Green or Gossip? Taking Down 2 Eco-Myths!

Photo by needoptic | flickr.com

Photo by needoptic | flickr.com

Gossip, rumours, myths and hoaxes. They go by many names, but no matter what they are called, they have a big effect on everyday society. I was always told growing up that I should eat my carrots to improve my night vision and that my head would explode if I ate Pop Rocks while drinking a can of Coke at the same time.* Recently, I have taken to looking into eco-myths and there are plenty of them out there. So to start off, I will take one eco-myth from my childhood and one for the holiday season!

Myth #1 – Birds explode after eating the dry rice that gets thrown at weddings.

The logic behind this is that the rice will rapidly expand in the birds’ stomachs to sizes too large for their bodies to handle. This myth has spawned the creation of many eco-alternatives to rice being thrown at weddings ranging from birdseed to “heart-shaped rice alternatives” as well as wedding planners advising the bride and groom to have an eco-friendly wedding without traditional rice throwing. Turns out, the myth is false.

In an article from the journal, The American Biology Teacher, it is explained that the main reason this rumour is false is due to the fact that rice expands less in liquid than does traditional birdseed and there is nothing about the gastrointestinology of birds that would suggest an explosive reaction will occur with rice.

This finding can also be backed up by a plethora of internet news articles and videos showing a variety of bird species eating rice and not exploding. So while you will not be deemed an animal rights abuser if you throw rice at your weddings, the actual eco-implications behind throwing rice at your weddings is: it’s a waste. If you are concerned about being helpful to the environment, then do not simply throw away good food!

Myth #2 – Fake Christmas Trees are the eco-alternative to cutting down a real Christmas Tree each year.

Many people believe that they are doing the environment a great service by purchasing fake Christmas trees. Preventing deforestation and preserving ecosystems, fake Christmas trees have been touted by some as a real eco-alternative. Turns out, this myth is also false for a variety of reasons.

For the most part, Christmas trees are not simply cut down from the local forest where Bambi lives. The majority of sold Christmas trees are grown as crops and are therefore grown entirely for this purpose.

Secondly, real Christmas trees are 100% biodegradable. Most fake Christmas trees are made from polyvinyl chloride aka PVC, a plastic that is non-renewable and does not degrade.

Lastly, real Christmas trees create insignificant amounts ofCO2 in their production in comparison to fake Christmas trees. Real Christmas trees require no manufacturing processes and have relatively low shipping distances while the same cannot be said for fake ones. So if you are aiming to be more eco-friendly, keep going with the real deal and don’t buy a fake Christmas tree!

* These myths are also false.