somewhere in the room to give off the nice tree smell though. Theoretically they're getting a new one that's pre-lit for next year.
 
2012-12-16 03:26:52 PM  

nickerj1: I've never had a Christmas tree my entire life. When I was a kid, my mom used to hide the presents around the house on christmas eve while we were asleep and we had to wake up and race around and find them.

500 times more fun than a dumbass christmas tree with presents underneath. We were also told there was no santa claus from the age of 3 onward and the Real Meaning of Christmas TM, instead.


That sounds like a nice version of the holiday, but I don't get the hostility towards "dumbass" trees. Whatev
 
2012-12-16 03:35:48 PM  

SinisterDexter: KarmicDisaster: we use one of those Charlie Brown trees.

real or fake?


Ok, you got me, it is fake. However it does contain only one ornament and has probably 1/1000 the material of a "real fake" tree. It is the sincere "before fix up" version.
 
2012-12-16 04:24:55 PM  

Rich Cream: Not friendly to environment but friendly to the living tree. That tree has been growing for over ten years just so you can cut it down, decorate it's carcass and pretend you have a functional family for a couple weeks.


this!
 
2012-12-16 04:40:07 PM  

elleeffe: Rich Cream: Not friendly to environment but friendly to the living tree. That tree has been growing for over ten years just so you can cut it down, decorate it's carcass and pretend you have a functional family for a couple weeks.

this!


Trees die. They dont experience pain... You know it took months for those tomatoes on your sandwich to grow... And it took the better part of a summer for an entire field of grain to grow...

Properly harvested trees are no different than any other plant.
 
2012-12-16 04:46:24 PM  

mikefinch: They dont experience pain



They react to harm. How is that different?
 
2012-12-16 05:14:50 PM  

mikefinch: Trees die. They dont experience pain... You know it took months for those tomatoes on your sandwich to grow... And it took the better part of a summer for an entire field of grain to grow...


I don't really have a point here, but you reminded me of episode 7 of Long Way 'Round (Road of Bones). Ewan McGregor was expressing "disgust" at the truckers who stopped to shoot a black bear. (The pelt was worth a fair bit; the meat was abandoned. For some reason, they mentioned the meat was poisonous? That bit didn't make sense.) Because, you know, it's a bear and... well... because.

Not two minutes later, Ewan insisted upon hacking down a tree by hand to fill a sinkhole in the road... for the experience of doing it.

I know. Bear tree, but it struck me as a sort of hypocrisy all the same.
 
2012-12-16 05:16:39 PM  

MooseUpNorth: I know. Bear != tree, but it struck me as a sort of hypocrisy all the same.


/ FTFM.
 
2012-12-16 05:47:34 PM  

MooseUpNorth: (The pelt was worth a fair bit; the meat was abandoned. For some reason, they mentioned the meat was poisonous? That bit didn't make sense.)


Bear meat isn't poisonous but it is pretty unpalatable to allot of people. The only people i know who eat it are really old native dudes living on the res.
 
2012-12-16 05:52:40 PM  

mikefinch: MooseUpNorth: (The pelt was worth a fair bit; the meat was abandoned. For some reason, they mentioned the meat was poisonous? That bit didn't make sense.)

Bear meat isn't poisonous but it is pretty unpalatable to allot of people. The only people i know who eat it are really old native dudes living on the res.


'Poisonous' was a direct quote from the show, though. (Although it could have been a problem in translation.)
 
2012-12-16 07:37:52 PM  
I have a 20 foot Scot's pine in front of my house. I have to prune it regularly. I do so in mid-December and festoon my mantel with the trimmings, adding "Candela" battery operated candles and a few old ornaments that escaped the great FSM purge of 2010. Then, in mid-January, said trimmings go out in the compost bin.
 
2012-12-16 08:55:47 PM  
Actual footage of a Christmas tree that was too dry....

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-12-16 11:06:06 PM  
Subby Troll score = 9/10
 
2012-12-17 12:47:07 AM  
Convert to Judaism, then you only have to burn 2 candles a week and a menorah in an 8 day period. It's environmentally friendlier than cutting down a tree or dealing with the industrial process of plastic trees.
 
2012-12-17 10:21:11 AM  
The fake tree with the lights built into it is Santa's greatest invention. I hate stringing lights on a tree.
 
2012-12-17 10:23:47 AM  

Hermione_Granger: I disagree. My mom bought a fake tree when I turned 15. She used that tree for years until I moved back home. Then we used my fake tree which I bought when my daughter was 5 and we still use now she's 20. My mom's old tree is in use at church every winter to hold hat, glove and scarf donations. Two fake trees with well over 30 years use between them and will probably be used for decades more. How is this enviornmentally unfriendly?


Because, to remain under their control, the snake-oil salesmen need you to remain in a state of panic, even after the previous problems are solved. AGW is the perfect means of doing this, as by redefining carbon dioxide and natural gas from "environmentally safe alternatives" to "earth-killing toxins" and back again, they can keep people paying for the privilege of chasing after the Carrot That Will Save The World forever.
 
2012-12-17 10:26:44 AM  

mike_d85: You mean that 8-foot tall, 4 time use piece of metal and plastic isn't environmentally freindly?

I thought not planting hundreds of pine trees that would grow faster because of their youth and absorb significant amounts of carbon from the air was a good thing.


Oddly enough I've only ever seen one Christmas tree, because my parents have had the same one for about 40 years.
 
2012-12-17 10:43:53 AM  

MooseUpNorth: mikefinch: MooseUpNorth: (The pelt was worth a fair bit; the meat was abandoned. For some reason, they mentioned the meat was poisonous? That bit didn't make sense.)

Bear meat isn't poisonous but it is pretty unpalatable to allot of people. The only people i know who eat it are really old native dudes living on the res.

'Poisonous' was a direct quote from the show, though. (Although it could have been a problem in translation.)


Wild omnivore meat is much more likely to be toxic, even after being cooked, than wild predator meat, which in turn is more likely to be toxic than wild herbivore/insectivore meat. It's pretty well-known that the higher up on the food chain you get your meat, the more toxic the meat is likely to be, because toxins eaten by one creature linger and are gathered and concentrated in the bodies of the creatures that manage to kill and eat them.

It's a discrete random chance, though. It's not a matter of "bear meat is 40% toxic, so you get 40% sicker every time you eat it." Instead, it's "40% of bears have toxic meat, so you might get sick and die with the first one you eat, or you might eat dozens and never get sick, but the more you eat, the more likely you will get sick from it."

/and, like The Devil's Drinking Game, there's no guarantee the toxin will take effect right away
//only way to reduce your chances of getting poisoned to acceptably close to zero is to carefully manage the entire food chain up to the stage you harvest
 
2012-12-17 10:44:18 AM  

Nuclear Monk: I'm watching my decorated real tree not take up any water, so I'm getting a real kick....from the anticipation of the huge bonfire that will be my living room in a week or so.


Try using metal foil and hanging ornaments instead of electric lights and stuff that produces heat.
 
2012-12-17 12:10:23 PM  
Came for the fire references and will leave satisfied. Gather 'round, let's all hear a cool story (bro) from Uncle Earl on the subject of live Christmas trees.

About 8 years ago, when the Green's had just moved into their current house, Mrs. Green and I set up our usual Christmas display for the young'ins. Nothing too elaborate, nothing outside, just tasteful and reserved with the pine scent of our real tree filling the air with holiday joy. A lovely Christmas was had by all. Uncle Earl even got what he wanted that year, a new fire pit to enjoy our new big backyard. So come early January, it seemed like a good idea to test the fire pit for functionality. And what better way to test it than with 1 used Christmas tree? So off we went into the big backyard with the former centerpiece of our Christmas Day. Fortunately for all involved, your Uncle Earl had enough caution to place the fire pit about 80 feet from any structure. The tree, after shedding needles throughout the house on the way out, was lovingly placed in the rust-free fire pit and Uncle Earl delicately touched ONE pine needle with a lighted cigarette. Within 15 seconds, the tree had become fully engulfed (featuring a mini mushroom cloud). 5 seconds later, flaming pine needles began ascending into the air and landing, still burning, wherever the wind took them (the ground was snow-covered that day, which made it just a demonstration instead of an accident). 35 seconds in, the fire was so hot that it was unapproachable. 5 minutes in, everything was ashes. 20 minutes earlier, that thing had been in our living room (yeah, in water). The Green's have now gone artificial with the bonus of storing it fully decorated for easy assembly the following year.

You're welcome bro, I know it's a cool story.

Live trees are a ridiculous fire trap that leave you lucky if you found the cats before you had to evacuate.
 
2012-12-17 01:26:38 PM  
Fake. Pretty much what everyone else has said is great about going fake. The big plus is we can put it up on Thanksgiving weekend and take it down whenever we feel like after Christmas without worrying our house will catch on fire. The tree we have was inherited from the MIL and is probably over 15 years old. It was a pre-lit, but the wires have since gone bad. Each year I consider buying a new one with more realistic branches and LED lights, but there's no extensive warranty that will guarantee I wont have to string up lights on it after the wiring goes bad. So we just keep the old one. I'm considering just removing the old lights since they can get in the way.

The wife is all for the fake and only wishes for the smell a real one puts out. That's fixed with a scented candle or the scented "smoke" fluid for the train.

/Would love to meet a fireman that has a real Christmas tree in their house.
 
2012-12-17 04:17:50 PM  

Tatterdemalian: MooseUpNorth: mikefinch: MooseUpNorth: (The pelt was worth a fair bit; the meat was abandoned. For some reason, they mentioned the meat was poisonous? That bit didn't make sense.)

Bear meat isn't poisonous but it is pretty unpalatable to allot of people. The only people i know who eat it are really old native dudes living on the res.

'Poisonous' was a direct quote from the show, though. (Although it could have been a problem in translation.)

Wild omnivore meat is much more likely to be toxic, even after being cooked, than wild predator meat, which in turn is more likely to be toxic than wild herbivore/insectivore meat. It's pretty well-known that the higher up on the food chain you get your meat, the more toxic the meat is likely to be, because toxins eaten by one creature linger and are gathered and concentrated in the bodies of the creatures that manage to kill and eat them.

It's a discrete random chance, though. It's not a matter of "bear meat is 40% toxic, so you get 40% sicker every time you eat it." Instead, it's "40% of bears have toxic meat, so you might get sick and die with the first one you eat, or you might eat dozens and never get sick, but the more you eat, the more likely you will get sick from it."

/and, like The Devil's Drinking Game, there's no guarantee the toxin will take effect right away
//only way to reduce your chances of getting poisoned to acceptably close to zero is to carefully manage the entire food chain up to the stage you harvest


Interesting. Why is omnivore worse than carnivore though?
 
2012-12-17 05:07:15 PM  

Tatterdemalian: Wild omnivore meat is much more likely to be toxic[...]


That makes sense. I'd forgotten the omnivore angle.

Smackledorfer: Interesting. Why is omnivore worse than carnivore though?


I'm guessing more distinct sources of food means more distinct vectors for disease/parasite propagation. I'd also hazard the guess that since black bears scavenge, they're exposed to whatever it was that killed their meal. If there's a parasite particularly rampant in the Russian far east, black bears would almost certainly among the carriers.
 
2012-12-17 05:28:38 PM  

MooseUpNorth: I'd also hazard the guess that since black bears scavenge, they're exposed to whatever it was that killed their meal.


Black bears will eat terrible things. An empty jerry can for instance because it smelled like gasoline... Or anything rotten -- Like a rank beaver thats been dead for a week. Or just anything even slightly smelling interesting. Like shaving cream.
 
2012-12-17 05:30:55 PM  

Smackledorfer: Interesting. Why is omnivore worse than carnivore though?


Because the key factor in changing the odds of absorbing and building up a concentration of toxins is to have a widely varied diet that involves consuming a variety of other life forms. Herbivore prey is sessile, causing herbovores to develop instincts to prefer to browse plants in one fixed locality, reducing their odds of exposure to toxins unless some natural disaster or change in vegetable migratory barriers happens to dump a pile on their pasture that the plants somehow absorb. Carnivores, on the other hand, have to run down and kill unwilling prey, forcing them to be nomadic and less picky about what they prey on, as well as operationg on a higher tier of the food chain. Omnivores get the worst of both cases when their diet isn't carefully managed, and thus the highest chance that something in the chain of prey contained an accumulation of lead, arsenic, or mercury that they build up in turn.

In short, when it comes to the nastier toxins, you not only are what you eat, you are everything anything you ate ever ate. This even affects insects, though their degree of evolutionary specialization lets some use this to their advantage, like how monarch butterflies store up the toxin they absorb from mulberry leaves they eat as caterpillars, rendering them lethally poisonous and generally resistant to predation in spite of their lack of camoflage.

/and this is also the reason omnivorous diets are pretty strongly selected against in nature, in spite of their apparent advantages
//lucky for us we have really big livers, relative to our body mass
 
2012-12-18 12:22:54 AM  
Thanks.

I knew about the build up and all, I'd just never read that omnivores are the worst. Guess I should stop canabilism from now on. For my health.
 
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