An environmental consulting firm in Montreal comparing natural and artificial Christmas trees concluded that natural trees have less impact on climate change and resource depletion, says retired VIU forest ecology professor. (Stock photo)

An environmental consulting firm in Montreal comparing natural and artificial Christmas trees concluded that natural trees have less impact on climate change and resource depletion, says retired VIU forest ecology professor. (Stock photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Natural Christmas trees preferable to fake ones

Natural trees have less impact on climate change and resource depletion, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Cutting down Christmas trees isn’t environmentally friendly, Letters, Dec. 15.

Although the letter writer’s opinion appears to be that we should not have Christmas trees at all, readers may have concluded that an artificial tree is more climate-friendly than a cut tree. What is better for the environment – an artificial tree or a natural tree? The answer is not simple and depends on your assumptions.

A life-cycle analysis by an environmental consulting firm in Montreal comparing natural and artificial Christmas trees concluded that natural trees have less impact on climate change and resource depletion (the report can be found at http://ellipsos.ca). The study used the average lifespan of an artificial tree – six years – and accounted for all phases of the growing or manufacturing, transportation and disposal of both types. The net CO2 emissions of the cut tree were 39 per cent of the artificial tree. (The difference is equal to driving an average car about 200 kilometres.) Additional benefits of Christmas tree plantations include local employment, use of marginal agricultural land, and habitat for birds and other wildlife.

There are many reasons why people choose a natural or artificial tree, for example, cost, culture, space, transportation. Although I love a natural Christmas tree, you may prefer an artificial tree or none at all.

Bill Beese, Nanaimo


The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

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Letter to the Editor