The Great Debate Opinion Head To Head
The question has been pondered upon for years, with an even split on both sides and The Lance staff is no different. News Editor Alex Denonville and Editor-in-Chief Jolene Perron have decided to go head-to-head in their opinion pieces this week and have invited readers to go to their website to cast their vote after informing themselves through these two pieces.
The question hinders, which is better: Real Christmas Trees or Artificial Christmas Trees? Visit our home page to answer the poll question!
by Alex Denonville
There’s nothing like a cheery holiday living room with the scent of coniferous wafting through the air. Trees are the centerpieces of our holidays. They stand guard over our gifts, host the ornaments we’ve collected over the years, and offer a twinkling spectacle to enjoy.
Surely, a fake tree and a real tree can both accomplish those cursory tasks, but to say those plastic monstrosities are of equal greatness to their natural counterparts is a surefire way to get onto Santa’s naughty list. Here’s why.
We already spend much of our consumer lives seeking authenticity. Authenticity, an elusive target, urges us to find goods that are closest to the “real” thing, unmediated by the powers of mass marketing, industrial production and the inescapable grasp of sweatshops and factories around the world.
French philosopher Jean Baudrillard spoke of this process of simulation, whereby mass produced items seek to first mirror their natural counterparts, then replace them completely. Imagine the dystopian future whereby children only know the boxed “tree” they unpack every year, and not the natural plant which it mimics.
Real Christmas trees give us that rare opportunity to attain authenticity, to reconnect not with a simulated image or representation, but the real thing.
Now while that may seem a tad philosophical for some, there are also some very practical reasons to seek the real thing.
Given the growing concern over climate change, buying a real tree is the green option. Accounting for the necessary extraction and refinement of petroleum to create these plastic abominations, plus the oil-fueled trip they must make from their overseas manufacturers to our homes, it’s a lot better to buy real.
Sure, some say fake trees are better for the environment because they can be used for more than a single year, but the carbon footprint of a mass-produced plastic tree clearly outweighs the impact of growing and transporting real trees. The multi-year growing cycle of our real trees actually soak up carbon dioxide, plus they don’t spend the next hundred years in a landfill.
If you’re not keen on cutting down a living creature, there are now options to rent potted trees, which are then replanted. Renting also takes care of the cost argument often used to justify fake trees.
Finally, this whole debate can’t miss the tradition of picking a real tree.
I can fondly recall visiting the tree lot with my family, scouring through trees to find the perfect fit. No two are the same, and the joy of finding “our” tree brought an adventure-like feel to the trip. The tradition of picking a tree from the lot, or heading out to the county to cut one down, brings us together as families. It can be a calm precursor to the holiday festivities which can often overwhelm.
The idea of grabbing the same box from Wal Mart shelves as a thousand other people before you pales in comparison to that journey to find your unique family tree.
In the end, having a real tree or a fake tree isn’t going to make or break your Christmas celebration, but as consumers, we have a choice. My choice will always be the real tree, as it celebrates authenticity, is better for the environment, and offers a tangible way for families to connect in tradition.
|Artificial Christmas Trees:
Because Christmas and Spiderwebs Don’t Go Together by Jolene Perron
The Lance – Editor-in-Chief
Christmas trees are at the heart of absolutely every Christmas celebration. They stand tall in the corner of our living rooms, of our apartments and from them hang the most special ornaments lit up by an array of Christmas lights and shimmering next to our garland and tinsel.
Artificial Christmas trees are just simply the way to go – they’re simply the better choice at Christmas time when it comes to the environment, your health, safety and for those who fear the creepy critters. Allow me to explain.
With our carbon footprint already being as large as it is, why would the first thing on your mind at Christmas time be to cut down yet another tree?
Since trees are farmed as agricultural products, typically they require many applications of pesticides over their lifespan. So not only have we cut down a source of our oxygen, but we’ve also been using all kinds of chemicals to grow these enormous Christmas trees in a quick manner so they can be displayed for a mere month in our homes – and for some families, perhaps less time.
Home Depot sells artificial Christmas Trees of all sizes, from two feet tall, to a ten foot monster, in all kinds of shapes, colors and fullness. You can buy yourself an artificial Christmas tree for as low as $10 and use that same tree for 10 plus years in your home. You can even buy pre-lit Christmas trees to save you all the hassle of wrapping the lights around the tree. Let’s face it, it’s more fun to put those pretty Christmas ornaments on the tree anyways – lights are a tangled mess.
Speaking of lights, has anyone ever taken in to consideration the fire hazards of real Christmas trees? I’m betting a crackling fire isn’t exactly the present you hoped to find under your Christmas tree. When your real tree is cut down and brought in to your home, it begins to dry out, and when you put your lights on your tree – which emit all kinds of heat and can cause all sorts of electrical hazards – it’s the perfect storm for the opposite of your ideal white Christmas.
Between 2007 and 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 230 home fires that begun with Christmas trees – per year. These fires caused, annually, six deaths, 22 injuries and over $18 million in property damage.
So now that beautiful fragrant Christmas tree has not only cost you, on average, $100 – $200, but has now cost you thousands and could possible cost you your life.