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Opinion: Christmas tree shortage a sign of environmental distress

Our Mother Earth is posting signs about a dire future if we do not reduce polluting carbon emissions quickly and drastically

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Dale Pine, owner of Crystal River Christmas Trees, prepares a tree for sale at his lot in California.

Dale Pine, owner of Crystal River Christmas Trees, prepares a tree for sale at his lot in Alameda, Calif. on Nov. 24, 2021. Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions reduced supplies of both real and artificial trees this season.

Terry Chea, Associated Press

Who would predict a shortage of Christmas trees in 2021? Yes, the forest fires in the West devastated our beloved pines and we inhaled smoke for months, but did you think about the many Christmas trees turning bright red with sunburns in the 117-degree summer heat? Extreme weather driven by a changing climate made it a difficult season for tree farmers to make a living and more expensive for families searching for the perfect tree. 

It seems trivial to say we don’t have the perfect tree or even have a tree at all, as there is so much suffering around the world due to climate damage. That said, our Mother Earth is posting signs about a more dire future if we do not reduce polluting carbon emissions quickly and drastically. 

We, as citizens, of which the majority want legislative action on climate, can contact our elected leaders in Utah and ask them to set an example of finding common ground on climate policy — specifically carbon fee and dividend. This policy is a first, best solution and the only policy returning money to families, rewarding them to reduce emissions.  

Tree or no tree, open the gift of civic engagement. Invite your neighbors to join you in creating political will for the stewardship of our precious earth — our common home. 

Karen Jackson 

Salt Lake City