Back in 1990, a group called Common Ground initiated ‘Tree Dressing Day’, to take place during the first weekend in December. It was a chance for a whole community to gather and strengthen their relationship with trees. An opportunity to celebrate old customs of tying natural yarns and coloured cloth in the branches and around the trunk of a tree to offer protection and say ‘thank you’ to a tree. This celebration still takes place across UK with many thousands of people taking part in a neighbourhood activity every year. Contact www.commonground.org.uk to find out if something is happening near you.
If you think about it – we all like tree dressing – a Christmas Tree! Why not ring the changes this year and decorate your tree with natural objects found in your garden, the hedgerows and woods or use dried flowers this year – keep those artificial baubles and trinkets in the box this year – you might find you like the natural version even better – let me know!
But are real Christmas trees better for the environment? The thought of saving one from being cut down might prompt you to buy an artificial tree that you can use year after year – but the big downside to this is that they are made of PLASTIC. The end-to-end production of a plastic tree creates double the carbon footprint of a real tree that ends up in landfill; from the extraction of the oil from which it is made to the emissions produced when the tree is shipped long distance (mainly from China). However, most local authorities now offer a shredding service and then use the shredded chips as mulch in parks and gardens – a truly sustainable way of recycling your real tree.
Around the world environmental activists are campaigning to urge world leaders to take immediate action to reduce global warming. Campaigners, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot, have helped produce a short video ‘Natural Climate Solutions’ in which a tree is referred to as ‘…a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little and builds itself.’ A single tree can remove 1 tonne of carbon from the air over 40 years.
We can all help save our planet immediately by planting more trees! So, at this time of year when we are thinking about buying Christmas gifts for our family and friends, what better present than a tree! Try contacting www.woodlandtrust.org.uk, , www.nationalforest.org, www.natonaltrust.org.uk (woodland appeal). All of these offer the opportunity to have a certificate of planting to be sent to the recipient. You might even think about getting your family involved with a tree planting day in your area as a great day out in the fresh air during the Christmas period.
If none of these appeals, you could always resort to a spot of tree hugging when you are out walking – but don’t forget to say thank you!
Garden Gate Flowers