The Phoenix Fire

The Troubling Environmental Impacts of a Christmas Tree

Kathryn Hu, Opinion Writer

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Christmas trees, the embodiment of a holly jolly Christmas. Each family has one, whether it be fake or real, decorated with lights and ornaments. But it’s about time we wondered, are these trees really necessary?

Christmas trees are a long standing tradition in countries all across the world that celebrate Christmas. Many feel that it’s the pinnacle part of Christmas with eighth grader Ria Pande saying, “Christmas trees are necessary to carry on the Christmas spirit.” Another example of this undying love for Christmas trees is what student Helena said, “Xmas trees are the pith of Christmas.” It’s clear that Christmas trees are a cherished tradition, but there are some downsides to consider.

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland quoted Professor Skubala of the University of Silesia saying, “Production of a natural Christmas tree generates 3.1 kg of greenhouse gases per year.” But this number pales in comparison to its artificial counterpart, fake Christmas trees, with the number at 8.1 kilograms per tree. The US alone consumes 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees, meaning the amount of greenhouse gas produced in the process would range from 77,500,000 kg to 93,000,000, or 77,500 to 93,000 metric tons. In 2017, 21.1 million artificial trees were sold, making the greenhouse gas byproduct around 17513 metric tons.

Greenhouse gases are the cause of climate change and global warming. Some of these gases are Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, preventing it from leaving the atmosphere. The production of greenhouse gases directly causes climate change, negatively impacting the environment.

But there is an upside to artificial trees, which is that they can be reused. Unlike real trees, artificial trees can be used for a long time, sometimes, up to 12 years. This means that although they are bad for the environment, reusing one for a long period of time is better than buying a real one every year. So in reality, the solution to Christmas trees isn’t hard. Keeping a fake tree for a long period of time will solve the problem, and keep the holiday spirit alive and well.

In conclusion, while purchasing a new Christmas tree every year is harmful, and not having one at all is the best course of action, that would surely kill the holiday spirit. Buying a fake tree and keeping it for many years has small environmental impacts, and allows the spirit to stay alive. But continually purchasing a real tree every year harms the environment and aid in climate change, so the simple solution is to have a fake tree for many years. Buying fake trees for extended periods of time preserves the spirit of the most wonderful time of the year to flourish on, while not actively killing the environment.

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The Troubling Environmental Impacts of a Christmas Tree