8 billion trees, plus London Christmas Tree Rental. More rent-a-Christmas tree outlets, and climate change culture champion, Sarah Lazarovic.
8 Billion Trees, London Christmas Tree Rental, More Rent A Christmas Tree Outlets, Climate Change Culture Champion: Sarah Lazarovic
8 BILLION TREES
Speaking of trees, the website 8 Billion Trees states that up to 15 billion trees a year are cut down, and that’s just those lost to deforestation. According to the UN, deforestation is “the direct human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land” or “the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10 percent threshold.
The five major reasons for deforestation include farming (think soybean and palm oil plantations), grazing and feeding livestock, drilling and mining, wildfires, and urban sprawl.
Who are the folks behind 8 Billion Trees and why do they matter to us? 8 Billion Trees carries out large-scale tree planting and tree conservation operations two ways. They deploy funds toward massive public outreach and awareness. They also use those funds to partner with other tree planting groups, amplifying their ability to scale tree planting operations.
The group was founded in 2018, and according to its website, 8 Billion Trees has planted over 7.6 million trees and counting… There’s plenty on their website to educate yourself, so definitely worth the surf on over to 8billiontrees.com.
DEEPER DIVE: 8BillionTrees, FAO, Wikipedia
CLIMATE CHAMPION, LONDON CHRISTMAS TREE RENTAL
Let’s talk about a fantastic idea that keeps on giving, year after year. It’s called the London Christmas Tree Rental. It was founded in 2018 by Jonathan Mearns and Catherine Loveless. The two were doing what many of us urban dwellers do every new year, weave our way through the sidewalk maze of abandoned Christmas trees. Some destined for recycling, but some destined for the landfill.
They thought to themselves, “All of those trees sacrificed just for three weeks of pleasure? There’s got to be a better way to do Christmas trees.” They’re not wrong. According to their website, 7 million trees are bought and discarded annually in the UK alone. According to the Tatva, 120 million Christmas trees are cut down every year. That’s minus the fact that every Christmas tree isn’t sold either.
For London Christmas Tree Rental, the business model is simple. The customer orders a tree online in early December and then retrieves it from one of the company’s hubs. You place the tree lovingly in your home—away from heat sources—and slake its thirst with a pint of water daily. After the holidays, return the tree from whence it came, and the company returns it to their farm. Next year, do it all over again.
Why does this matter to us? Last year alone, it’s estimated that fires and storms destroyed close to one billion trees globally—in addition to the 1 billion lost to deforestation and logging. Plus scientific consensus agrees we’ve got to plant a trillion trees by 2030 to make a measurable impact on lessening the worst effects of climate change. In other words, in this day and age, renting Christmas trees makes much more sense than sacrificing them annually to the gods of Christmas commerce.
I’m merely saying rather than blindly following an outdated tradition started centuries ago for a reason long forgotten, why not update the tradition in a commonsense festive fashion that allows it to continue, keeps trees alive and also saves the climate?
DEEPER DIVE: London Christmas Tree Rental, Tatva, 8 Billion Trees
MORE RENT-A-CHRISTMAS TREE OUTLETS
Thankfully, London, England isn’t the only place where the good king Wenceslas in all of us can start a new hall decking tradition. If you live in the Golden State, you’re in luck. There’s one outfit in SoCal and another one up north. According to their website, The Living Christmas Company’s mission “to change the way California celebrates Christmas.”
According to Better Homes and Gardens, the company happened in 2012 after Scott Martin pitched the idea for The Living Christmas Co. to the investors on the reality show Shark Tank. They bit. And they became kind of a hit. But only if you live in southern California. That’s the bad news.
The good news is the company serves seven “zones” throughout LA and Orange counties.mThe company offers three tree options, Blue Spruce, Aleppo and Monterrey Pine.
But perhaps the progenitor of all of them is Rent a Living Christmas Tree. Monica and the late Roland Garcia started the company in 2009. Their renting program focuses on zero waste and employs a minimal footprint operation through efficiency and conservation.
Says Monica, “Preserving the natural resources of this part of our country was the inspiration for creating our tree renting program. Trees are a crucial element in creating clean air and supporting the ecosystem around us.”
Their service area spans California’s Central Valley, from Fremont south to Carmel-By-The-Sea.
DEEPER DIVE: RentXmasTree, LivingChristmas, BHG
CLIMATE CHANGE CULTURE CHAMPION, SARAH LAZAROVIC
I first encountered the work of SARAH LAZAROVIC while shopping for a writer to staff The Climate Daily (BTW, if you’re a solutions-oriented, climate change writer/reporter, there’s a position open here). After reading her work for Yes!, a solutions journalism online magazine, I became a fan.
Lazarovic is an award-winning artist, creative director, freelance animator and filmmaker, and journalist, covering news and cultural events in comic form. She’s also the author of a weekly newsletter called, Minimum Viable Planet. It’s a part comic strip, part graphic novella, all-funny weekly “commentary about climateish stuff,” and how she manages to keep it all together in a world gone mad.
In her latest missive (as of this episode drop), Sarah explains why it’s becoming increasingly affordable to decarbonize our home by electrifying previously natural gas-fed appliances. She also waxes political on why the natural gas industry is hell-bent on “gaslighting” us the consumers in the face of natural gas appliance obsolescence.
Sarah’s prose is good. Her illustrations are funny. And her cultural references (see her link to the comedian Samantha Bee’s video “Why Your Gas Stove is Killing You!”) are spot on. The newsletter is subscription-based, but if you click on “Let me read it first”, you’ll be taken to “an undepressing newsletter about how to fight the climate crisis” for free, like I did. Just until my boss gives me a raise, though.
Or visit TheClimate.org/episodes and click on the links in the Deeper Dive section of this story to get a whiff of Sarah Lazarovic’s, “Minimum Viable Planet” and the Samantha Bee sketch, too.
DEEPER DIVE: MVP, Samantha Bee, Yes! Magazine