hile some think Christmas lights give the holiday a festive, even spiritual glow, environmentalists are condemning them as energy-wasters and an unnecessary source of greenhouse gas emissions. Through the SANTA initiative — Sustainability Action Network and Toy Alliance — the Energy Justice Network is urging ordinary citizens to download and issue "Christmas Police Violation tickets" to neighbors with overly exhuberant light displays. The citiations announce: "Your electricity consumption may be putting you on the Naughty List." Are SANTA violation tickets a cheerful reminder to live more greenly — or borderline obnoxious? (Watch a report on Paris' eco-friendly Christmas lights)
Christmas lights are killing the planet: Electricity-guzzling light displays don't symbolize holiday cheer, says Dan Clere in the Asheville Citizen-Times. "They represent birth defects, poisoned lakes ... and our continued stubbornness" to clean up our environment. It's time to take a stand against the "ignorance, waste, and hubris" that has made Christmas nothing but a "perverted consumer orgy."
"Season's lights take on new meaning with time"
The activists are right — but they're still Scrooges: "Nothing marks you out as an eco-Scrooge quicker than protesting about non-essential festive lighting," says Lucy Siegle in The Observer. "I refuse to condemn a few tree lights," but overly "extravagant" light displays are inexcuseable. Of course, the amount of energy you use depends how long you leave your lights on. "Timer switch," anyone?
"Should we pull the plug on festive lights?"
Why not try an "old fashioned" Christmas? The talk of an "eco-friendly, hurray-for-Copenhagen, minimal-carbon" Christmas sounds "indescribably dreary," says Connie Woodcock in the Toronto Sun. By contrast, the concept of a simpler Christmas, where gifts were handmade and decorations recycled, is "how Christmas always was, once upon a time." The difference is, back then "we didn't know it was eco-friendly."
"Our green Christmas isn't trendy, it's old-fashioned"
- How does chocolate milk stack up as a sports drink?
- How did Love Actually become so controversial? A theory
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Cul-de-sacs are killing America
- This is the twistiest tongue twister ever, says science
- How the Great Recession has changed the way we shop — even during the holidays
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- Was the sign-language interpreter at the Mandela memorial faking it?
- The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2013
- 7 enduring lessons from It's a Wonderful Life
Subscribe to the Week