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November 26, 2007

“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Thy Were Harvested Using Advanced Watershed Management Practices…”

How can you be certain that your Christmas tree was produced in an earth-friendly, environmentally sensitive manner? An Oregon group called the “Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers” (CECG) is here to help by certifying that the tree that you hauled to your 5000-square-foot home atop your seven-passenger SUV was produced with as little impact on the environment as possible.

This is part of the latest trend in environmentalism: The mitigation of harmful levels of middle-class guilt.  Years of prosperity have brought this serious mental health hazard to the fore and groups like the CECG were created to deal with it by assuaging these feelings in a manner that is carefully crafted so as not to upset the delicate balance between your brand new 53” high-def plasma television and your digital Dolby 5.1 surround sound system.  Unlike carbon credits (one of the earliest attempts at guilt mitigation), this program doesn’t require that you make even a token sacrifice of writing out a check, only that you look for a tree with the CECG tag on it.

Of course, there are hurdles that the CECG has to overcome to convince buyers that a Christmas tree is good for the environment the biggest being that, 


But that doesn’t mean that you can’t offset that little environmental contretemps. How, you ask? What method of Christmas tree production is so obviously pro-green that you can actually feel good about cutting it down?

Did someone say “helicopters?!”

That’s right, as any card-carrying member of the environmental movement will tell you once they unchain themselves from the earthmoving equipment, if you want to establish your environmental bona fides, bring on the helicopters! (And while you’re at it, why not ditch those noisy, greenhouse-gas-emitting chainsaws and go harvest trees with something more Gaia-friendly, like bazookas!) 

But then the real purpose of these kinds of programs is not to actually help the environment, but to help you feel as if you are helping the environment. As Joe Sharp, co-founder of the CECG pointed out, "Now when consumers buy a tree, they can be sure that the tree was grown with the best intentions for the environment in mind." 

In other words, you are free to deforest the countryside so long as your heart is in the right place. 

Of course, the CECG could be more straightforward and point out that Christmas trees are like any other renewable farm crop and you might as well say a prayer of repentance every time you buy a head of cabbage (“Cole Slaw is Murder!”). But there’s no marketing edge in hanging a tag on a tree that says “quit whining, it’s just a salad with lights”

As such, the more cynical among you may be suspicious of the true motivations behind the “Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers,” but rest assured that it was founded by two wholly impartial organizations that happened to be Oregon’s largest Christmas tree producers, Holiday Tree Farms, Inc., and Yule Tree Farms both of which, coincidentally, have for years offered trees that meet the new standards easily.

Imagine the odds!

In that spirit, we would like to officially announce the formation of the “Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Bloggers,” which will certify, among other things, that your cat picture postings and reviews of the latest Grey’s Anatomy do not in any way contribute to reductions in biodiversity or worsening soil erosion.

And as luck would have it…



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November 26, 2007 at 06:43 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Of course, because we all exhale carbon dioxide, you can also do your bit for the environment by holding your breath until you're blue in the face when you go to pick up your Christmas tree. That will help to offset some of the greenhouse gases emitted by your super-colossal, multi-megaton SUV.

Just a helpful hint. I'm glad I could be of service to the environment.

Posted by: Joel Klebanoff | Nov 26, 2007 9:02:59 PM

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