Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Funny

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all a very Safe, Happy and Green 2013!

The Flying McCoys by Glenn and Gary McCoy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tree Thursday - Southern Red Cedar

Southern Red Cedar
Juniperus silicicola

Growing up in South Alabama, one of our family Christmas traditions was to dig up a Southern Red Cedar tree from the woods and use it as our Christmas tree.  Starting at the beginning of deer season, my father would keep his eye open for the ‘perfect’ tree.   Around the middle of December, we would go dig the tree up and ‘pot’ it to be decorated.  Unfortunately, the branches aren’t as sturdy as the other tree species used as Christmas trees, and some of the ornaments drooped.  I remember there were times I was embarrassed by our tree but now as I look back, it was very cool.  The coolest thing was that after Christmas was over, we planted the tree in our yard.  My mom still lives there and every time I visit I can see Christmas trees from my childhood.
The Southern Red Cedar is not actual cedar trees but in the Juniper family.   Red cedars are frequently used as living screens. They grow fast and have very dense foliage with the lower branches often persisting to ground level. Closely spaced trees can form a visual barrier within just a couple years of setting out and rarely need any pruning. They are useful as windbreaks and shelterbelts.  While South Florida is a south of the natural range for these trees, they do grow here and there are examples throughout Broward County. 
Pencil wood is usually made from red cedars and a thriving pencil manufacturing industry once populated the Gulf Coast of the southeastern U.S. where red cedars grew (and still do) in abundance. The industry was severely impacted by the invention of the ball-point pen. The red, aromatic wood (apparently not liked by clothes moths) is used for cedar chests and closets. The wood is resistant to rot and sometimes used for fence posts. Native Americans made bows from the wood. They also inhaled smoke from the cones, twigs, roots and wood for the treatment of colds and coughs. Juniper oil from the “berries” is used to flavor gin. Birds relish the mature female cones (called “juniper berries”) which persist into winter.
The Southern Red Cedar is a densely-foliated, wide pyramidal, columnar or oval evergreen grows fairly quickly, ultimately reaching heights up to 40 feet with a 25-foot spread. Some individual plants grow wider than tall as they grow older. Some botanists do not make a distinction between Juniperus silicicola and Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar). Its fine-textured, medium green leaves and drooping branchlets help to soften the rather symmetrical, oval juvenile form. Mature specimens of Southern Red cedar take on a flat-topped, almost windswept appearance, making them very picturesque. Bark and trunk on older specimens take on a delightful, `old-tree' look.
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: high

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Tis the Season to be Green

‘Tis the Season to be Green

2011 December 13
By Elias Rodriguez 
Ho-Ho-Ho! The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is up and New York City is bustling with “busy sidewalks, city sidewalks” filled with holiday cheer! The Big Apple during the holidays is right up there with Philadelphia on July 4th and Mexico on Cinco de Mayo. I mean, if holiday shopping is your thing, NYC is the epicenter of consumerism. It is more blessed to give than to receive, for sure, but since we are on the subject of shopping, let’s pause for a Green idea that will not break your budget. 
An enormous amount of consumer household waste ends up in landfills each year. EPA states that the volume of household waste in the United States generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – about 1 million extra tons. Have you noticed how much material it takes to keep that Barbie doll looking poised and cute until it’s time to unwrap the little darling? 
As a parent who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, my own To Do list is rather lengthy. What toys require batteries and how do I plan to properly dispose of the old batteries? Which baubles have minimal packaging and how do I sort the waste materials that can be recycled. How can I re-use gift wrapping paper and those garish holiday gift bags? If I have any big ticket items to purchase, have I searched for the ENERGY STAR seal of approval to identify energy efficient products? If you celebrate the holidays with a tree, check with your local solid waste department and see what the plan is to place it curbside or bring it to the designated collection area for the mulch machine!
Reducing waste during the holiday season begins with you. Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

'Tis the Season: Know What's in your Candy

‘Tis the Season: Know What’s in your Candy
2012 December 3
By Marcia Anderson
A few weeks ago, while visiting Montefiore Hospital, in the Bronx, for a conference on lead poisoning, we were shocked to learn of some very dangerous imported candies that have been recalled.  So close to the holidays, I felt it prudent to get more information on these products and pass along the warning.
The potential for children to be exposed to lead from imported candy has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings on the availability of lead-contaminated candy and to develop tighter guidelines for manufacturers, importers and distributors of imported candy. Check the wrappers: Candies with elevated lead levels appear to primarily from Mexico, Malaysia, China, India, Central and South America.
Why might lead be present in imported candy? Lead sometimes gets into the candy when processes such as drying, storing and grinding the ingredients are done improperly. Also, lead has been found in the wrappers of some imported candies. The ink of these plastic or paper wrappers may contain lead that leaches into the candy. These candies may not have an unusual taste; in fact, many forms of lead found in candies have a sweet taste.
Why does this seem to be a problem with imported candy, rather than candy that is produced in the United States?Candies produced domestically are subject to inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state agencies to ensure that the ingredients used, and the manufacturing processes employed, produce a product that is safe and unadulterated. Some other countries may not be taking this much care.
What to do if you believe you or your child may have eaten candies that contain lead? See your health care provider. He or she can perform a blood test to see whether you or your child has been exposed to lead and, if so, recommend treatment options. Most adults and children with elevated blood lead levels do not have any symptoms. As blood lead levels increase so does the effects of lead on health.
What is the health risk from eating candy with unsafe levels of lead? Lead poisoning continues to be the most common and serious environmental health threat to children under the age of six. Lead poisoning can harm a child’s nervous system and brain when he or she is still developing, making it difficult  to learn, pay attention and perform well in school. Lead poisoning can cause problems such as lower IQ, hyperactivity, impaired growth, and behavior problems. Lead exposure can also cause kidney damage, anemia, increased blood pressure, and more. Remember: The EPA has concluded that no amount of lead is safe for a child.
About the author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tree Thursday - Melaleuca

Melaleuca (Punk Tree, Paper Tree)
Melaleuca quinquenervia

If Santa has a naughty tree list,  melaleuca trees would definitely be on it (at least in South Florida).  Melaleuca is an invasive, non-native tree that was brought from Australia to South Florida in the early 1900s.  Melaleuca was believed to have a high evapotranspiration rate, so it was thought that melaleuca forests would dry up the wetlands.  This sounds pretty ludicrous to us now, since we understand the importance of wetlands, but back then that would just lead to more land that could be developed! 

Since melaleuca had no natural enemies in South Florida, the tree spread like crazy (highly technical term, please let me know if you need it explained). Seeds were scattered from airplanes over the Everglades in the 1930s to facilitate the rapid establishment of melaleuca forests.  The prolific trees grow so close together that most native vegetation is squeezed out in the competition for water, sunlight, and nutrients.  A typical melaleuca tree produces thousands of seed pods, which burst open after periods of stress such as fire, flood, or almost any other disturbance.  A melaleuca tree can produce up to 20 million seeds annually. The species had invaded nearly a half-million acres in South Florida by 1994, including significant acreage within the Everglades.  Since the 1980s, there has been a concerted effort to slow the spread and remove the melaleuca trees from the Everglades.  Millions of dollars have been spent in treatments and research.  Slowly, wetlands within the Everglades are starting to be reclaimed and restored.  You can still see thick stands of melaleuca trees if you go to the western parts of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.  Right now, the trees are in bloom and you can’t miss the smell. 

In a letter I received from the grand-daughter of one of the men that introduced the melaleuca trees to South Florida, she explained her grandfather  thought a market would develop for the oils, sometimes referred to as tea oils.  Many products contain melaleuca or tea oils, but the trees in South Florida don’t seem to product enough oil to be viable opportunity.   The wood of the tree isn’t very useful for anything but mulch.  Most melaleuca mulch is created from removing trees from wetlands, so buy as much as you need! 

Below are pictures of melaleuca flowers, leaves and mature trees. 

For More information:

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tips for Sustainable Giving

Okay, some of these are a repeat from yesterday’s thought but if you are like me, sometimes it takes hearing (or reading) it a few times before it really sinks in.

Tips for Sustainable Giving

Here are some ideas for giving without taking from the planet.

It's the thought that counts, and the personal touch makes any gift more meaningful and memorable. You can give more while spending less.

Services instead of Goods

Gifts of service require little or no use of natural resources, and are very personal and memorable. The gift of You - your time, energy or expertise are as 'giftworthy' as anything you can put in a box. Massage, music lessons, childcare, car wash, dogwalk, lawncare, tutoring, cooking, gardening, a book of coupons for household chores....

Experiences to enjoy and remember
Giving the gift of an experience can bring fun, learning and memories that hold value for years. For example, tickets to a show or concert can offer lasting value with minimal impact on resources. Sports events, local attractions, rock-climbing centers, ice-rink memberships, and museum memberships are other examples. Experiences can be other than 'entertainment' - for example, a membership to a car-sharing club in your city, or a garden plot in a local community garden.

Antiques and Collectibles

Value and appeal don't always have to mean 'new and shiny'. Antiques and collectibles have the added appeal of history and sentimental value.

Personal gifts tell a story. And because they're "re-used", there's no impact on the environment.

Found Objects

We all have our little treasures, our discoveries from nature. An unusual shell, crystal, wood burl, arrowhead, bone, shark tooth..... Over time we get used to seeing them and our interest wanes. Pass them on as a gift and they'll be "rediscovered" with enthusiasm, and impart their reminder of nature's wonder once again.

Homemade is heartfelt. Your time and energy, and culinary creativity, are just as valued as that store-bought gift which they may not really even need. Your time spent in the kitchen is probably no more than the time spent gift-hunting online or at the mall. The result is most personal, and easy on the environment.

Flower Power

Gifts you can grow. Unique varieties can be raised in your small home plot, and make interesting, appealing gifts which anyone can use. Homegrown or store-bought, cut flowers or potted plants - the result is the same: eye catching, earth easy and rich with sentiment.
When buying flowers, choose from 'in season' locally grown varieties. The maintenance of greenhouses and long-distance transportation to provide summer flowers in winter can involve significant expenditures of energy, coming from fossil fuels.
(When buying potted plants, think of something that can be planted outside!)

"Used" Gifts
It's time to look at "used" in a new light.
Giving a used gift was once out of the question - it made the gift-giver feel cheap. And no one wants to risk offending the recipient. But used gifts are the kindest of all to the environment, as no energy or resources are expended.
There are some areas where used items can be appropriate as gifts, however, and the list grows with the steady accumulation of goods in our consumer society. Used computers, for example, can be refurbished and upgraded. Or consider vintage clothing, books and CD's, bikes, sports equipment, tools, cameras, children's toys and clothes. Used musical instruments are especially appropriate in this regard, as they often hold their value and appeal for a long time.
If you're still a bit uneasy with the concept, write a note on the gift card.
"We know how you love nature......this gift comes to you at no expense to the environment."

Think outside the box. Or use the box.
Not every gift has to be store-bought. A little imagination can go a long way. For example, a large cardboard box can be a lot of fun to a small child. The bigger the better. Give them markers and stickers to decorate their box creation; help them by cutting openings where they suggest.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sustainable Gift-Giving

While the economy is much better than it was in December 2009, I still believe there’s great value in what is said in this article.  There’s still merit in “breaking with tradition and laying off the stuff.”  Giving an experience, helping those in need and handmade gifts have a lot of lasting value and do help the economy. 

Waste Less This Gift-Giving Season

posted by Dave Chameides Dec 2009

With the holiday season upon us (or so the circulars tell me) I thought I’d devote today’s column to gift giving. Let’s face it folks, for a lot of us, its not going to be the big present year that we were hoping for. The economy is in the gutter, year-end bonuses have gone with it, and many people are trying to figure out what to do for the holidays.
For starters, let’s all take a deep breath, grab some couch, and think about the gifts that we have given and received in the past few years. Can you remember what you got last year? How about the year before? Can you remember what you gave someone eight years ago? If you’re like me, you basically have no clue.
Now, sit back, close your eyes for a minute, and think back to the first time you had dinner with your spouse, your child’s first school play, or the last time your entire family was together (well, maybe some don’t want to recall that one). If one of those specifics doesn’t apply, pick one that does. Does it make you smile when you think of it? Can you recall specifics of the particular event or happening? If you are like me, the answer to that question is yes because interpersonal experiences tend to hold much more long-term value than any plastic wrapped soon to break thing ever can.
So this year, how about breaking with tradition and laying off the stuff?
Instead of that new doll, electronic video game or stereophonic hi fidelity music replicator, why not give someone the gift of an experience. A lot of people have called me on the fact that if everyone stopped buying, the economy would collapse, and they might be right (I never really understood economics past my piggy bank so I’m assuming). Thankfully, giftless giving is a great way to bolster your local economy (emphasis on local there) and still keep yourself out of the whole production cycle.
 Give someone a class that they never would have bought for themselves. I have an odd dream of someday learning to play the entire E.L.O. catalog on the bagpipes but for some reason have never looked into lessons. How psyched would I be if my wife read this and sent some kilt wearing Scotsman by the house to teach me how to play “Wild West Hero” (can someone please send this to the missus for me)?
• Clean up someone’s junk mail by signing them up for a junk mail reduction service. There are plenty of companies to take care of this for you, like Greendimes, who will actually plant five trees for you while they are at it. How cool is that? Eradicate their junk mail and plant some trees in their name–two gifts in one!
• Help someone else in the name of those you care about. By supporting a cause in someone else’s name, you not only help someone else, but you involve your recipient in creating a better world, and perhaps turn them onto something they might not have known about before. We send out a holiday e-card every year and let people know that we have made a micro-loan through Kiva to someone in a developing country. These loans (as small or large as you’d like them to be) help others pull themselves out of the poverty cycle by allowing them to build businesses. We link the newsletter to the actual persons page and the following year update everyone on how we did. Since we started this, every year we have been able to write that the loan we made the previous year was successfully paid back and then invest it in the next person. It’s a great way to share the holiday spirit and involve people in something good.
• Make something. Make a painting, a sculpture, dinner, their bed–whatever it is you think they might like. This is a much more personal way to show someone you care and has the added benefit of potentially costing little to no money.
These are just a few ideas and as always, I’m interested in hearing yours. The important point in all of this is that we show those that we love how much we care about them by NOT adding to the consumption/waste cycle. Let people know that you have strayed from the norm this year (whatever that is) and let them know why. My guess is they’ll appreciate it and you all the more.
Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. "Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."

Monday, December 10, 2012

The "greenest" Christmas Tree?

From Julie’s Health Club Blog by Julie Deardorff
November 27, 2008

Christmas trees: Real vs. artificial vs. eco-friendly

Which tree should you buy?
It may be the season of kindness and generosity, but there's a civil war raging within the Christmas tree industry.
Artificial tree lovers have been known to perpetuate the myth that once-living Christmas trees contribute to deforestation.
Tree farmers love to point out that the first artificial Christmas trees resembled large green toilet bowl brushes. And a third side -- which splintered off from the tree farmers -- says the best tree to buy is one that has been raised in an environmentally conscious manner.
We wouldn't dream of telling you what kind of tree to buy; that decision is as personal as whether to have a tree at all. But we can give you a few pros and cons to consider before making a purchase.
PROS: An alternative for those with allergies or asthma. Some people are allergic to terpene, the substance found in the oil or sap of Christmas trees, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Durable. They last about six years.
Affordable. They're generally cheaper than cut trees because you can use them more than once. Trees with polyethylene (PE) needles are more expensive than polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Some come with warranties.
Easier to assemble and maintain. Instant Plaid Pull-up Trees ($179) come with decorations in place. Simply pull the tree up over a metal stand and plug it in. Plastic trees don't shed their needles and don't need to be cared for.
No risk of a Charlie Brown tree. Artificial trees come in an astonishing array of sizes and appearances. Pre-lit trees save time in assembly, take-down and have been credited for reducing domestic squabbles.
Gigantic carbon footprint. Artificial trees are usually made from petroleum and shipped from China; the pole and branches are primarily made of steel while the needles are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), also known as vinyl, or polyethylene (PE).The American Christmas Tree Association sponsored a study that shows artificial trees are healthier for the environment over a 10-year period due to the costs of transporting a real tree from a lot to someone's home. Still, some beg to differ. "That's absurd," said Rick Dungey of the National Christmas Tree Association. "How big is the carbon footprint of the cargo ship that carried the fake tree across the Pacific ocean? OR the 18 wheeler that carried it froma port on the Pacific Coast to a store in Chicago.?"
PVC is not biodegradable. If incinerated, the PVC in the trees emits dioxins and other carcinogens. The manufacture of PVC also creates dioxins. Major retailers including Target and Toys "R" Us are phasing out products with PVC.
Lead is often used as a PVC stabilizer. Lead, a toxic metal that can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, is more dangerous for children. University of North Carolina researchers tested the lead content in branches, on hands after contact and in dust under the tree. They found that "while the average artificial Christmas tree does not present a significant exposure risk, in the worst-case scenario a substantial health risk to young children is quite possible."
No natural scent. Some people solve this by using aerosol sprays or pine-scented air fresheners, but the fumes from most products contain dozens of chemicals, including several classified as toxic or hazardous, according to a University of Washington study.
More environmentally friendly than artificial trees. An estimated 40 million to 45 million trees were planted in 2008 in North America, according to the National Christmas Tree Association ( The tree farms provide habitat for wildlife, remove dust and pollen from the air and absorb carbon dioxide. Plus they smell good.
Renewable and recyclable. Most tree farms plant one to three trees for every one that is cut. The branches and trees can be ground into mulch. Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelters, according to the University of Illinois Extension. To find a tree recycler, go to or
Can be locally produced.
Hardy. Tree farms are often placed in areas that would otherwise be unusable, such as barren slopes or areas under power lines.
Pesticide use. Christmas trees require several applications of chemicals to control pests and speed growth. While the chemical residue on cut trees is minimal, the pesticides used in Christmas tree production have been detected in groundwater or well water. Both pyrethroids and the more toxic class of organophosphates are used on Christmas trees. Pyrethroids are responsible for a growing number of human poisoning incidents involving pesticides in the U.S., according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.
Higher maintenance. You have to haul the tree home, put the darn thing up and water it. And the needles can fall off.
You can't always get what you want. Most consumers want a thick, full tree, but you're at the mercy of the suppliers. Sparse Charlie Brown trees with short needles are becoming more popular, according to the NCTA, but less sheared trees are often harder to find.
These cut trees have similar pros and cons to regular real trees with the following differences:
Trees are certified. An independent party evaluates growers on several criteria, including erosion control/soil conservation, integrated pest management (IPM) and tributary protection, said Joe Sharp, president and founder of the Coalition of  Environmentally Conscious Growers.
Trees grown with minimal chemicals. Ladybugs, for example, which keep aphids and mites under control, are one of a Christmas tree's best friends. IPM principles also stress worker health, biodiversity and education.
Shipping costs. Environmentally responsible trees found at Menards come from Oregon -- closer than China but farther than Illinois.
Slightly more expensive. Price depends on the species but "ours might be a few dollars more," said Sharp.
Even eco-friendlier
    * Decorate a houseplant.
    * Buy a potted tree that can be planted in your yard after the holidays
    * String up lights on a tree in your front yard.
    * Build your own wooden tree.

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Funny

The Other Coast by Adrian Raeside

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tree Thursday - A Guide to Christmas Tree Species

Okay, this one might be a little late (save it for next year).  Next week we’ll look at the debate on which is more environmental-friendly - living or artificial Christmas trees. 

A Guide to Christmas Tree Species

Choose the Variety of Christmas Tree that Best Suits Your Needs

There are many different species of trees that people use as Christmas trees. Each differs a little from the others in certain of its typical characteristics. Which is the best for you will be a function of many factors, including how long you intend to use the tree, how much you wish to spend, and matters of aesthetic taste in color, fragrance, shape, etc.
There's also the factor of availability. Obviously not every species of Christmas tree will be readily available to you where you happen to live. But a few calls to local Christmas tree farms and lots should give you an idea of what your choices are. Here are a few of the more popular species:
1. Balsam Fir
The balsam fir is one of the longest lasting of Christmas trees when properly cared for, retaining its needles and pleasing scent. The tree is dark green, sometimes with a silvery tint. The needles are flat in shape, and range from less than an inch to 1.5 inches long. The branches are flexible and airy, and may not be able to hold your heavier ornaments.
2. Colorado Blue Spruce
The Colorado blue spruce ranges from dark green to a light powdery or grayish blue in color. The tree has a pleasing pyramidal shape, and the limbs are strong enough to hold heavy ornaments. Its needle retention is fairly good, though heat will cause the tree to shed more rapidly. The main drawback to this tree is its needles. The needles are 1 to 3 inches long, and stiff and sharp enough to scratch if not handled carefully. They emit a bad odor when crushed.
3. Concolor or White Fir
The concolor fir has an attractive shape and pleasing aroma. When young, the trees have a bluish tint, becoming a more dull green as they age. The tree's needle retention is good. The needles range from less than an inch to 1.5 inches long, are pointed or notched at the top, and line up neatly in rows around the limb.
4. Douglas Fir
The Douglas fir is dark green to blue in color, with good needle retention. The needles are 1 to 1.5 inches long, soft, and emit a sweet fragrance when crushed. Some people find the tree awkward to decorate when trimmed to the traditional conical shape, with too little space between limbs.
5. Fraser Fir
The Fraser fir has an excellent Christmas tree shape. The limbs are slightly upturned and sturdy, and there is a bit of space between them, so it is ideal for hanging ornaments, including heavy ornaments. The tree is dark blue or silvery to green in color, with a pleasant scent. It has excellent retention of its 1 inch long needles.
6. Grand Fir
The grand fir is a common Christmas tree in Idaho and Montana, and to a lesser extent in Oregon and Washington and other states. It is a glossy, dark green color, soft, with branches that are not sturdy enough to hold some heavy ornaments. It has very good needle retention, with needles that are 1 to 1.5 inches long.
7. Leyland Cypress
The Leyland cypress is a common Christmas tree in the American South, dark green in color, becoming more bluish or grayish green as it ages. It has long, thin branches, not the strongest for heavy ornaments. It has excellent needle retention, with short, soft, pointed needles less than an inch long. The needles have a pleasant aroma when crushed, but otherwise the tree has little fragrance, plus because it is not a pine or fir it does not produce sap like most Christmas trees, and so may be a good choice for people with certain allergies.
8. Noble Fir
The noble fir is a deep green color, with upward turning branches that expose the lower branches. The branches are also stiff enough to hold heavy ornaments, so overall it's one of the better Christmas trees for decorating. It's a visually pleasing tree, its branches often being used for wreaths and garland. It has 1 to 1.5 inch long needles, with very good needle retention.
9. Norway Spruce
The Norway spruce, a popular choice of Christmas tree in Europe, is not native to the Americas but has been introduced to the northeastern United States and Canada. The tree is dark green in color, with a reddish bark and droopy branchlets. Its needles are a half inch to an inch long. It has the worst needle retention of any tree commonly used as a Christmas tree. It is unlikely to last more than one to two weeks before it sheds considerably.
10. Scotch Pine
The Scotch pine is the species of tree used most often for Christmas trees in the United States. It is one of the longest lasting of Christmas trees, with needles that rarely drop even if the tree is allowed to dry out. It is bright green in color, with a pleasant aroma. The needles are about 1 inch long, ridged, and can be sharp enough to scratch, so handle it with care. The branches are strong enough for heavy ornaments, though there is sometimes not a lot of room between branches to decorate the tree.
11. Virginia Pine
The Virginia pine is a small to medium size tree with thick branches and extremely dense foliage, strong enough to hold heavy ornaments. It is another very popular Christmas tree in the South. The tree is dark green in color, with a pleasant fragrance. It has excellent needle retention and will last longer than most Christmas trees. It has a small base that fits nicely into a stand. Its needles are 1.5 to 3 inches long, with an interesting, unusual twisted appearance.
12. White Pine
The white pine is bluish-green (not white) in color, and is the largest species of pine tree in the United States. It has little aroma, so it may be a good choice for people with allergies. The tree has good needle retention, with long needles of 2.5 to 5 inches long. The needles are soft, feathery and flexible, the limbs not quite as sturdy as some trees, so not the best choice if you intend to hang heavy ornaments. It tends to be a lush, full tree, so there's not as much space to hang items as on some other species.
13. White Spruce
The white spruce is also a pleasing bluish-green (not white). Its needle retention is quite good. It has sturdy limbs, with stiff, short needles less than in inch long with a blunt tip. What many find to be its primary drawback is that when the needles are crushed, they release an unpleasant odor.
Marie Iannotti, "Choosing Your Christmas Tree."
Coral Nafie, "Top 10 Choices for Christmas Trees."
"Tree Species Characteristics." National Christmas Tree Association.

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

At the Heart of Climate Change

Something to ponder (Highlights are mine)…
At the Heart of Climate Change

Ted Burnett

At the heart of the climate change debate is the American economy -- in its current form and size, its role in our nation and in the world and how any changes to it will impact businesses, shareholders, the worker, consumers and the ability of our governments. Reducing greenhouse gases means either increasing efficiencies in energy use through new "green" technology, which is a short-term solution to a long-term problem, or by changing society's values from one that's built heavily on "wants," on consumption and materialism to a "needs-based" economy that puts a greater value on living more simply and in harmony with one another and the environment. America is built-out from coast to coast.
Everyone that wants a place to call home either pays a mortgage or rent or lives in government housing. All these dwellings have utilities (power, water and sewer), furniture, electronics (TV, radio...), appliances, a closet full of clothes and food in the refrigerator and cupboard. Most have some form of transportation sitting in the driveway or out on the street. In truth, Americans need little else, but trying convincing any man, woman or child whose drug of choice, whose "wants" is consuming more and more of the above to dull their pain and suffering with their latest purchase.
Our addiction to stuff is both destructive and self-destructive. A society that's addicted is also by nature in denial. We refuse to face the truth about our addictions, our dependency on this artificial way of life and America's direct contribution to climate change. Having built-out America, our jobs and the factories have moved overseas to new markets where these products can be produced more cheaply and delivered on those same continents and to us.
America's great struggle is moving from a growth-oriented nation to one that's more sustainable, humble and realistic about its needs and wants for the next century or two without self-destructing, in the process. This requires wisdom, which is in short supply, both, in our society and in Washington. It will only occur by taking the time to learn what all previous empires have failed to heed from their predecessors about how to transition successfully from adolescents into adulthood and maturity.

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!