Subscription to Christmas
It's a shame. Really. Like clockwork, every year we get graced with new: iPhones, Call of Duty, vehicles, Marvel movies, and such. You know, just a plethora of new shit we only desire, and rarely ever need. This is when sustainability is used maliciously, as a means to sustain our gluttony.
I believe the majority of American's don't buy thing to keep anymore. Car leases are rising, renters are now commanding 37% of the real estate market, and most of our media entertainment and working software is based on a subscription model. Long gone are the pay once and own days.
So why are we like this? Is it because Americans are impulse buyers? No idea. Do we hate commitment? I do. Are we wasters? Probably. Do we just want the newest things to make ourselves feel better? Yes, yes we do. But all levity aside, I have no clue. I understand everyone's circumstances are different, so process this information with a grain of salt. If you want solid answers, ask an anthropologist or an economist or someone smart. I just get paid to turn my creative thinking into shapes, not volumes of useful data.
I wouldn't call myself a minimalist. I am more a simplistic. I keep a healthy routine and surround myself with a majority of items I need. Any ancillary "want items" I keep to a minimum. If I don't need something, it's very rare I will purchase it. I sure as shit don't keep duplicate items. And when a "want item" transforms into a "need item", I always make sure to recycle the old item. Always. So what's got me hot about this wasting and subscriptions? Christmas: the season of spending, wasting, and tree murdering.
Since 2004, an average of 28.75 million live Christmas trees per year were sold in the United States.
That's a shit load of trees being sold in a two month period. And even more shocking, Americans are not the ones who started this wasteful tradition. What originally started as a secular pagan tradition has grown into the behemoth market. Trees, shrubs and plants that remained green year round were sort of coveted as a symbol from the various sun gods.
Now you're probably thinking, "Michael, this is about winter, why are you talking about a sun god?" Great question. Since everything dies during the winter, evergreens are the sole shining light in a cold dark world. Egyptians, Romans, Vikings, and Druids all took evergreens as a reminder from the sun gods that soon everything will be green again. So they coveted them. Eventually in the 1800s, Martin Luther thought it would be great to chop one of these bad boys down, drag it inside his house, and throw some lights on it. Fast forward 200 years and here we are tying our fresh cut trees to the roofs of our SUVs.
Severed from its root life source, a freshly cut evergreen can consume up to a quart of water each day.
Trying their best to retain moisture, an evergreen fills it's pores with sap creating a scab on the base. Slowly the tree begins to lose life from the stem until the green needles turn brown and fall loosely to the floor. And then black silence. Merry Christmas. I sure hope your new iPad looked great under the tree.
Not only are you murdering a living tree, you're removing an oxygen source from the planet. On average a tree produces 260 pounds of oxygen a day. At 28 million trees, that's 7,280,000,000 pounds of oxygen being removed from the earth every Christmas season. Just wasted away. And in case you need a warm reminder, there is this little event happening called global warming. We need all the fresh oxygen we can get.
So am I an advocate for a plastic tree? No. Are people going to stop chopping live Christmas trees? No. Then what's the point of this? The point is too recycle; I just don't want to see us waste. As a wood artist, I cringe at the thought of a rotting Christmas tree. There has to be a way to utilize 28 million trees. So I've slept on it and arrived at a solution.
If I had a decent supply of money—actually, any money at all—I'd start a non-profit. I'd collect Christmas trees and turn them into useful items for people in need. Now you're probably questioning me again, "Michael, how are you going to collect all these trees?" Well it's simple really. You'll send them to me. It's so easy you see.
STEP 1: Use this common household item
STEP 2: To cut off your Christmas Tree limbs
Then the non-profit takes the trees and makes furniture, paper, and utensils for people in need. Shelters and benches for homeless. Sculptures for parks and cities. Wood canvases for school art programs. You know, stuff like that.
So money me, please.
Happy chopping this Christmas season.