Baltidome Blog | Baltimore Green News


Christians Celebrate Holy Week With Eco-Palms From Baltimore
April 1, 2010, 12:34 am
Filed under: Green Business, News | Tags: , ,

Christians Celebrate Holy Week With Eco-Palms From Baltimore

This past Sunday, many Christians in the region started off Holy Week with Eco-Palms that church leaders purchased from Lutheran World Relief in Baltimore.  According to Lutheran World Relief, “More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for U.S. consumption alone-most of them for Palm Sunday”.  On Palm Sunday palm fronds are traditionally distributed to Christians to celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem where crowds were said to have greeted him waving palm branches.

About Eco-Palms:
Typically, palm harvesting is done by community members hired by by local contractors, who then sell palms to large floral export firms. Payment is based on volume so the harvesters are motivated to gather a large number of palms without regard for the quality. As a result, up to 50% or more of the palms are later discarded because of poor quality. This method risks the rapid depletion of the forest’s rich biodiversity, including the many bird species that migrate to these regions during the winter.

In Guatemala and Mexico, an effort is underway to develop a new structure for harvesting palms that protects the environment and also provides a fair income for the harvesters of the palms.

Called Eco-Palms, the palms are harvested in a more sustainable way, whereby the harvesters are paid on the quality of the palms they harvest rather than the quantity, which helps to limit the amount of palms taken from the forest. These communities have taken upon themselves to learn about harvesting practices that minimize impact on the natural forest where the palm grows, and ways to protect this wild species of palm.

For more about the Eco-Palms visit The Lutheran World Relief Fair Trade program at lwr.org/fairtrade for more information.

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