Enviros Wage War On Christmas Lights

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Environmentalists are really worried that your home’s Christmas lights will ruin the planet.

They worry that both the manufacturing processes of the lights and the electricity needed to power them will generate lots of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. They worry that the lights are manufactured in China and thus the amount of CO2 emissions generated during their construction is effectively unknowable.

The average house with Christmas lights uses a fair amount of electricity– equal to about 22.8 days of the average household’s electricity consumption. Green groups claim that an “extravagant light display” can generate 881 pounds of CO2 throughout the holiday season. This is roughly equal to the CO2 emissions of a single car driving 958 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Holiday lights result in tons of wasted energy each year,” the environmentalist website opined earlier this month.“Producing all this energy means more carbon dioxide emissions, which means more damage to the environment.”

Environmentalists have been urging people to reduce the impact of their Christmas lights for over a decade. LED bulbs have been a staple of eco-friendly gift guides alongside “recycled glass ornaments” and “sustainable wood dreidels” since at least as early as 2005.

Over the years, suggestions have ranged from merely switching to efficiency bulbs to pulling the plug on Christmas lights entirely and instead opting for “popcorn or cranberry garlands.”

Despite the naysayers, Christmas lights remains extremely popular in the U.S. Satellite data from the NASA has shown that nighttime lights in major U.S. metropolitan areas shine 20 to 50 percent brighter in the period between Black Friday and New Year’s Day, compared to light output throughout the rest of the year.

Christmas lights aren’t the only pressing issue troubling the minds of environmentalists this holiday season. The left-leaning news website Huffington Post encouraged readers to consider the environmental impact of Christmas trees in an article this month comparing the relative “greenness” of real and artificial trees.

Environmentalists are also taking aim at the traditions of gift-wrapping and Christmas cards. A student-run newspaper for the University of Wisconsin suggested last week that gift-givers use inside-out brown grocery bags instead of traditional colorful wrapping paper for their gifts, in order to reduce waste, while a Pennsylvanian county newspaper recommended Tuesday sending out online “e-cards” instead of paper greeting cards in the mail.

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