Consider alternatives to evergreens this Christmas

Christmas is coming, time to start thinking about lights, decorations and, yes, trees.

Cutting down evergreens is a Christmas tradition dating back to the 16th century. Now I know we are all a little weary of having our traditions discouraged in this new era of “cancel culture”, but this one needs serious consideration. Our Municipality as well as many around the world have acknowledged that we are in a Climate Emergency.

There are many factors contributing to the existing climate, but trees are an integral part of our pathway for regeneration: they store carbon, they provide shelter for wildlife, and contribute to healthy soils.

Some will point out that Christmas trees are “farmed” with replanting done every year, but consider that Christmas tree farms are a monocrop, they don’t offer any biodiversity, and are cut down just when they really start making an impact on our climate and surrounding wildlife. This Christmas consider the alternatives rather than cutting down a tree or buying a cut tree. While purchasing a plastic tree isn’t the best solution, if stored and appreciated it can last a lifetime.

How about decorating an evergreen outside that is living, visit it, sing carols, and know that tree will feel the vibrations of your voice and be around for future years to come? Or if you do continue to have a cut tree in your living room, consider ordering and replanting evergreens (Lower Trent Conservation has a tree sale every spring).

Even if you don’t have land to plant on, there are lots of tree planting initiatives to get involved in. It’s time to put down the axe, and take a deep breath: provided by trees.

Mike Barnes