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Your Christams tree this year? And your thoughts about it??

Rethymno, Crete, Greece(Zone 10b)

Hi all;

Christmas trees have a long literature about them, their stories, their looks, the memories of each and every decor on them, why cut them, pot them, cut cultivated ones, use plastic ones, don't use trees, yes-no-maybes and so much we all hear for decades now.

It would be very interesting to hear your views on the topic (if you are not too bored to write) and see what you achieved this year !!!!

Well, here's my wife's tree; she is an excellent decoration expert, overdoing a bit, but providing a surrounding that is extraordinary.Last year we bought a live one (in a pot, spruce, imported from Italy). To our despair, it shredded all its needles on the floor; not only that, but also it started bending the branches downwards and many glass bulbs fell off and broke during the night, to be found next morning on the floor in pieces. So, immediately after the season, my wife bought a good quality plastic one, and here it is this year.

(edited to mention the pic follows below)

This message was edited Dec 29, 2006 2:36 AM

Rethymno, Crete, Greece(Zone 10b)

Here it is.

Thumbnail by dpmichael
Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Picea abies, just over 2m tall, natural (not sheared; sheared trees look awful). Was very lucky to arrive at the shop just as they were getting a new delivery, so it was very fresh.


Lovely tree Dimitri! It looks huge and the little Father Christmases are fun. I really like the colourful ones, they seem far more traditional.

When I lived alone I didn't put up any decorations but we have 3 medium plastic trees up at the moment and one tiny tree, all of which will come down on the 5th January. We generally don't put up the trees until a day or so before Christmas.

At the risk of spitting in the wind on this forum, I struggle with the idea of using land for Christmas trees, particularly those which are chopped down. I'm happier with the trees with the rootball although I'd end up with a conifer forest instead of a garden! I struggle with the idea of plastic trees too but one of them here was bought in Debenhams in the early 80s and long may it continue to retain it's tinsel needles! Come to think of it my Mother had some bits of tinsel that were older than me until a couple of years ago when the poor tinsel was reduced to about 2 inches of silver on a very tired looking string for years and then finally fell apart, one tiny peice of green and gold still survives. Many of the decorations are becoming rather elderly too. The trees always look as though we've loaded buckets with the decorations and then thrown them at the trees LOL

I can't say I'm overly impressed with the black or red trees available although I did consider a small white feather tree this year, settled on a white feather star instead:)

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

It's always a struggle these days as to whether it should be a real or an artificial tree. One thing's for sure, real trees and modern central heating don't go well together. The best bet is to buy as fresh a tree as possible, with root ball, so go to a grower, rather than a garden centre for your tree.
Have to agree with you, Baa. Where on earth did black and white trees/decorations spring from?

Rethymno, Crete, Greece(Zone 10b)

Well, prophet5, one has to consider the circumstances; in my childhood, real trees were too expensive for many people, and many ideas materialised in an effort to provide the look of a tree with golden crops (this is the wish, I think, that lies behind a Chr tree: hope that this year will bear more fruit than before). I used to cut a big branch of a fig tree (naked branch, as they shed their leaves in the Autumn) then paint it with aluminium paint that made it look silver, and decorate it with single color glass balls, and light it with a device made from a big can with a lamp inside and colored gelatin around it kept with a rubber band; and little holes so the gelatin will not melt; and change the gelatin color to see what is best, and..and..

Now, perhaps in a modern house where concrete and aluminium have covered all areas, why not a black plastic tree? why not a pink one with fuchsia balls? Gardeners tend to appreciate mother earth, but all people don't think the same.
As for rooted trees, in Crete they are condemned to death, they don't survive the summer - I watered a nice spruce like mad 4 years ago, and it dried up in late September in a sudden heatwave.

You are absolutely right about the effect of central heating on them - it dries them up like herrings in the sun.

Baa, I really liked the idea of your ancient Debenhams artificial trees ,and the stories that go behind your birthdate - it sounds very romantic - it is something I wanted for the decoration bits from my parents' house after they died, but God knows where they ended up - I did not find them when I looked for them. And I remember them one by one. It is very strange, isn't it?

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

I have a bag of ancient decorations which sound just like yours Baa. I even have some early 1950s nursery rhyme lights with one special bulb to make them flash on and off, but I haven't used them for years, they still work, but are probably a fire hazard and I've already nearly burned the kitchen down this week.

I haven't even put up the artificial tree this year, but have decorated a 15 inch real tree in a pot which someone gave me last year. It might be a spruce, but I'm not sure. It was one of those sprayed with white stuff to look like snow. I left it outside all summer so the white washed off, and have re-potted it, fed it and brought it in last week. It looks extremely pathetic with rather sparse needles, not many branches either, but I'm sure it will look better next year. You can't see much of it for the decorations anyway.

I like the smell of real trees, but hate the thought of chopping them off just to bring inside for a couple of weeks, and like you say the garden can easily turn into a plantation if you save a large live one every year.

Your lovely tree makes me think I really make the effort next year. It is beautiful Dimitri.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Real trees cut and then chipped and used as mulch are enviromentaly sound.
Its all about locking up carbon. All the time the tree is growing its soaking up carbon once its chipped the carbon is slowly released back into the soil rather than into the air.

Responsible retailers offer recycling services! UNLIKE THOSE BIG MULTI-NATIONALS GRRRRRR .......

Plastic trees come from china and some from vietnam. Very crazy. Think of the carbon footprint on that one. Oil from the middle east shipped to china and refined to make plastics. shipped to the factory and the shipped all over the world. Fantastic for the future.

But hey on the other hand its only Xmas once a year. So what does it matter.


Rethymno, Crete, Greece(Zone 10b)

Mike, as always, it is the feeling inside us that matters; and of course, it is the actual number of "us" when it comes to Earth economy. In the long run, perhaps the few "green" ones, for the time being, serve as teaching modules for the others to follow when their eyes open up. Xmas is only once a year, and global warming is only once in 25,000 years. Perhaps we will manage to slow it down. I still water the pots by hand at this time of year, and I am very worried as to what our descendants will have for "seasons". May a new year begin - a year of provision.

Pat, nice to see you always - I am happy you caught up the trick with basil. And I am very worried to hear you nearly had a fire - my best wishes for safety this year.

Dimitri, perhaps we remember those little Christmas decorations for the sense of wonder they brought with them?

PatBarr, having been born in the early 70s I'm not sure they quite qualify for ancient just yet but I was told by my aunt on my last birthday that I was getting old now, I just knew I wasn't getting any younger LOL

How did you nearly burn down your kitchen? A couple of Christmases past I've managed to colour the ceiling a rather pleasant smoky quartz colour for imprudent cooking of sauteed potatoes :)

Mike, I knew someone would react *G* I'm not sure the amount of land required to grow such a crop is calculated into the carbon footprint and that is the main objection. My previous career was in agriculture so these things are of an interest to me. Having said that, I object to golf courses and cut flowers etc too, gardens and pets (within reason) I can cope with ;)

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Details of my bad day in the "What's happening in the backyard" thread.

(Zone 5a)

Hello everyone! I always have a live tree - after it's served it's purpose inside I cut off the branches and use them to shelter my tender plants (I actually collect most of the trees in the street too for the same use). The trees are collected and shredded and I shred the branches in spring and use as mulch so I can't see any waste there ...... So I agree with Mike on this one - while they're growing they're binding carbon dioxide and for every tree that is cut down they plant more so the live ones are definately more environmentally friendly in my opinion. Besides the smell of a live tree is essential to me. We usually manage to keep them from drying out - we cut the base so the "wound" is fresh, put it in boiling water to open up the "veins" and then water it with hot water to keep them open ..... it works very well as long as we don't forget to water it! Bought a bigger base this year that holds more water since I did tend to forget to water ;-)

Here's a photo. My daughters did most of the decorating on their own - Except for a few fragile ornaments and the highest branches .....

Thumbnail by rannveig
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Real trees are definetly enviromentaly sound.
Nothing can compete with a local grown tree that comes from a company that replants.
Even the land use makes sense as tree's are the best thing to be grown on land. We don't need as much land as everyone makes out, why do farmers get subsidised by the great british public for growing a meter of weeds round there fields?
Strangely you don't get that for growing a crop of xmas trees!

Baa golf courses are very unethical in more ways than one. Especially ones that only allow poncy fat little men. But that a class thing. lol


"Even the land use makes sense as tree's are the best thing to be grown on land."

Matter of opinion of course! If we are talking in environmentally friendly terms, if they were a native species that housed the full compliment of wildlife during it's lifetime, used no pesticides and truly are locally grown and not carted in from the continent or the other end of the UK .............. I might be persuaded otherwise.

"We don't need as much land as everyone makes out,...."

LOL that's why in 2005 we were 74% self sufficient in indigenous/basic types of food and we import far more than we export. Yes over 70% market share is a big piece of the pie but should anything happen to prevent the import of food a huge belt would have to be pulled in because it's not just the 30% of the basics but all the exotic stuff we eat gone too. "Yes we have no bananas, We have no bananas today."

"... why do farmers get subsidised by the great british public for growing a meter of weeds round there fields?"

The beetle banks and field margins have proved useful for wildlife habitat, reduce soil/field erosion, can help prevent pesticide run off into water and the reduction of pesticide usage, they are part of the scheme to help preserve the British countryside, wildlife and it's features as you probably already know. These are part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme grant and not CAP subsidies, you still pay for it but not everyone will get it as it's regional, optional, restricted to the arable industry and dependent on the allocated budget. It's compensation for lost income rather than here's a few quid for free (they have to be managed) and it's hardly a get rich scheme as it's a few quid a year for 2 or 6m wide strips and paid per 100 m.

"Strangely you don't get that for growing a crop of xmas trees!"

Not so strange, you can't eat them ;)

(I can pull chains too *G*)

Here's a business idea for someone with a few acres and may already be an offered service. Rent a Christmas tree! That way it's live doing it's stuff, it's more income as there is less time waiting for the young trees to grow and the general public aren't stuck with a big tree to stick in the garden.

Now there's a live Christmas tree I could live with!

This message was edited Jan 2, 2007 7:53 PM

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Hey Baa you can tell you worked with farmers. lol
Sucked in with all that maintaining the countryside stuff. You will be telling me Foxhunting is ok next. j/k
England is more self sufficent now than it has ever been. (excluding during the war years).
Subsidies are paid to farmers for what? Lost income! I say if they can't make farming pay then i would happily see them go bust. The land would steadily turn wild and our original countryside would return. It would of course take many years for the damage farmers have done to be undone but i can wait. Its all about supply and demand, if we have less food being produced then the price woud go up in England and redress the balance for any farmers that can make it pay. Anyway some folks could do with eating 30% less food round here. I live in the county with the most obese people. A good famine is what they need! lol
British countryside lol. Farmers think there playing God now? hehe

Its a real shame every industry/business that is struggling doesn't get handouts from the public.
Next we will be paying out to keep the local post office open that no-one goes to except the old lady down the road. Or we could pay to keep the railways going many years after we privatised them.

Oh yeah we are. Where is that big stamp with MUG carved into it.

I do like the rent a tree idea though. Would never work though. The none plant public would stick the poor thing next to a radiator and not water it. Then they'd stick it in a bucket of water outside for a week and then return it saying it was faulty!

I know that would happen because i deal with it all the time. One customer today wanted to speak to the owner, shouting at the till staff, that he must be found right that minute. So i came along and the customer starts to tell me that they bought a 2.50 goldfish and it had died a week later and they wanted there money back! It was obviously a faulty fish and i must give compensation!
What are folks like. lol

Hmm tough decision, scrub land in favour of delicate downland, upland and heath species that survive only due to the fact the land has been farmed for 4,000 years? Nah, give me a countryside that is farmed with the environment in mind over brambles, gorse and silver birch patches any day ;)

A grant isn't a CAP subsidy. I agree, remove subsidies, get rid of the bad uns, particularly the large agribusinesses that benefit from all the export subsidies too. CAP subsidies are complicated, restrictive, serve as a wedge between the public and agriculture and is really bad for world trade and poorer countries outside the EU. There is no fair price and no fair market, rest assured if subsidies were dropped the price of food would sky rocket, even the imported food as these too are subsidised if from the EU. In the UK we spent less than 10% of our income on food, if it was a fairer price then we'd probably all eat a lot less processed rubbish and the good farmers wouldn't be dropping out of business all the time. It may even benefit certain industries through forcing a faster change of certain less than pleasant farming practises.

I'm tempted to ask exactly what benefits a crop of Christmas trees bring with them or what effect the endless glasshouses of potted ornamentals that require a tonne of pesticide a week just to keep the pests informed of new stuff they are to evolve to resist but this isn't the thread for this :)

LOL aren't the general public great! My last job was on a farm open to the public, putting my money where my mouth is. I often said in college that the biggest problem farming faced was it's lack of connection to the general public and that bridge needed to be gapped with education and understanding.

My apologies for the diversion.

When does everyone take their Christmas tree down? Ours will be tidied away on Friday, seems to me the fashion around here is to put them up really early and take them down just after Christmas.

This message was edited Jan 3, 2007 3:02 AM

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

True Baa, gone of track here. I hate farming and love conservation in its true farm but here is not the time or place as its an open ended subject. I'd love to learn more but its dificult here really without folks thinking we are having a go at each other.

Its a down the pub subject over a few pints.

Xmas tree was taken down on new years day and put on the fire ready to burn. LOL



It's funny, a lot of people think agrics and hortics are just one and the same, yet put agrics and hortics in the same place and it's hand bags at dawn before too long LOL. I never took any of this stuff seriously, the job was harrowing and complicated enough (and I loved it dearly), there is so much that can change for the better so I'll raise a virtual glass for a brighter, cleaner and more prosperous future for everyone instead of "a poor harvest and a bloody war" ;)

So you added fumes to the atmosphere instead of composting then? (hehehe j/k)

I think I said above we take ours down in the 5th, before Twelth Night and all that.

(Zone 5a)

We'll take ours down on the 6th ..... or maybe 7th. Jan 6th is the last day of Christmas here - the 13th ...... then I'll start collecting trees :-)

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Hey Baa, Honestly i was joking about putting it on the fire. Nah i leave it out for the dustbin men to put it into landfill along with all my paper plastic and bottles. heheh. (sick joke i know and not funny but i'd love to see someones face)

You are right about the Agric Hortics thing though. I would class my self as a big fat capitalist though. I really want to find ways the enviroment can earn its keep,

Hey anyone got a granny they want to sell? lol


Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Took ours down last night. Cut it up; it'll go through the chipper and into the compost bin soon, then eventually for mulch on the garden.


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Worse than any enviromental issues. I have a major disaster that happened!
Took the tree out through the front door. Just found one of the chocolates squashed on the path that we hang on the tree!
How could i miss it? I'm so mortified.

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

Which pub are you going to meet to continue your discussion, Mike and Baa, I would like to join in! The big supermarkets' hold over prices paid to farmers is one of my issues. Three people I went to school with who come from a long line of farming families have given up their farms in the past couple of years, and their land is being sold off in bits to people with a couple of horses. Instead of fields of cows there are over-grazed squares of land with electric fencing all over the place and miserable looking horses with coats on and no shelter.

Terrible shame about the chocolate Mike, still it saved you a few extra calories.

My little tree had its decorations removed on Tuesday. It had a spray with diluted seaweed feed and is sitting in the conservatory until the winds die down when it will go in a sheltered spot outside ready for next Christmas.

Rethymno, Crete, Greece(Zone 10b)

Hi everyone- I am very happy to read all comments, no matter how far the discussion is gone - in Crete the problems are much different to what you have up in the North and it is a real education for me to hear other points of view. For example, farm land here is given up because settlers from Northern Europe (UK, Germany, Sweden etc) buy it at double the price to build holiday /retirement homes for themselves - how about it??

The (globally important) worse is yet to come: No rain for a month now (never heard of before in December) and I will be turning on the electric vanes to start a weekly schedule, or the trees (not perennials, not vines, I am talking about mature trees) will dry out.

Tell me now if and how Xmas tree farming is/isn't green policy and what IS green policy - globe wide, not in our backyards - this is the problem with us europeans and our valuable millenia-old culture: we think that recycling the chocolate wrap punctually will slow the aluminium production industry eventually.

I would love to meet you all in the pub - and drown our fears in beer - it impairs judgement.


Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

The lack of rain must be terribly worrying Dimitri. A couple of years ago we had a very dry autumn and winter. All our reservoirs were virtually empty at the end of December when they are usually overflowing, but things recovered. We are lucky that at least it is much cooler here so things don't dry out as quickly.

This year is back to normal with gales and rain and all our reservoirs overflowing at the moment. We are having quite a mild winter though.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Hi Dimitri,

I thought I would/should add my comments. I have no hard and fast opinions at all on Xmas trees. In order to be able to give a true assessment on the subject I would need to have all the 'facts' at hand. I don't put one up now, simply because I have gone past the stage of enjoying putting the darned thing up just to take down again. Everyone to their own as they say, and if anyone feels it enriches their Xmas season they are entitled to continue to do so, not that I don't consider the pros versus cons, but there are so many subjects we could embark upon which would require similar or even more consideration that I couldn't even begin to make an informed decision.

The use of land for growing Xmas trees just to be chopped down is a mixed bag. I found a web site via a Xmas tree link site in the US which is here in the UK and only a few miles from where I live. Now this is where I really start to think, but only as far as I can see what is in front of my eyes. I see that two brothers have decided to make an honest living for themselves by growing Xmas trees on what was once arable land. The situation as it is with the EU and food going back and forth rather than localised markets, combined with the pressure supermarkets put on the food industry/farmers here to sell at prices they cannot make a living from in growing food whether it be milk, brussel sprouts etc. makes for changes.

The changes as we may or may not see them are hard choices for people who have been born to the farming industry. It is all too easy for people who go to their paid jobs 5-6 days a week to criticise, it would be interesting to see how these people would cope with working all the hours God sends 7 days a week 52 weeks a year to make ends meet, then find they have to sell up and find another way of living. Very heart wrenching and difficult.

There seems to be a lack of vision amongst some also that the coutryside has for a very long time been kept in good order by man, providing food for those who go to their their salaried jobs and don't have to worry about anything other than when they will book their next holiday, or whether the supermarket will have the food they wish to buy and they rarely disappoint in this country. The only real fear is losing their job, which can be tough, even tougher now that many jobs are going to foreign workers. But think of this, as our food industry is wound down, just what if, by perchance we NEED our own food supply. It has happened before in history, we should never feel comfortable that the EU will automatically dish up whatever food we want. History has a habit of repeating itself and todays threats are as great as ever.

Now the land is there, it COULD be put to food use if the need be, assuming not too many houses have covered the best farm land, or too many Xmas trees are growing in it to make the land easily available. But the land on the site I found is sandy soil, and these people are for now making a living, sandy soil will grow crops but the trees may take many nutrients. The trees are planted on a yearly basis so there can be no problem with cutting down nature's supply. I really think if we wish to make any statements at all about anything we need to be better informed, and willy nilly statements can be insulting to some. Thank you Dimitri for making some people START to think about this.

I think most people in the industry of growing trees have already thought it out well, let's give them some credit.


Fact: Christmas tree production is not as green (yes it's a pun!) as it first appears.

Taken on a new tree/year basis then it's clearly more eco-friendly to have a real tree than an imitation one. What about the environmental impact 20 live trees have in comparison with an imitation that has lasted that long?

Trees use up extra water and nutrients from the soil and can deposit salts which may have a long term detrimental effect for the future of that land. I've not included chemical usage as a conventional farm may also use those. We already know that monoculture agricultural crops have an adverse effect on the land and environment.

Fact: The plastics production industry has always had detrimental effect on the environment.

It's highly unlikely our elderly tree was made from biodegradable material. Will I be in my retirement years using the tree to salve my conscience or has it paid for itself in environmental terms already or in another 5 years or so? We simply don't know.

Fact: Trees (real) has a positive effect with using up the CO2 we produce.

Fact: Real Christmas Trees are bio-degradable and compostable

Fact: Real Christmas trees often aren't native species and do not support biodiversity as much as a native tree can.

Fact: Poorly disposed items whatever their main material cause problems with the environment but real trees at least break down in time.

Fact: There is no answer to this subject. It's swings and roundabouts

As Mike said above it's an open ended subject.

Let's not allow some joshing between people from two industries who are often at loggerheads when it comes to land use to cloud any issue discussed here but please let's not impose a frown wearing only rule either. I think I can say that at least most of us realise and understand the importance of the issues here. I'd also like to say that (I can only speak for myself but it probably applies to others here) that this isn't something I've started to consider it's been a consideration and choice for some time, while I'm merely an agriculturalist by (previous) trade, the environment has been of interest to me for a number of years.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Environmental issues have always been a concern of mine too Baa, if anyone recycles I think I would have to be amongst one who wears their rags until they drop off, use and re-use until things can be used no more. Make use of others throw out objects, it's amazing what people will throw away when they can be used. Mend and make do. Your old tree is evidence that you do that too! I almost hate to admit it, but I had a summer dress which I wore for 23 years until it split so badly I had to throw it away! I see people in poor countries dressing better than I do at times!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

I think i've stepped into the wombles thread. lol

Ok so anyone want to guess what the general public really thinks of recycling?
I sell aprox 1'000 cut xmas trees this year (about 2 dozen potted but ignore these) I offer a 1 off voucher to any customer bringing there tree back for me to shred and recycle. I advertise this on a big label tied to every tree.

The question i'd like to ask is how many people actually take me up on the offer?

The next question is what would make more people recycle there trees? Obviously if i pay lots of money to everyone they would but that isn't sustainable.

The next idea is how to make the xmas tree business green (thats assuming its not) you can't ban trees so you have to make the idustry green. And sustainable.


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Can someone tell me why Farmers don't sell there produce to the supermarkets at a price they can make money at?
I buy local grown produce from a guy supplying fruit and veg from local (where possible he supplies bananas as well when in season)
I asked him to up the retail price of his items as its actually makes customers feel that this is better produce if it costs more also there is very little profit in it. But he won't because he doesn't want to be more expensive than tesco's. I find often that farmers are as a people very bad at making money as they think profit is a dirty word!

There are of course a few exceptions.

Is it better that the price of food goes up (inline with inflation) and it becomes sustainable to grow in the uk?

Or do we wish to have half price fruit and veg throughout 2007, i think thats a tesco campaign for this year. (i doubt tesco pays for the loss in takings, usually the supplier funds there promotions)

P.s I'd be happy to buy the first round except this is the internet and you all sound very nice on here but i don't want to die so i'm not meeting any of you. LOL So send me the bill and have a drink on me! heheh

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Can someone tell me why Farmers don't sell there produce to the supermarkets at a price they can make money at?

Because the supermarket buyers refuse to pay it. You either sell the stuff at the price they offer (not very much), or you don't sell it at all (even less)


Rethymno, Crete, Greece(Zone 10b)

Whouaooooohhhhhhhhhh........... it hurts - and it should; mother Earth is giving up the "green nature" appearance and starts taking the other, ugly face, the one we see or hear about: floods, dry Amazon etc areas, species going fast and the whole problem, in my mind, is one: overpopulation. All these other colors are just reflections of one main disorder: we are too many. As long as there is a poor fellow in ?China who cultivates garlics and sells them for subzero prices because he lives on a bowl of rice, the supermarket will never buy from the local farmer who needs to make a european-style living that requires a car with air conditioning and piano lessons for his kids. The only thing that worries me is that mother nature sorts these problems out in very radical ways: mass destruction of the overflowing population. Now whether this will be a virus or a lunatic world war (like the last one, born out of the most well educated nations with very rich culture) remains to be seen, but who will survive is matter of pure luck.

Alas, I only started a small snowball asking about your Christmas trees, and it turned to an avalanche !!!

Well, one thing for sure, we will all have to unpack all our garbage to recycle it - and it really stinks in many ways. I mean complete recycle, until it is "ungarbaged" - not the therapy we undergo by saving the chocolate wrap, I mean having to go and find the old write-off car we left 20 years ago and make it to what??? Find the thousands of batteries we threw "properly", and open them up, and work on them to give back to nature all things we stole, sometimes for good use and many times for vanity. For example, how many millions of miniature light bulbs did we light up this year? what will happen to them? etc, etc. Too much to think about. Well, Xmas is over, now grab the oars, start rowing again, and for what the logic cannot cover, we make wishes. Poor us, how poor we are in depth of thought...

So far, so good. (When learning English at school, we asked the teacher what this expression meant, and he said "someone jumped over the roof of a tall building, and every floor he passed on his way down, he said "so far, so good") And very right the teacher was.


Re. recycling, trees etc. It's a favourite past time here in sunny Hants, it's encouraged everywhere you look. Last year 28% of rubbish was recycled across the county (3rd in England), some boroughs are higher, got to 40% at one point when I lived in the area but I can't take all the credit ;) I think the local councils have to put measures in place and over expose the populace to the ads for it to start working.

We may not have you but we have your children! Well that sort of thing. My generation grew up with the beating ourselves up for the damage we've done ideals so I hope some of the more positive aspects pass onto the children of my peers.

Re. Farmers selling to supermarkets. Err they make up the majority of buyers, trouble is the ag industry is not united and the union is little more than an insurance company so if one won't sell at a certain price, others will. If they can't get it here they just go to Europe or the Commonwealth or the world market. It's just like Resin said.

The other factor is it's true, farmers are often really bad at marketing themselves. The Marketing boards used to do it for them, you know the old Drinka Pinta Pilka Day, go to work on an egg etc that was until the monopolies commission stopped them, good in one way, bad in another. People forget that agriculture is often highly skilled manual work, you can train monkeys to milk the moos, spotting the very early stages of mastitis by touch alone is another matter. Not so many grunt workers about these days either so time for working out the business plan, marketing, negotiation and budgets tend to be left behind too often.

Don't get me started on Tesco LOL. What's the real price of food? Farmers Markets are a good start but people are used to the atrificial prices of the supermarkets, it would be a hard wrench for the general public to give up their extra value cheese & fish curry at 3 boxes for 2 quid.


I agree I also think the over population is a huge factor, plus the want it now, disposable culture some places have. Food going to waste because people have bought too much and eaten too much irks me. Our animals help us with the few occasions there are any left overs and we put some things out for the wildbirds (although usually the dog sneaks out to eat it if the door is left open). We treat food very poorly in this country and I don't mean by boiling it to within an inch of it's mineral and vitimin content ;)

It's like a mini poverty sticken Las Vegas around here at Christmas time, lights everywhere, I think it's a criminal waste of the earths resources. What I'd like to see are alternative power sources for non essentials like these, little solar panels (well maybe not those in a British winter but something that isn't dragging on fossil fuels.

I agree also that we need to change not just one or two things but whole lifestyles too. We can't go on consuming in this manner and just hoping it will turn out OK. I think we're in the stages where we're finding out how to do this and I suspect the road will be a long one as long as we hold on too dearly to our luxuries.

Oh yes and it is a bit womblish around here *G* 2 fowl abodes and one shelter are made from tea chests although on one the roof felt has rotted and it's falling apart so the ducks are making do with the greenhouse floor and dare I say, shredded personal and business papers (which go into the compost bin when too mucky) overnight.

Come to think of it even my fancy dress costumes when I was a child were entirely recycled, even bits of cars and old settee materials.

I'm going to go now before it should like we live on Wimbledon Common in a burrow.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Dimitri, I can answer some of your 'theoretical' questions in reality,

"I mean having to go and find the old write-off car we left 20 years ago and make it to what???"

We bought a 1991 model car which had a ruined engine because the radiator had a hole in it. Cheap, at 50, the work was done by us, the head reground because it was well warped, pistons some replaced and others re-bedded, new gaskets, a few other new parts, radiator mended with a huge, thick lump of silicon sealant held in place with a home-made clamp from scrap metal. Total cost a little over 400 including the gas (welding done with pieces of scrap metal on the floor) and lots of hard work. It is used very little as I don't need to use it a lot, but is necessary for me to go shopping once a fortnight and the other odd occasion, so I use very little petrol too, and that is very expensive here.

I see people go on as many as three foreign holidays a year, and if people can afford it who can deny them this, but the pollution and use of fuels is worrying. Industries 'need' to have customers, governmments 'need' industries who have customers so they can pay them huge taxes to manage their budgets. So while they 'need' to be seen to tackle these problems, they also 'need' to encourage business.

Life in the world as man has made it is complicated, the basics of living and basics of needing are far beyond the basics. Who knows how it will all pan out, perhaps we will be the next dinosaurs. I think I am seeing more awareness in education of the young at schools now, we can only hope the future generations can be well enough informed to help turn around the madness man has made.

"For example, how many millions of miniature light bulbs did we light up this year?"

My answer is personally, none. I buy low energy light bulbs which last much longer and help keep pollution down by not having to throw away light bulbs as often, which also use much less energy.

Row the saying goes, if you don't swim you sink.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Hey i think we are all batting for the same team when it comes to the Enviroment. So i'm hoping no one is getting annoyed upset or otherwise.
If they are i hope that they can let us know just so we calm it down or whatever as i personally believe we are talking about the same stuff.

Brb Need to feed little one.

(Zone 5a)

I find this discussion very interesting. It's very interesting to hear your concerns since many of them don't apply here. Our electicity is "clean" as well as our heating so we're not burning up any fossil fuels to light up the darkness ....... and we have plenty of land so the concern of "using up land" for trees is something I'd never even considered. Farmers get payed for planting trees on their land (which they're not using for farming) .......

As far as disposing of the Christmas trees - we just have to put them out by the curb and they're collected and shredded ..... very problem free.

I think the problem with all environmentally friendly measures like solar panels and hybrid cars or wind turbines or whatever is that they cost money and ordinary people can't afford them. I'd buy a hybrid car in a heartbeat if I had the money ......... or what I'd rather see is some alternative to the fossil fuels. Hydrogen has been researched a great deal here and we have hydrogen buses driving around emitting nothing but H2O ...... I'd like to see more of those .....

"Hey i think we are all batting for the same team when it comes to the Enviroment"

Mike do you mean you will even include me in that statement LOL.


That's interesting to know. How does Iceland produce it's electricity?

We're a bit crowded in GB and as someone who lives in the south, 77 or so miles from London, it seems every available bit of land that isn't accounted for is taken up for housing or commerce. The latest is people being offered loads of cash for their gardens and then having flats built on them. While there is an 8-10 year wait for standard council housing in this district, these homes are mostly for sale and not cheap either.

It's appalling that the wildlife lose any of their "green corridors" of gardens even in the New Forest district.

(Zone 5a)

All the electricity here is produced with hydroelectric or geothermal plants :-) It does come at a price though since the hydroelectric plants require dams to be built ....... there is a HUGE one under construction here that has been very controversial - a lot of people against it since there is an awful lot of land that will disappear under a huge lake ......... There have been protests and debates about it ....... hopefully it will be the last big one. What is so troubling is that we don't need extra electricity for our own use - it's for yet another aluminum plant that is being built in the east. The current government doesn't have the imagination to figure out anything else to offer the towns outside the Reykjavik area for employment options than raising aluminum plants all over the country - and in order to provide electricity to those plants - more hydroelectric plants ..... Their argument is that it's better to raise them here - where they can get "clean" electricity as opposed to somewhere else where they'd require fossil fuels or nuclear energy ..... but still ...... enough already. There is an aluminum plant here in the outskirts of Hafnarfjordur that wants to expand - double in size I think ...... fortunately we'll get to vote on it and I sincerely hope that it won't pass - I for one will say NO THANK YOU!!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8b)

Baa Even you hehe. I really think most of the time people spend to much energy fighting the ideas that do make a difference just because there not 100% green!
Just near me we had an energy company wanting to build wind turbines. The villages near here where up in arms, we had all night protests and women burning there bra's in the streets! lol
I find it crazy that we shouldn't want this kind of step forward. The alternative is nuclear or fossil fuel. But no the local "not in my backyard" folks get there way!
I'm affraid i'm of the opinion every step forward should be encouraged. When taking on a business you must find 100 things to improve by 1% and not 1 thing to improve by 100%. The world is the same.

I agree with Baa about building houses in peoples backyards. But what is the alternative? We can't just sit there and say no its not good enough, we need to have the answer (the answer must be economical, not the usual "make the goverment pay").

Baa don't worry about being over populated theres loads of room up here. hehe Just you have to have a northern accent else we won't let you in.

Everyone has there own opinions about the enviroment and usually they spend to much time arguing with each other.

There woud be some that would love Wallabys idea of getting the best use out of a car thats allready in service. Therefore she is kind of recycling this car. (correct me if i'm wrong on why you are doing it). There are other people that would say that buying a new car would give better efficency from its fuel with lower emmisions due to having a cat an using unleaded fuel better. Also it is made from an increaing number of recyclable parts, etc etc. We can't all be right but its never that clear cut. The main thing is that its a change in attitude.
I personally have 3 cars. An Audii tt quatro a volkswagen polo and a 3 seater Merc. So i'm probably the worst to challenge anyone on car usuage. Thats why i figure the above example is ok (i figure i'm impartial. lol)

I still think mass cullings of the population is the way forward. Anyone want to volunteer?

Well just keep the folks with blonde hair and blue eyes.... heheh

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Mike, do you have blonde hair and blue eyes?

If it's not a rude question, can I ask why you 'need' 3 cars? A 3 seater merc. sounds like a sports toy, and if I had the money I can't honestly say I wouldn't have a 3 seater sports too, but I don't think it would be a Merc.

Money is one of the main reasons I recycle cars, but I have always been an end user, if i can do it I prefer to get a bargain and keep the money for better purposes, but I now don't have that choice. It has always given me a certain satisfaction to do that anyway, I never have subscribed to the notion which dictates that what I have shows me to be a better person. I was stopped in a routine police check on the road side many years ago, when I had an old car which the metal decorative strips had been removed and filler put in, but not finished, at least it stopped the rust. The policeman said to me something to the effect that it was a patch-up job, my reply was that it passed the MOT, and it got me from A to B. He could say nothing else although I could tell he really wanted to, everything they checked was in order! My estimation of such people I prefer not to state here.

My car does have a cat, it does on average 37 miles to the gallon, it runs on unleaded fuel, and because the engine had a complete overhaul with pistons decoked etc., the engine is in effect like a new one and possible the emissions are less than many which are relatively new. This car is a Mazda 323 Fastback 1.6GLXi, if I had not bought it the only real option was to send it to the scrap yard, where it would have contributed to more scrap (of which the metal is recycled) and another vehicle would have had to be found, so I feel good about it! The only thing now is the cat. exhausts cost a lot of money to replace, so far so good, if a hole appears in the exhaust which can be welded that is what we do. Dimitri may not realise that cars rarely last 20 years here because of the salts on the roads when freezing, with the damp, they rot very easily and a Ministry of Transport health certificate for cars if required yearly, they are very strict. Sea salts I know can rot too, but in places like Austrlaia it's not uncommon to have a 20 year old car still in very good order.

Rannveig, you have your own set of problems by the sounds, although different to ours they are worrying to all. The use of land is always a worrying thing, here there are so many paddocks on the outskirts of Lincoln which are being used for housing I wonder where it will end. It does seem to have had the effect of stabilising house prices in this area in the last year, the average property rise in Lincolnshire was 0.7%, in the south and London over 12%, but figures are based on mortgages, where only 75% of properties are bought with a mortgage.

So as Dimitri has noted in his country, people move from other places where property prices are high and buy low, but still paying well above what the local people can afford. The house prices here have risen by around 3 times what they were in the space of 8 years, mostly due to people moving from the south. Wages have barely budged, a property costing 50,000 now would cost 150,000, and the wages here are much lower than in the south, a 50,000 property would be the maximum or more than many could afford.

What I wonder is how all the younger generation will find housing, council housing has been sold off, jobs are going to many from the rest of Europe who are flooding the country since the EU rules have allowed them to. I couldn't give the exact figures, but I do know that more than half a million Polish people have come here, will work for less money, then go home rich. What then happens to those here who have lost out in a job, and a house or can't afford to pay their mortgage because they have lost their job? I do know that many Uni graduates go to other countries to find work, but the same is hapening worldwide so what will we end up with? On top of all that, there will be many more old people to support than ever before, and less young people in work to support them. To add to the drama, many retired people are going to warmer climates to live, still drawing their pensions, but not spending their money in this country and adding to the taxes paid which would help pay for their pensions and medical care which they still expect.

We have had the rebuilding of a nation after wars, jobs once were plentiful, there was a population boom, and those who were fortunate enough to be in the time of plentiful jobs and are coming up to retirement are the lucky ones. Now there is a lull, the calm before the storm, what is ahead I do wonder. From history I can see that any nation which has been very successful usually ends up going downhill. It's a bit like watching shares go up, not selling because people want more, then watching them crash. The control of the shares rising in the first place was mostly manipulated by the big players in the game, who can control the prices by selling in huge amounts then buying when the price is low, so up they go, down they go, all the time the big players making profits. We are somehow being manipulated by the big players I think. It becomes an eternal circle, when one company goes elsewhere to make their products cheaper the rest have to follow to be able to compete. The Polish haven't all come here by their own will, they have been enticed by business people going to Poland and luring them with offers of riches.

A long tale added to a Xmas tree question I know, but everything has a knock-on effect, and by sharing what is going on does help others to understand our own set of circumstances.

Give me an island. Watchout Rannveig, we may all decide to move to Iceland!

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