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‘Tis the season to be jolly, of course, but superstorm Sandy may be the latest reminder that you want to be environmentally conscious this year, too.
One way you can help in your own home for the holidays is by buying a real Christmas tree rather than an artificial one that you’d use for a few years and then send out with the trash.
"At this time of year, choosing a real Christmas tree is one way that an average person can make a difference in terms of climate change," plant biologist Clint Springer, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, told Science Daily.
He explained that a recent study showed that a seven-foot tree's impact on climate is 60 percent less than a tree of the same size used for six years. So although cut trees are not carbon-neutral -- that is to say that they too impact the environment negatively -- they are better than artificial trees in terms of carbon use.
Artificial trees tempt many families because they can be more affordable, or for other reasons -- like tree allergies or limited access to real trees.
If bringing a live tree into the home isn’t an option, Springer recommended to Science Daily a few alternatives for environmentally friendlier home decor over the holidays. First, consider using LED lights instead of the typical string lights. Next, use local and sustainably farmed ingredients for your holiday meals, as well as organic produce. And of course, recycle whatever you possibly can -- that includes wrapping paper and boxes.
A bit of attention to those details can help make your holiday season green -- in addition to merry and bright.
Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Twitter: @alicedubin.