Holiday Tradition In Austin Raising Controversy


Courtesy of 365thingsaustin

As you’re driving down 360, a road in Austin, around the holiday season, you may see a bunch of decorated trees. This has been an Austin tradition for a while, but lately, it has been raising the question: Is it harming the environment? People hear about it and decide to do it without knowing the consequences.

For years, trees along 360 have been decorated by garland, ornaments, stockings, you name it. But you can find these decorations far after the holidays are over, even in March or April. While some see it as a tradition, others see it as litter. Most people who decorate the trees never come back to clean it up, so it ends up just sitting there. Wildlife can see it and mistake it as food, and it can get into waterways. This stuff doesn’t just breakdown like food. It will stay there for a long time.

Technically, tree decorating is legal. Nobody can get in trouble for it, but there are clean up groups who try to take it down within a few days to a week. Some people think this is unfair because they spent money to get decorations and now the decorations are becoming trash, and also because decorators believe it is their tradition and by taking it down, that is disrespecting their tradition. Decorators aren’t trying to harm the environment, they try to secure things down and make sure they pick up their trash. But it still has an affect on nature.

Environmental groups argue that the environment is more important, we won’t have anything to decorate if we have this “litter”. It may be tradition, but sometimes traditions aren’t perfect.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t we compromise? What if people can still decorate trees on 360, but they are taken down after two to three days? People get their tradition, and it doesn’t have time for everything to fly away and harm the environment. Maybe a compromise is all we need, maybe it isn’t. Either way, you can decide if you support decorating or taking it down.