2 November 2021
By Roger Jones
Climate change is a global epidemic, but Christmas tree farmers in Ireland are taking proactive steps to do something about it. Climate change is caused by many things, however, none is greater than human activity. As the need for food, shelter, and other resources has evolved, more and more of the world’s forests were chopped down to accommodate the need. This deforestation has caused many problems, especially since the use of fossil fuels continues to increase.
Fossil fuels are natural fuels that come from underground elements such as coal and gas. Oftentimes, these fossil fuels are found in and sourced from the Middle East. Fossil fuels are used everywhere – especially in Ireland where fossil fuels accounted for 87% of the country’s energy usage in 2019. When fossil fuels are burned to produce heat and power engines, buildings, and other modes of transportation they release carbon dioxide. Once released into the atmosphere, this carbon dioxide needs somewhere to go. That’s where trees come in.
Trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide then they convert it into clean oxygen that all living organisms need to consume in order to survive. However, as trees continue to be chopped down for construction use, this carbon dioxide has nowhere to go, forcing it back into the atmosphere where it gradually heats the Earth’s surface. If the Earth’s surface gets too hot, sea levels could rise and mountainous regions could completely disappear.
Fortunately, there is a partial answer: Christmas trees! Believe it or not, real Christmas trees are paving a way for a better and greener future in Ireland and it’s something you and your family can partake in. As we approach the holiday season, your support of Christmas tree farms and cultivators can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future in the fight against climate change. Fintan Riordan from Cork Christmas Tree Farm – near Ballincollig, Co Cork – says their combined forestry and Christmas trees sequester over 1,000 Tonnes Of CO2 annually.
Where to Buy Real Christmas Trees in Cork
The decision to join the fight against climate change is admirable. So, if you’re looking to switch from an artificial tree to a real one this holiday season, we can help. In Ireland, there’s nothing more important than family. Taking the kids to an authentic Christmas tree farm to find and buy their first real Christmas tree can be the start of a fun, new family tradition.
Cork Christmas Tree Farm is based in Currabeg, Ovens, which isn’t far from the town of Ballincollig. Their Christmas tree farm is approximately a 15-minute drive from Cork City. For an optimal and convenient experience, they offer a “You Choose, We Cut” service. Visit their website for more info: https://corkchristmastreefarm.com
What’s Better: Real or Artificial Christmas Trees?
Ask anyone who recycles and they’ll agree that plastic is bad for the environment. Yet despite this, artificial Christmas trees remain one of the most popular items for the festive season. The general consensus is that yes, plastic is bad, but since artificial trees are used year after year, there isn’t much harm in it. After all, multi-use plastic should be better than single-use plastic, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t really the case.
Artificial Christmas trees are made from PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. PVC is a petroleum byproduct, meaning it comes from the processing of fossil fuels. In addition, many artificial Christmas trees are manufactured as far away as China and then transported to the customer. In doing so, the cargo ships used to transport these to Ireland and other parts of the world use fossil fuels. These fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide emissions that pollute both the air and ocean. Unfortunately, all of this takes place for a tree that’s only used for a few weeks one month out of the year before it’s packed away in the attic.
As mentioned above, people usually opt for artificial Christmas trees since they’re going to be used more than once. However, most of these trees are thrown away in less than 10 years and end up decomposing in a landfill for approximately 1,000 years. This is because PVC is not biodegradable, meaning that your artificial tree could spend years releasing methane into the environment. The myth is that using a fake tree is more sustainable than chopping down a perfectly healthy one in nature. However, Christmas trees are grown for specifically that purpose. And for good reason, too.
As mentioned above, Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide that’s emitted from fossil fuels and release clean oxygen back out into the atmosphere. Without oxygen, there’d be no life. Furthermore, Christmas trees are biodegradable. Once the holiday season is over, you can take them outside to create a bird habitat, animal sanctuary, or use them as compost. This way, there is no waste and you’re putting good back into the environment. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding a place to store your tree when it’s not in use.