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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Keeping the Green in Christmas

Conservation, Forestry, Economics

Yeah - you're thinking I'm going to rant about the commercialization of Christmas.

Only partly.

One of my neighbors up north operates a Christmas tree farm.  We make a point of steering any of our friends that drop-in from time-to-time to be sure to pick-up a freshly cut tree from John and JoAnn. Since we have our own stash of trees we’re able to fill our personal needs by culling a couple of runts every year for display on the porch and in the living room. But we always purchase a big wreath from our neighbors.

You know Tom – you are not anything close to an environmentalist. First we have to hear about you killing deer and now we learn that you cut down trees? You give us the creeps. You would be smarter to buy an artificial tree from Walmart. You know - something that you could put-up and take down every year, store in your attic and never have to water.  Besides, people in China need the work. Cutting trees is bad. And stop shooting the deer!   Grrrr.

This reminds me of this guy I know that remodeled his kitchen not too long ago.  He fashioned himself as an environmental believer of exceeding worthiness.  Thus he went to great pains to purchase and install a bamboo floor for his kitchen.

I am not making this up. 

A bamboo floor.

All that comes to my mind is big long pole used to catch catfish.

His reasoning was that bamboo was the environmentally-correct way for him to go.  A perfect solution in a manner of speaking.  Namely because bamboo grows fast, it is therefore renewable and thus no tree in North America would be felled in his endeavor to remodel his kitchen.  

Bamboo assured him of living a virtuous and environmentally blameless life.

Yeah!  Good for him that makes perfect sense.  Asian bamboo!

What this unenlightened yet self-anointed keeper of the earth didn’t know (or conveniently dismissed) is that his bamboo came from a country way over on the other side of the planet.  There is a reasonably good chance that it was manufactured into flooring without any environmental standards or safeguards.  Maybe a rain forest was clear-cut for its planting.  Perhaps it was harvested by small children.  Who knows?

What we know for sure is that it traveled all the way over here by boat, rail and truck at great expenditure of energy.

It’s still cheaper though!

That’s simply because someone over on the other side of the planet did all of the work for only a couple of bucks a day.

Seriously - this fella could have assuaged his conscience by purchasing a perfectly beautiful red oak floor from trees grown, harvested and processed right here in Wisconsin. Supporting Wisconsin workers and families.

Believe it or not - trees are a renewable resource. 

You can always grow more of them.

Which leads me to the Tannenbaum part of the discussion.

If you were to talk to anybody that grows Christmas trees you would learn that Wisconsin has more than 1100 family-owned tree farms - which according to The Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association generates tens of millions of dollars every year. 

And that money stays right here.

Fetching a tree from a local business or church also benefits people right here in Tosa.

What about the pesky needles?  Blech!

What about them?  Don't you have a broom and a dust pan?

I have to take it to the curb.  That's a pain!

Strikes me as much easier to drag the tree to the curb instead of dismantling the fake one and hauling it to the attic.   Besides - Tosa will gratefully mulch your formerly live tree and you can eventually retrieve it in the form of buckets of free organic material from the city compost heap to augment your garden or flower bed.

What’s not to like about that?

I’ll tell you what’s not to like about that. You will eventually run out of trees after you have cut them all down!

Sorry buckaroo. Even though Wisconsin will harvest more than a million trees before Christmastime - tree farmers will plant one to three times that many to replace them. And while they are growing lots of critters will make them their home.

So do the environment and economy a favor this year and leave that artificial tree in the attic and put-up the real deal.

Besides – they smell terrific.

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