Field of Science

How green is your evergreen tree?

TPP gets asked all the time about which is better for the environment, a "live" cut tree or an artificial tree for your holiday decorations? When you take the usual case, the answer is pretty simple. First please understand that no one is cutting down a forest anywhere to provide your tree.  They are farmed; they just take 7-10 years for the crop to get to a harvest-able stage. This means that the soil isn't being tilled/disturbed annually, so soil erosion is minimized, and some wildlife can live there too.  You natural tree can be mulched at the end of the season, totally recycled, so long as you don't use the stooopid plastic bags to stop a few needles from dropping on your carpets.  Just sweep them up. 
Most artificial trees are made of materials that are not recyclable, so even when you use such a tree for several seasons, it has a trash/land fill cost. You would probably have to use an artificial tree for 20 years to reduce the cost to a par with a natural tree. In TPP's opinion you can use natural trees with a more or less clear ecological conscience. Of course if you want a shocking pink tree to complement the leg in a net stocking lamp, well, then artificial is the way to go. Of course you could also flock your tree thus turning a natural tree into something nearly artificial. Who knows what that stuff is?
Signs for flocked trees generates some fond memories for TPP of his ancient school days when the assistant principle, a former Marine drill instructor turned punitive educator, used to impose detention upon students he caught cursing.  Now a good malediction is a useful thing for dealing with life's misfortunes and mishaps, particularly the unjust ones, but detention was awful. As bright, young enterprising youth interested in increasing our word power, a search was commenced for obscure words that sounded like swearing, but weren't. They just had to have a certain quality when said a certain way at the right time.  Our favorites were "scud" and "flock".  After being dragged to the Principal's office for saying, FLOCK!, because the contents of your locker spilled out onto the floor between classes.  And when asked about the swearing, you said, you explain "All I said was, flock, a group of sheep". The fun came from the look the Principal gave his Assistant.  
Now what was your question?

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