Happy Fiberoptic Holidaze
Two years ago, I wanted a fiber optic Christmas tree. I realized that dream at Target. Our fiber optic tree is featured above in this holiday photo.
Here's a video of a fiber optic tree in action.
Until last year, my philosophy regarding Christmas trees was simple: killing trees to decorate their carcasses in your home for 2 weeks is practically a sin. Why kill a tree when you can have a fiber optic one?
Thankfully, I expressed this rationale this to my boss, who set me straight.
My boss, paraphrased:
"Well Marie, cutting down your own tree can be a sustainable choice. Most Christmas trees are harvested from tree farms, and a lot of them are owned by families."
Here's the rationale from Balanced Living Magazine: "These farms plant about two trees for every one cut, and often they use rocky soil that does not support other types of agriculture. This means that instead of barren land, the farm hosts trees that provide oxygen and combat global warming.
However, many of these farms use pesticides to protect the trees from insects and disease. Many of these pesticides contaminate groundwater and harm wildlife. The trees also can pose a danger to your family. According to a study by the Cooperative Extension Service of North Carolina, most Christmas trees are treated with the pesticide chlorpyriforus, a suspected neurotoxin. A cut tree may still be laden with this chemical and others when it reaches your home.
To keep the chemicals out of your house – and the environment – look for an organic tree. Organic Christmas trees are rising in popularity. A search on the website for the non-profit Local Harvest (www.localharvest.org) turns up several online pages of listings for organic and almost-organic tree farms across the U.S. If there is not an organic tree farm near you, ask local growers whether they take steps to reduce chemical inputs.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation recommends artificial trees to sufferers of severe allergies because live trees can harbor pollens and molds. While artificial trees are reusable, they are also made from non-renewable resources such as plastic, steel and aluminum. Once thrown away, your artificial tree will spend centuries in your local landfill. Also, three out of every four artificial trees sold in the U.S. come from factories in China where most workers make only about $125 a month in sweatshop conditions. If you opt for an artificial tree, purchase one made in the U.S. under fair-labor conditions. Christmas Depot (877-ELF-LAND, www.christmasdepot.com) sells trees made in New Jersey under fair conditions.
Use your tree for as many years as you can. Most recycling programs do not accept artificial trees. If you must get rid of it, check with local charities, shelters and churches to see if they need your old tree for the holidays."
Eventually, this little, fiber optic tree will stop working and will find it's place in a landfill, where it will probably never decompose. Until then, I will enjoy it, and do dances to celebrate how cool fiber optics look.
When it comes time to replace it, we'll look for an organic tree.