Is it green to cut down a Christmas tree?

by Brian Roewe

NCR environment correspondent

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With Christmas only days away, many environmentalists may be asking themselves: Was it ok to cut down a real Christmas tree this year? Eco-blogger Pablo Paster at attempted to provide an answer for the eco-conscious this holiday season.

Paster sought his answer by comparing the environmental impact of fake trees versus real trees. Among the things he considers are the materials used to make artificial trees, the carbon emissions output of each type and the transportation each tree takes in its journey to your family's living room.

Not wanting to spoil the outcome, you can check out Paster's conclusion here - the answer may surprise you.

Filipino bishop: reduce ‘holitrash’ this holiday

No matter what type of tree you have, chances are a mound of shredded wrapping paper awaits beneath it. That’s why a Filipino bishop and ecological group team up to encourage its citizens to “temper their trash” this Christmas season.

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez Jr. of Caloocan City, in the northern islands group of Luzon, and the EcoWaste Coalition urged Filipinos to recycle and reduce their “holitrash,” as well as share meals, according to GMA News Network, in the Philippines.

“Recycling is a practical gift that we all can give our Mother Earth during this joyful season of love and hope,” said Iniguez, head of the public affairs unit of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The article offers tips to limit holitrash, such as avoiding plastic bags and excessive wrapping and recycling non-biodegradable products.

The bishop’s message isn’t one exclusive to the Philippines, or even the Christmas season. People everywhere can take these steps to limit waste and make better use of the planet’s resources.

In other environmental news ...

While many Filipinos will spend Christmas with family and friends, others will continue piecing together their lives and homes in the wake of Typhoon Sendong. Yesterday, NCR posted a story on the response of Catholic agencies to aid those left homeless in the flooding over the weekend.

A new type of food bank in Portland, Ore., has helped many families with a hand-up, not a hand out, says Christianity Today magazine. You can check out an NBC Nightly News report on Birch Community Services at the center's website. (second link in the list)

The Christian Science Monitor examines each of the GOP presidential candidates' positions on environmental issues.

The December issue of BioCycle features Boston as a leading U.S. city on climate change. The interview describes many of the city’s green initiatives, including implementing a successful bike sharing program.

Media Matters for America named Rush Limbaugh their Climate Change Misinformer of the Year.

A new study suggests changes in climates not only shifts seasonal habits of animals, but humans as well. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study indicates a relationship exists between climate change and earlier peak attendance days at several U.S. national parks.

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