Monday, December 10, 2007

Carbon footprint Christmas

Thanks to Noble Peace Prize Winner-Al Gore and his lovely slide show, I have been thinking a lot more this year about the impact of Christmas festivities on the Earth's atmosphere.

While I switched to another CFL bulb (we have 6 now), my local Smith's was all out of LED lights for the Christmas tree. Using 80% less energy AND looking better than incandescent bulbs? You can't beat that. I will have to plan ahead next year.

Its cold outside and people want to feel cozy, so they light fires, usually with wood this time of year. More CO2 out the chimny. I have one of those long burning logs, which I hope is better than a real log.

Friends of mine have a plastic tree and are quite "green." I asked them, is it better to own a fake tree or to chop down a real one year after year? No one knew, but clearly the ratio was not 1:1, meaning, you would have to stick with your plastic tree for a number of years before it would be worth it. Does anyone out there know?

And don't forget all of the presents and wrapping paper. I try to reuse boxes and paper bags when gifting. The main reason I do so is that I can't wrap a cube nicely to save my life, the other is the waste. Presents themselves are flown in from China or further away, along with all of the plastic packaging.

Then of course, there is all the driving around mailing and buying gifts...and then returning many of them after Christmas. Even if you aren't Christian, you still get sucked into this consumption bonaza.

Some carbon impacts I am very happy about. My sister and her boyfriend are coming home for Christmas, and we have many family festivities to attend. I wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas (religious or secular) and a Happy New Year.


Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen said...

I like to give gifts that have multiple levels -- last Christmas we gave CFL bulbs to all the adults on our list. Altogether we gave about 60 bulbs, so our gifts helped the environment, educated the recipients (if they didn't already know) about the benfits of CFLs, and saved the recipients some money on their electric bills.

I created a printable gift card that is hosted on a green shopping site called Taraluna. The gift card points out all the benefits of using CFLs:

Misty Fowler said...

As far as the tree thing goes, I decided that this year I would find a live tree that was still actually alive. Meaning it's roots hadn't been chopped off, and were surrounded by nourishing dirt. I planned to plant the tree once it had served it's merry purpose. I envisioned a long tradition of a truly "green" Christmas....

Unfortunately, the only tree I could find was $420, and wasn't anywhere close to looking like a Christmas tree.

So, I wound up buying a live tree that was actually a dead tree that just still looked alive, and promising myself to figure something out so I could have a truly live tree next year, without spending half my Christmas budget on just the tree.

I've often wondered about the carbon footprint of a dead Christmas tree vs a plastic one, too.