Are yours real or fake?

Your Christmas Trees, of course!

I know I’m probably a little late this year for most of you, but here’s something for you to think on for next year. Real or artificial?

You might think artificial is better. The tree looks perfect every year, you can use it for years and years, so in the end it’s cheaper, there’s no needles to clean up and it doesn’t need to be watered. Plus you saved a tree from being cut down so it’s better for the environment, right?


Artificial trees are made out of plastic. So the fact that you can use it year after year also means it will be around for years and years, like hundreds of years. Eventually that artificial tree will end up in a landfill where it will biodegrade at a rate pretty close to zilch.

Another wonderful thing that plastic trees can do for you…off-gas. Have you ever noticed how something new and plastic smells plasticy? That’s because it’s giving off chemicals and you’re breathing them in. We already get enough toxins from other sources, we don’t need to add another.

Real Christmas trees are grown on farms. And sure you’re cutting down a tree, but that tree farmer is going to make sure another tree gets planted in it’s place because that’s their source of income. Plus if you happen to live in Nova Scotia, we have a huge Christmas tree industry and you’d be buying local! Everyone wants to buy local these days.

So what if you already have an artificial tree? Well, if it’s likely to end up in a landfill anyway you might as well do your body a favour and send it there now. There’s not much you can do about the landfill bit after it’s been bought (is there a market for second hand artificial trees?), but at least spare yourself some chemicals.

Our very real Christmas tree

We had a fantastic day going to a u-cut and chopping down our own tree. I hope it becomes a yearly tradition, and that you think about starting this tradition too.

PS I know some people are allergic to real trees, but you can always have a fun alternative like a deciduous tree!

Oh Canada, more like Oh, how embarrassing

There’s a new round of climate talks taking place in South Africa. A bit of a surprise yesterday when China called for a binding agreement. Let’s let that sink in for a mintue.


China wants binding emissions targets. What does Canada want? To stick it’s head in the sand, the Tar Sands to be precise.

Last week’s Quirks and Quarks had a segment on the talks in Durban and a little recap about how we’re all doing with Kyoto. Did you know Canada’s emissions rose by 17% from 1990 levels (the 1990 levels were the baseline for Kyoto, we were actually supposed to decrease from that)? Did you know the US only went up 7%? Yup, we’re worse than the US. We’re basically the worst climate offender in the world.

Overall developed countries actually did decrease their emissions, mostly due to European counties. This was partly due to the economic downturn but Germany seems to be doing OK and also lowering it’s emissions, caused in a large part to government initiatives.

So Canada failed Kyoto and now it’s poo-pooing on the very thought of a new agreement. It’s past whines include “The US isn’t doing it, why do I have to?”. Basically Canada says some of the largest emitters (US, China, Brazil) aren’t covered by Kyoto so it’s useless. Right, because we wouldn’t want Canada to set a progressive example, or do our part to reduce global emission anyway, maybe just because it’s the right thing to do. And now China’s on board and Canada still poo-poos it!

All the Canadian government wants is to work the Tar Sands for all they’re worth and leave the rest of the world with the consequences. We all knew this going into the last elections and yet we still gave Harper a majority government. So shame on Harper for not recognizing what climate change really means, but also shame on Canadian voters for doing the exact same thing. Get informed.