In Costa Rica, the Christmas season always brings tamales, eggnog, presents and lights. It also means enormous amounts of waste, as it does around the world. Leftover food and discarded wrapping paper all makes it way into the trash, but one of the biggest holiday eco-threats comes not from holiday excess, but rather the traditional Christmas tree.“There is nothing strictly wrong with having a Christmas tree,” said Jorge Polimeni, head of the Costa Rican conservation organization Costa Rica Neutral, “but the number of trees bought each year generates a pretty significant impact on the planet.”According to Protti, acres of land throughout the mountainous provinces of San José and Heredia are cordoned off all year long to fill the sudden demand for pine trees come December. Worldwide, studies have linked Christmas tree farms to stream pollution, soil contamination and a reduction in the amount of arable land available for agriculture, all to produce a product that is only used for a few weeks.Despite these issues, Christmas tree farms generate a much smaller impact than other forms of agriculture, and buying a real tree has been proven to have a much smaller ecological footprint than purchasing a fake plastic one produced in a factory. The real problem with a natural tree is not in its production, but its disposal. Stuck in a landfill, the carbon footprint of a standard-sized tree is about 16 kg. Burning or composting a tree generates less carbon, but still makes an impact.So, how can you still celebrate this Christmas tradition without generating an impact?Polimeni recommends using a potted tree as a Christmas tree, keeping it alive for years to be re-used. For those without the green thumb required to keep a tree alive, a business in Cartago, East of the capital, has come up with another solution.“It worries us all the time that Christmas comes and everyone buys a pine tree and then everyone throws it away,” said Maria Alexandra Sanchéz, owner of Re-inventando Muebles in Cartago, east of the capital. “We wanted to do something ecological and use it over and over.”Traditional plastic trees sometimes use harmful chemicals, and the factory processes used to create them often consume large amounts of electricity. To avoid these problems, Sánchez has created a line of trees using only reclaimed and recycled wood. She and her daughter scour roadsides and abandoned houses or buy used pallets from companies planning to burn them.“This is just our little contribution to this bigger problem,” she said. “It’s just a little grain of sand in a whole beach, but we hope it can help the planet.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Dancer who lost a leg in Boston Marathon bombing finds solace in Costa Rican scuba diving Former US President Bill Clinton lauds Costa Rica, urges students to make most of their futures Costa Rica’s climate pledge: 5 things to know Tire mosquito trap could boost Zika control
Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Sponsored Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee has issued a subpoena to the White House budget office about a new State Department security training facility.At issue is the administration’s plan to build a brand new facility at a military base in Virginia, rather than a potentially less costly project at an existing law enforcement training center in Georgia that’s run by the Department of Homeland Security. Republicans suspect that the White House’s Office of Management and Budget believes that using the Georgia facility would cost significantly less.The panel, chaired by California Republican Rep. Ed Royce, asked for White House studies regarding the two projects but was refused. That prompted the subpoena, which demands documents and cost studies by Tuesday afternoon.Royce said in a statement that OMB staff has told his aides that the budget agency recommended going with the Georgia option, but the Obama administration has apparently ignored the analysis.“I am disappointed that OMB hasn’t provided the committee its analysis so that the Congress can make informed and responsible policy decisions in this critical area,” Royce said. “In light of OMB’s continued refusal, I am left with no choice but to issue this subpoena.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top holiday drink recipes
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in its annual report released today, characterizes the global economy as one of “relatively fast growth in developing countries, driven by strong global demand originating mainly in the United States and amplified by the rapid expansion of the large Chinese economy.” The report finds little evidence of a looming major financial crisis, comparable to the Asian or Latin American crises of 10 years ago. It notes that many developing countries are now less vulnerable to big shocks because they have stabilized their exchange rates at low levels and are running sizeable current-account surpluses and accumulating large amounts of dollar reserves. That approach poses a problem, however, because it “can only function as long as there is at least one country in the global economy that accepts running the corresponding trade deficit,” the report says. That country, the US, has become overburdened in its role as “global engine for growth.” UNCTAD economists fear that, at some point, American demand will no longer be able to act as a bulwark against worldwide deflation and recession. They add that other key industrial countries have not only failed to play their part, but have actually added to the US’ burden by running up huge surpluses of their own. They say countries like Japan and Germany must increase their domestic demand to prevent a sharp devaluation of the American dollar that could send shocks reverberating throughout the developing world. The report notes that China’s surging domestic demand and imports have played a positive and vital role in spreading and sustaining global growth. To prevent that process from being derailed, its currency, the renminbi, should not be revalued too quickly. UNCTAD economists say that redressing global imbalances requires a responsible multilateral effort rather than pressure on the developing world. “A well-coordinated international macroeconomic approach would considerably enhance the chances of poorer countries being able to preserve and continue recent improvements in their growth performances,” the report notes.
[Cover photo via Electric Forest website] Last night, after beginning to leak their lineup through puzzles at a November pop-up show, Electric Forest announced the initial artist lineups for both of their festival weekends next summer, set to take place June 21- June 24 and June 28 – July 1, respectively. This marks the event’s second year in its expanded, two-weekend format.Electric Forest Starts Unveiling 2018 Lineup With Crazy Puzzles At Pop-Up ConcertThe 2018 Electric Forest headliners include two weekends of host band The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, GRiZ Live Band, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Zhu. Galantis will join the bill for weekend one, and Marshmello and Testpilot (Deadmau5‘s live mixed techno project) will be added for weekend two. Other weekend one-only acts include Lil Dicky, Green Velvet, Jauz, Keys N Krates, Washed Out, A Tribe Called Red, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Devin The Dude, Maddy O’Neal, Shook Twins, and a DJ set from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Other Second weekend-only additions include Datsik, Get Real, Rezz, SuperDuperKyle, Fruition, and many more.The rest of the two-weekend acts include Bonobo (Live), Chromeo, Cut Copy, The Glitch Mob, Xavier Rudd, Aqueous, Big Something, Cherub, Desert Dwellers, Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, Emancipator, Eoto, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Manic Focus, Marvel Years, Muzzy Bearr, Natalie Cressman, Noname, PHO, Sinkane, Sunsquabi, Space Jesus, The Main Squeeze, The Nth Power, The Russ Liquid Test, The Werks, Too Many Zooz, Toubab Krewe, Turkuaz, and a slew of others.Wristbands and Lodging Packages for both weekends will be available to all on December 15, and 2018 Loyalty On Sales begin for returning Forest Family as soon as December 7. For more information on loyalty tickets and more, head here.You can check out the full artist announcement from Electric Forest below. For more information on the 2018 events, head to the Electric Forest website.