An acquaintance of mine posted on his blog that Christmas trees are "the veal of forestry." Now, am I missing something, or is this just about the most ridiculous thing you've heard in long while?
First... I love forests. I live in a forest. I support our local anti-logging coalition that is working to protect the hillside and watershed in which I live. I want to maintain the natural environment of the Santa Cruz mountains from over-development. But to come out against Christmas trees? WTF?
Veal, of course, is young beef. The methods of raising veal are often considered cruel and inhumane. Personally, I choose not to eat veal. I'm not a vegetarian, but this is one animal product I opt out of. But that is not the topic of this post.
I assume that the comparison of Christmas trees to veal is to demonstrate how cruel it is cut down baby trees and never give them the opportunity to grow into giant redwoods and firs. In other words; a load of horse shit.
The vast majority of Christmas trees come from Christmas tree farms. These farms are an excellent example of sustainable agriculture. It is no more cruel to cut a five-year-old tree than it is to cut a five-week-old head of lettuce, cut flowers, or cut any other plant product that is cultivated and farmed for human consumption.
In the area where I live, there are many Christmas tree farms. These businesses help to keep this area in open space and out of development. They care for the land, practice good fire and flood prevention, and help prevent the surrounding forest from being clear-cut.
The Christmas tree farms are an important part of the local economy that helps us maintain a sense of "country living" ten minutes outside of Silicon Valley. They are not indiscriminately chopping down old growth trees, or killing the forest in any way, shape, or form.
This is ridiculous that I, a liberal Jew who has never bought a Christmas tree in my life, have to come to the defense of the Christmas tree industry. Seriously, I do not care if you buy a real tree or a plastic one or no tree at all.
But... if you are going to choose a plastic Christmas tree, do it because of the fire danger of keeping a dried-out tree next to your fireplace. Don't choose plastic because you think you're saving the forest. That's just plain silly.