Today as I was depositing trash at our condominium, I noticed someone had discarded a Christmas tree. This drew me, a Buddhist, to write this note.
To start with, that tree gave you joy, celebrating if not the birth of Christ at least the changing of the season, from darkness toward spring and light. You, in turn, treated it completely without heart.
Then there’s our environment to consider. Even if you had chopped up the tree into small pieces, stuffed them into a garbage bag, and with a prayer tossed the bag into the Dumpster, you would still commit sacrilege. That tree grew outdoors with sun, and water, and soil. Don’t let its biomass be burnt, thereby adding more to the carbon in the atmosphere. Take it to the Freeport recycling center where the trees are ground into compost, or wood chips.
Finally, give some thought to your fellow humans. The workers who haul away our garbage must get out of the truck and toss the tree into one of our snow piles. Your fellow residents will look at it for the rest of the winter. Or one of our hard-working members of the board will have to haul the tree away herself.
Does none of that move you? Perhaps money will. Our condominium association fines people who do not appropriately dispose of garbage. Perhaps we should fine you an amount which will deter you? Or is there no dollar amount which will move you to think: How shall I treat one of winter’s delights?