I’m sending a shout-out to El Niño, not just for sourcing all this wonderful rain being delivered to the region but also for prompting the cancellation of Solvang’s annual holiday tree burn. I was delighted to hear that the trees and burn area were too wet for incineration and that the trees will be chipped, mulched, and recycled instead. This should become the new tradition, replacing a medieval-minded ritual that sends the carbon emissions of hundreds of trees pluming into our atmosphere.

I understand that the relative greenhouse gas contribution from “The Solvang Burn” is probably a fraction of that of the usual global warming suspects of traffic, airline, and shipping pollution; methane release from livestock, agriculture, wildfires, and fossil fuel processing, but it would certainly be more environmentally responsible (in such an environmentally conscious area like S.B. County) to return all those trees to the Earth as mulch or part of organic compost. And wouldn’t that set the better example to our children than sending the mixed message that it’s okay to light things on fire?

I would urge the City of Solvang to start a new, sustainable tradition of tree recycling that keeps our air cleaner, doesn’t contribute to global warming, and fosters more respect in our children for their Earth.


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