Classroom Discussion: Buy a Live Christmas Tree or an Artificial One?

Know your trees: Images of a Douglas Fir, Eastern Red Cedar, Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, Norway Spruce, Scotch Pine, Virginia Pine and White SpruceGet a real tree this holiday season. Buy it or cut it yourself at a tree farm. Either way, you will be helping the environment.

Surprised? Most people think it’s bad to cut a live holiday tree. Instead, they buy an artificial tree made of plastic or other synthetic material. Because they reuse this artificial tree year after year, they think they are saving real trees. Farmers plant Christmas trees in rows just as if they were corn.

But not so. Farmers grow trees especially for the holidays. They plant huge tracts of land in beautiful noble pines, Douglas firs, blue spruce, and other favorites. It may take 8 to 12 years to grow a good sized tree. But during that time, the tree is taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. It is cleaning the air and helping global warming. If people didn’t buy the cut trees, the farmers wouldn’t plant them.

When you are done with your holiday tree, you can recycle it. Most cities have programs to pick up your holiday tree and grind it up into mulch. Then it is spread back onto the land to help grow something else-or more trees.

No matter how many years you reuse an artificial tree, someday it will get thrown away and end up in a landfill for the next 1000 years!

So, help save Earth. Chop down a tree!

Let us know what you or your students think by adding a comment to this post.

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