Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Oh (real) Christmas tree, oh (fake) Christmas tree — Which is better for the environment?

by Take Two

73497 full
Photo by john mcdonald via Flickr Creative Commons

With only two weekends left until Christmas, chances are that a lot of folks will be decorating  trees this weekend.

But what kind of tree? 

Real trees offer that great smell, the fun of picking out your very own one, while artificial trees mean less vacuuming of fallen needles and you can save money because you only have to buy one... ever. 

So which to choose? 

Char Miller is Professor of Environmental Studies at Pomona College and author of "Not So Golden State: Sustainability versus The California Dream." He spoke to Alex Cohen about why real trees are better for the environment. 

"So the argument goes like this: Fake trees despite their presumed low cost...are made out of plastic. They're made out of some pretty dangerous chemicals," explained Miller,  "Not for us to handle necessarily but the effluent of which either then goes pumped into the ocean or into the air..."

Miller continued explaining his argument against artificial trees:

"Then you start to think about the transportation cost of those artificial trees, 80 percent of which Americans buy are coming from China and so you've got the long haul across the Pacific to our shopping centers and to Wal-Mart and elsewhere. So, from my vantage point, that's a deal breaker, which is not to say that the real trees themselves are less costly in terms of carbon footprint, although I think they are."

Miller also spoke about the real tree nostalgia factor and how the drought plays a role in this whole Christmas tree business.

To hear the full segment, click the blue play button above.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy Take Two? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC