Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Going Green During the Holidays

We liked this post so much last year, we decided to re-post it this year! -Ed.

by Phillip Dockery
ASID Student Member. Design Institute San Diego

In today’s eco-conscious society, many of us struggle with how to be good stewards to the planet while still maintaining our quality of life. This dilemma can be especially apparent during the holiday season. Let’s face it; many of our most cherished traditions can wreak havoc on the environment. A great example of this is the use of Christmas trees. Most San Diegans who take part in this tradition are familiar with two options: they can display an artificial tree that might be made of PVC, contain lead and be imported from China, or they can choose a live, fresh-cut tree that could be imported from Oregon and will decompose and produce off-gassing. Now I will confess that these are extreme worst case scenarios, and that each of these choices does have environmentally-conscious options, but I would like to take this opportunity to shine an Energy Star compact fluorescent light on the third, less-known option of live potted trees.

A live potted tree is exactly what it sounds like. It is a tree with a completely intact root system, allowing you to transplant the tree into the ground once the holiday has passed to be admired for generations to come. Not only would the tree add aesthetic value, but trees in general offer advantages such as producing oxygen, removing Carbon dioxide from the air, fighting soil erosion, and cooling by offering shade.

For those who live in an apartment or condo, please don’t be deterred. If you don’t have a place to plant your trees once the holidays are over, you still have options. Trees make a wonderful gift. You can give your tree to a friend, church, school or to one of our numerous parks located throughout the County. Christine McDonnell, owner of Adopt A Christmas Tree, says that for the price of the tree her company will not only have two singing elves deliver the tree, but will have it picked up after the Holiday and donated to a needy organization if you do not have means or want to plant it yourself.

Other great local businesses which offer living potted Christmas trees are the Family Christmas Tree Farm located in El Cajon, and Pine Tree Acres located in Ramona. Each of these three businesses offer a variety of native California species at a variety of sizes and prices, making it easy for you and your family to start a new holiday tradition that will add as much beauty to the world after the holidays as it did to your home during them.