Ways to recycle a Christmas tree

For nearly a month (maybe longer if you're one of those day-after-Thanksgiving types), your Christmas tree has formed the centerpiece of holiday celebrations. But now, as the New Year draws near, it's time to think about what to do with it. If, like millions of people, you chose a fresh cut tree, it's important to think long and hard about recycling. After all, a carbon-sucking plant gave its life so that you could honor the pagan tradition of decorating a tree. Just tossing it in the garbage is a depressing waste, especially when there are so many other creative options. Below is a list of the most creative ideas we've ever seen for repurposing Christmas trees. Although most of us will undoubtedly choose number one (the easiest option), the others will warm your heart as well.

Amoebas in Louisiana’s Water

Clean water is essential for human survival. More than half of our body is made up of water, and without it, we can only live for a couple of days. How much do we really know about what we're drinking, though? Local governments are charged with keeping our water supplies safe, but as I recently learned in the movie "Unacceptable Levels," one city's wastewater becomes another city's drinking water. Also, there's not a lake or stream left in this country that hasn't been contaminated in some way.

Severe flooding in Colorado linked to global warming

I live in Denver, Colorado, and for the past few days, we've had nothing but rain. Three months of rain in 48 hours, to be exact. The surge of water has caused rivers and streams to overflow their banks, drowning Boulder, Loveland, Longmont, Estes Park and many other towns along the Front Range under several feet of rushing water. Conditions were so bad, the National Weather Service felt compelled to use the words "biblical rainfall amounts" to communicate the risk to local residents. Any other time, extra precipitation is cause for rejoicing in Colorado. Ongoing drought has facilitated massive wildfires across the state for two years running. We'll take all the wet we can get, although as the past few days have shown, we'd prefer it doesn't all fall at once.