The mining of metals for cell phone parts threatens the ‘Great Migration’

I saw this segment on the Today show today – this is very disturbing. We need to speak up to stop this. And also by using your personal cell phone for as long as possible and also making sure when you turn it in for a new one it is going to a proper recycler – that is how we can slow down the need for precious metals from the Earth.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A PVC Free Holiday Tree

This year I struggled with lack of holiday spirit, space constraints (for the 4th Xmas since we moved here) and the cut vs. artificial tree dilemma. All of the arguments point to a cut tree being the most environmentally friendly choice. The way our rooms are set up, however, make it difficult to place a tree (we had one here in 2007, the year we bought this townhome). Since we are childfree there is no real pressure to go to the trouble to have one. But I like celebrating the holiday with treasures that we only see for a few weeks each year so I wanted to find a way to do it. But I didn’t want to buy a plastic tree.

Feather tree in the home of my Aunt Andrea and Uncle Nils Olson, in Munakata City in Japan. They have a small home so they need to also be creative with how they decorate.

When I searched to find a “PVC Free Artificial Christmas Tree” what came up was Aluminum Christmas and the information here and thru my other research pointed to the stainless aluminum tree of the Space Age as the only option. There are also feather trees, which are also quite popular in some countries, but I don’t know if the feathers are plucked from a living bird and I wouldn’t want an animal harmed for decoration. (I try to be both fur and feather free.) The Aluminum Christmas Trees site is the most extensive site I’ve seen and has a lot of history on it. if you are intriguied by the history of American metal manufacturing and/or historical holiday observances, you should check it out.

The more I read the more I got excited about taking this decorating route. I started calling antique stores and found a 4 foot Evergleam Aluminum Tree in the original box at a Fremont antique shop called Delixe Junk. I picked it up last Saturday, and they also had a replica “Nostalgic Color Wheel” that was used to color the tree since hanging electric lights on it could have caused electrocution if the wires were frayed – and designers also said it ruined the look.

Sure, they are tacky looking at first blush, the the husband of a friend of mine said on Monday night that “It’s so tacky it’s totally cool!”  Some more reading led me to believe I needed a rotating tree stand, so I called around and managed to locate one at Display & Costume in Northgate. I picked that up on Tuesday.

Marci Hughes (Snohomish, WA) helps assemble the tree.

So yesterday my mom was here for dinner before going to the Christmas Revels show, so I had her help me put it together. Here you can see how it must be put together from the top down. The center is a wooden dowel wrapped with foil and there are holes drilled at an angle into it, and you insert the wire base of each branch. There were 43 branches, altho only 42 went into it so there must have been a spare. And we did not realize that one in particular was marked “top” by hand and rolled into different paper so then we had to poke around and see if we could find one or two that were different since they appeared to all be the same length when we removed them from their paper sleeves. I found the original instructions online “How To Assemble Your EverGleam Tree”

It went together quickly and it was decorated with a small amount of our current ornaments in short order. We set up the color wheel, got it fitted into the rotating tree stand, and viola! One very environmentally friendly Christmas tree. It was
1) Reused 
2) PVC free 
3) Didn’t cut down a live tree  
4) Fit the space better than a cut or live tree and
5) Didn’t let off VOC toxic fumes from new plastic if I had bought an artificial tree at Target (even a small one would have smelled nasty – and look fake).
6) Can be used again next year – saving me time and money. And it stores in a very small box.

And this is the end result!! I love it!!

Close-up of the end result.