November 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm #605658
Has anyone else seen the Westlake Christmas “Tree”?
It looks like one of those cheap spiral ones you buy at Walmart for your yard, except it’s MUCH bigger!
Who in the Sam hell decided to stop using REAL trees for a Seattle tradition!? Would they pull this sh*t in New York??
I am so steamed about this that I think I may make take this further. Does anyone have a problem with it?November 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm #778059
They “promoted” it as a sustainable tree with a light show that will probably rival the Great Wheel. Times they are a changing but I also remember the one a few years back where they had to add filler branches because it was so anemic and sad….November 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm #778060
No one cares about a light show. Like seriously. Christmas isn’t about light shows, in fact it’s not even about decorations, but within keeping up with traditions, we need to have a real tree or at least one that looks like a real tree.
I wonder if the citizens in this city care enough to fight for what we pay for…November 21, 2012 at 11:57 pm #778061
I’m no fake-tree fan but “we” didn’t pay for anything here, unless you are a co-owner of Westlake Center, which is a private shopping center.
The city owns Westlake Park across the street. – TRNovember 22, 2012 at 12:00 am #778062
Interesting. I was always under the impression that the Westlake Christmas Tree lighting was a city cost. You got me!November 22, 2012 at 12:02 am #778063
One, I’m thrilled that an artificial tree is being used instead of a big, real one. Farmed or not, cutting millions of trees a year for a single holiday is silly, unsustainable, and the epitome of waste. Personally, it saddens me to see the corpse of a majestic conifer tricked out like a holiday whore.
Second, I think that we, as citizens, have plenty of much, much more important things to “pay for” than downtown holiday decor. Like you said, Christmas is not about decorations.November 22, 2012 at 12:08 am #778064November 22, 2012 at 12:17 am #778065
It is nice to see that traditions mean something to you. I think maybe a letter telling them how you feel about the tree would be appropriate, but I doubt that it would change much this late in the game. Something like a petition would be extremely time consuming and would take a lot of time away from your new business.
If you find the tree at Westlake not to your liking then maybe purchasing a small potted tree and donating it and a few unbreakable ornaments to a family who cannot afford one might reaffirm your own traditions and allow them to create some of their own.November 22, 2012 at 1:07 am #778066
Don’t put away the tree stand yet.
Real vs. Artificial
I grew up with real trees and then switched to artificial when I moved here. I am thinking about revisiting that decision.November 22, 2012 at 4:56 am #778067
I’d say a real tree beats a fake tree: 1) They grow here with little prompting. They grow fairly fast and will colonize empty land. Like my front yard.
2) a real tree (up here, Oregon, Washington) is local and natural.
3) Once people think fake trees are preferable to real say good bye to all the tree farms near Pullayup, Enumclaw and Sumner and say hi to Ticky-tacky. Developers are a vacuum and will fill the void.November 22, 2012 at 5:04 am #778068
Went to the Westlake lighting a few years ago. Went to Purple for pre-funct then stood in personas until lighting…cool…til lighting…of the Charlie Brown tree. Could not believe how disappointed I was. Could look through branches. Sorry, not the city tree I’ve ever experienced. Haven’t gone back…but so want to.November 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm #778069
It’s good to think locally, but we also have to think globally. Loss of tree cover affects the entire planet, not just Seattle. Many living in the Pacific Northwest are under the impression that there are plenty of trees and lots of water. Wrong on both counts.
I’m not going to get into a long, dragged-out discussion – that happens every year here on the blog around the holidays. So, briefly:
The real vs. artificial argument is bogus, as those are not the only options – nor is a Christmas tree a necessity. Buy a potted tree and plant it later, or don’t buy one at all. Construct a tree-like decoration of selectively pruned branches.
The pro-tree farm lobby (which is where most of the ‘studies’ originate) claim that the growing trees are a boon to the environment and home to wildlife. Absolutely true. However, they NEVER, ever address the related consequences of several million of those trees suddenly being chopped down. If I’m understanding the science correctly, all the carbon sequestered by living trees is released again as they die. The net effect of having vast forests of semi-mature trees wiped out on an annual basis is not offset by having a few seedlings stuck in the ground.
For those who really want a gigantic, real tree display, it would not be that difficult to find one slated for removal due to disease or other valid reasons and cut that tree. After the weather this week, there are more than a few lying around.November 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #778070
I do understand protecting old growth, second and even third growth forests if they are in areas impacting habitat. Urban forests and green spaces are a particular interest for me. However, with the exception of certain species of trees, the practice of harvesting responsibly is not a bad thing. It can in fact help keep healthy forests intact.
I don’t advocate any clear cutting of mature forests or standing groves like many paper/wood product companies do or the slash and burning of pristine forests to grow Palm Oil trees. Tree farms (Not Forest, Urban or Natural) managed in a manner that is environmentally responsible are a different thing, so I am not sure just how large the harm is.
All growing matter decays and as it decays it will release the carbon contained within. Leaves, bark, the flowers planted in everyone’s gardens.
If anyone is uncomfortable with the cutting of Christmas trees, then a potted one is an option. Just make sure you have space to plant it or have someone who will take it. Remember the beautiful Blue Spruce in the pot becomes:
“A magnificent sight of silver blue-green spruce. Rated one of the most popular evergreens. It grows well while young and matures at 50-75′; 10′-20′ spread in the landscape, up to 135′ and 35′ spread in the wild.” Arbor Day Foundation
Since I referenced the Arbor Day Foundation, take a quick trip to their site and you will see a link to their Lodge which is built partly of wood. The pictures of the interior show the use of wood products in daily activity. I suspect they received their wood from sustainable practices, but in truth I have not asked them. You can also type in “sustainable” and review some interesting articles.
Another great read is at the National Geographic website. Click on tab and look for the “The Case of the Missing Carbon.”November 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm #778071
I suspect the word “sustainable” has become the new marketing buzzword, just like “natural” – and equally meaningless, for the most part.
Of course all growing matter decays and slowly releases carbon back into the environment as it does so. The key word is SLOWLY. The effect is clearly different than that of the equivalent of vast forests being decimated overnight on an annual basis.
Two other factors often overlooked are root systems and pesticides/herbicides. The roots of the felled trees hold about 50% of the carbon, which is released into the soil, then the atmosphere. And don’t forget the massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used on tree farms. Few of these operate organically, and most Xmas trees are sprayed heavily before sale. God forbid something living should actually emerge from the “live” tree traditionalist consumers insist on having! In recent years, warnings have been issued in regard to indoor air quality due to these chemicals, and the harmful effects on pets or children who may come in contact with them.
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