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Don't you think that Christmas lights waste huge energy ?

For the whole Christmas period, streets and houses will brighten up with various decorations, tinsels and trees… Around the world and especially on Strasbourg which is called the world’s capital of Christmas, colorful lights and decorations are everywhere. Cities are enchanting and tourists are coming in million…

Apart from being very expensive, don’t you think that it depicts huge energy consumption?
Thinking about the total amount of bulbs illuminated should be afraid you !
Moreover, outdoor municipal public skating rinks will be opened to entertainment people. But it needs a larger cooling system to keep the ice at the right temperature. Energy wasteful again !

What do you think about it ? Does Christmas period need so much electricity or can we reduce it ?

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      Dec 7 2013: Agreed. And anyone who thinks something as inconsequential as Christmas lights amount to any sort of "huge energy" at the end of the day can easily be counted among those fools who are swayed by the "big, scary number" emotional hot button idiocy.

      I invite Elise to please cease polluting the discourse in any debates regarding energy consumption or climate change.
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          Dec 7 2013: For your education, that equals just about 0.0015 of the 4 Petabyte annual electrical output of the United States. So once again the "Big, scary number" fallacy doesn't hold up.

          And technically, I just asked her to stop polluting the discourse. I encourage both you and her to speak up once you have something educated to say.
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  • Dec 5 2013: To have fun and amazement does have value.
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    Dec 6 2013: Not as much a waste as the light used worldwide to read the Bible.
    2 billion christians, 500 millions of which read the Bible twice a week, let's say 2 hours a week.
    50 billion hours of reading worldwide using average 60 W lightbulbs = 3 billion kWh each year.

    = power for 270 000 homes in the US for a year
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      Dec 7 2013: This, I, Love!
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        Dec 7 2013: I think reading the Bible is only interesting if you're not a Christian. Otherwise, you inevitably miss the point.
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        Dec 8 2013: "Still, singling them out under the guise of energy-consciousness is pretty lame."

        Of course it's lame. I was ridiculing this conversation, which I disagree with.
        And taking cheap shots at Christians is what I like to do around Christmass time, you know, part of the spirit.
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        Dec 8 2013: "There's no such thing as atheism. God is in your head, like it or not; deny it or not."

        It so happens that atheism is the belief that "in our heads" is the one place that God is in.
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        Dec 9 2013: Yes, I'm familiar with the ability to imagine things that don't exist. I do it all the time, and somehow I still fool other atheists into believing I'm an atheist as well.
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        Dec 10 2013: Hey hold on. I don't understand your point. Are you making a difference between head and mind?
        I was using "in my head" metaphorically, in the exact same sense as "in my head".
        Please explain this.

        Also, are you saying that everything I can imagine is as "real" as my idea of God?
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        Dec 10 2013: Thank you very much for these consistant replies, I had indeed asked for it.
        As you can imagine, I have a few questions, and a few comments in response.
        -When you say that the thoughts are "processed by the brain, not created", what do you mean? Can you give me an example of a thought that is generated by a mind and then processed by the brain? I'm especially curious about the "processing".
        -Do you believe other animals have souls as well? Plants? Artificial Intelligence? How do you check on that?
        -"Proof is in the fact that 'like begets like'. " --> I don't understand. Please explain.

        -"when activated, it becomes our metaphorical gateway to God in Heaven- we are literally the temple of God. " ---> I agree completely.
        -"we are living proof that the Bible is true" --> This is where I disagree. I totally know the feeling you're talking about, I can experience fullness and bliss listening to Prokofiev or reading classical Chinese poetry. I can do this without the Bible and, in fact, reading the Bible doesn't satisfy my spiritual part AT ALL. I had goosebumps when I read Dawkin's The Selfish Gene for the first time, because of how deep it took me into life's mystery, because of how much it reshaped the way I look at my own self. I don't get that from reading Genesis or similar mythologies. In fact, I get more spiritually aroused by just about any fiction I've read. I, for instance, think Jean Valjean is a much better version of Jesus. And I don't even need to know Les Miserables is a true story. I couldn't care less.

        You're misinformed about atheists if you think we deny the existence of a soul. Atheists believe a charismatic person is magnetic, can light up a room, sends positive energy. The difference is, of course, that all these metaphores stay metaphores. I'd be silly to believe one can attract iron or radiate energy and that other people could sense that radiation and distinguish it as being of a good kind. You don't need to believe in magic to be spiritual !!
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        Dec 13 2013: "without an understanding of the Kabbala or Hebrew aleph-bet, there is no possible way to comprehend the meaning of these stories."

        Then why bother? Do you believe there's anything in the Bible that I can't find in other works of fiction or non-fiction to provide me with equal (or better) moral guidance, spiritual stimulation, understanding of human nature and of our place in the universe? Do you believe that?

        Apple trees only produce apples. Alright. But Apple computers defeat master chess players.
        Strange you should mention what is reliable in nature, because people who get fat paychecks to spend their life studying nature disagree with your view on how the brain works. I guess the fact the apple trees don't produce bananas has eluded them.

        You know what physics also say? That energy can be transformed into matter, and vice-versa. Didn't you just write that consciousness is "energy"?

        "we know that thoughts are waves "
        How do we know?

        So there is a gradient of how much soul one has, depending on the species, am I getting this right?, and some have no soul at all and some have a big one. I guess octopusses have half of one. If there a gradient among humans as well? Do some people have more soul that others?

        Ok now you've introduced the spirit. So the spirit is something additionnal to the soul, correct? What is the difference between the soul and the spirit? Can you stick to the radio analogy, or do you need another one to explain this to me?
        Also, "3%" ??? What is that figure??

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        Dec 13 2013: I still don't understand what makes the Bible different from an ordinary book, even if it's cryptic. I won't argue about who you believe wrote it. I'm more concerned about why you take its content to be true. For one thing, I don't believe in truth. Even if I could be convinced with rationnal explanations that everything in the Bible is to be taken litterally, I would adopt it like I've adopted the theory of evolution, which means I would believe very strongly that there is no better way to explain what it's supposed to explain and yet I'd be ready to let go of it as soon as a better theory came along.
        So I guess you're not holding what it says to be true in a way I can grasp. Still, I'm curious : do you think it'd be possible for you to some day let go of the Bible if you found a better holy text? Or is the idea of a better holy text a contradiction in terms?
        There is a lot of stuff in the Bible that I find ill-suited for spiritual elevation. You know, the worldly concerns about goats, cheating wifes.. Do you discard them or do you find another level of understanding in them?
        I'm also disapointed that there isn't more detail in genesis about the creation of the universe.

        "Apple computers are not part of nature"
        But I was using this instance to show that something material can create something immaterial. Are you implying that humans have the power to make what doesn't exist in nature?

        "They disagree with me because they do not understand the entire nature of the brain"
        I'm not comfortable relying of one's authority, but surely you must understand that I don't think you qualify to make such a statement. The incredible things that are discovered and understood every year about the brain are amazing. From what vantage point do you stand to say that whatever they figure out is incorrect?

        My point about energy originating from matter was a reply to your statement that it could not. "that which is physical is incapable of producing that which is spiritual"

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        Dec 13 2013: Brain waves are not what you mentioned. In science, brain waves are the electric fields generated by neurons. The physical brain is responsible for these waves. If you deny that, you have to accept that the electricity in batteries comes from the heavens as well, because it's exactly the same kind of electricity. This is how we can mesure it.

        Didn't you say "Ants wouldn't have an individual soul," ? That's why I asked about some animals having no souls. It was an honest question.

        " because humans are endowed with spirit, we can evolve our soul with our consciousness, using our intelligence."
        I cannot understand this.

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        Dec 7 2013: I wish you were right. Sadly, there aren't enough atheists.
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    Dec 6 2013: I do, a complete waste for all the reasons you mention, plus the excessive light pollution that screw up a lot of stuff.
    It's odd that people have Earth Hour and then light everything up for a couple of months... Almost makes you think that people didn't reflect on what they're doing...

    And I also think that Christmas gifts are (mostly) a huge waste of money and resources.
  • Dec 5 2013: If you believe christmas lights are a waste of energy, then so is the heater in your home, the A/C unit, the lights, your television, the fridge and freezer.. Your car wastes energy, and so does the supermarket, and the huge power plants that supply the energy for our homes..

    Therefor, I say: If you enjoy something and you appreciate it, it is not a waste.
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      Dec 7 2013: Do you believe that there is a line that you can cross that makes it wasteful?

      "If you enjoy something and you appreciate it, it is not a waste." I don't know about you but the really rich kids here in Sweden have a trend where they order two of the most expensive champagne and just pour one out, to prove that they're rich...
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    Dec 5 2013: Speaking on Christmas Lights; for many years now I have been using a dimmer cord for the lights on my Christmas tree and highly recommend do it. (Not to save energy, that is just a happy side effect.) Dimming the lights gives the tree a enjoyable new look, plus if your tree is in your TV or sleeping room it really is great to be able to dim the lights.
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    Dec 5 2013: I think that as a whole our lives waste too much energy.
    Think of the lights you leave when you leave the kitchen. Or the water you let streaming while brushing your teeth or applying shampoo. How about everytime we leave the TV on for the whole day, not even watching?
    Such a waste, for nothing. We cannot start searching the problem in one particular moment. Maybe if we turn on the boiler only for the night for a month, or take out all the chargers after we're done, we could say it's ok to have xmas lights for a few weeks.
  • Dec 5 2013: I believe that the lighting of the office buildings, including the lighting in the unoccupied individual rooms,in most of the metropolitan commercial districts, wastes more energy than the Christmas lights, because the former is used all year round instead of the Xmas celebration period.
    As a matter of fact, every festivity celebration is wasteful, not only in energy consumption, but also in food, beverage and alcohol, leading to over indulgence.
    I am rather ambivalent about festivity/celebration vs the wasting of energy and natural resources. We should strike a balance between the two on the voluntary basis..
    • Dec 5 2013: You're right, there is a real problem in the use of public buildings, in electricity or water... Municipalities, companies, schools and many others should improve it, everydays.
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    Dec 5 2013: Is baking Christmas cookies a waste of energy?
    Is night time pro sports a waste of energy?
    Is auto racing a waste of fuel?
    Is NASA wasting fuel when it sends a rocket into space?
    Are lighted billboards a waste of energy?
    What is and is not a waste is in the eye of the beholder, it is not my place to tell someone else what not to splurge on.

    Personally I find it is sad how people focus on small waste and ignore wide scale energy waste like all the homes that a poorly insulated.
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    Dec 5 2013: I think another point is some tourists like going to the bustle places with razzmatazz. The beautiful lights also boost the travel industry at some degree. For example, Shanghai's bund and the pedestrian street---Nan Jing Road attract flocks of Chinese and foreigners at night to enjoy Shanghai's cross-culture and commercial prosperity. ( the Bund) (Shanghai Bund 4D lights show)
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    Dec 5 2013: I also think the festival lights can lighten up the darkness in people's heart and immerse them in the artistic inspiration.In Shanghai we also use solar energy to produce electricity. Here pls allow me to attach the pictures of night Shanghai with a lot of illuminations. ( the Bund)
    (Nanjing Road)
  • Dec 16 2013: You said "tourists are coming in million.." Elise. To me that means a huge form of income to a city, any city.

    Why no problem with us expressing our thoughts on a computer using electricity? while many express our thoughts and feelings with Christmas lights?
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    Dec 11 2013: Here is the exciting news for your discussion.

    By 2030 solar energy will have the capacity to meet all of our energy needs. The production of food and clean water will also be revolutionized.

    If we could capture one part in ten thousand of the sunlight that falls on the Earth we could meet 100% of our energy needs, using this renewable and environmentally friendly source.

    As we apply new molecular scale technologies to solar panels, the cost per watt is coming down rapidly. Already Deutsche Bank, in a recent report, wrote "The cost of unsubsidized solar power is about the same as the cost of electricity from the grid in India and Italy. By 2014 even more countries will achieve solar 'grid parity.'"

    The total number of watts of electricity produced by solar energy is growing exponentially, doubling every two years. It is now less than seven doublings from 100%.
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    Dec 9 2013: For the last few years now whenever I see christmas lights and christmas cards I feel anxious. For me they represent humanities inability to work together to solve a global problem. Even if someone is not 100% convinced humans can effect global warming or that the earth will eventually run out of resources, surely that person would be want to hedge their bets and reduce consumption and co2? Instead it seems we cling to these traditions like they really, really matter. Here is what I think matters about humans: compassion, appreciation, forgiveness, humility, unnovativenss/cretivity, nuture, and courage. These I would say are our oldest traditions. These require no cards and no sparkly lights. Sure, I like sparkly lights but would I trade them for a chance at a more secure future for my children? Hell yes. I know it's going to take more than getting rid of christmas lights and cards but why not go for the low hanging fruit first?
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      Dec 9 2013: People really, REALLY cling to their traditions, now you're probably going to get a lot of hate for "trying to kill Christmas"... And they're gonna try to point the finger elsewhere and say "look at THAT, now forget about what we just talked about"...

      I find myself being really presumptuous lately...

      But you're completely right according to me!
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        Dec 10 2013: Jimmy: “People really, REALLY cling to their traditions, now you're probably going to get a lot of hate for "trying to kill Christmas"...”
        No! People really, REALLY cling to what they know works, all this CHANGE B.S. has caused nothing suffering and people now realize they have been led astray and desire a return to the path of goodness.

        Christmas is not about hate, it is about love. When I see Christmas, Hanukkah, and other decorations I see a home that celebrates a belief in doing good. Rather someone is Amish, Buddhist, or worships Odin does not matter, only that they desire to do good matters. And by no means am I so egotistical to say they are wrong, to me that would led to hate.
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          Dec 10 2013: Christmas lights "work"?

          Change isn't BS! You wouldn't have those ideas if things haven't changed throughout history.

          And I find it odd that people associate the worship of false deities with doing good... It's strange, because I try to do good all year around, for me it isn't seasonal.
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          Dec 10 2013: My computer serves a use, Christmas lights don't.

          So you're still wasting 10% energy...
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        Dec 10 2013: Sorry, this should have thought of this sooner.

        We Americans view traditions differently, than other parts of the world. We tend to embrace multiple traditions from all over the world, and if we not like a tradition it is easy to ignore. Unlike a place that only accepts one tradition, or has two traditions fighting to be the only tradition.

        I just image search “Christmas lights in Sweden” to see if they were much different than the US. And WOW, I like the Swedish style. (The Swedish Christmas Gnomes are cool!) but I can see how it can be seen as going overboard.
        But importantly what I noticed was that all countries have a Christmas tradition, all unique but still recognizably as the same. So in a very real way they unite the world, giving a grand scale meaning to peace and harmony.

        If in the future the Atheist church last and becomes more than a fade, and it has good values like religious-tolerance, I will be happy to see a light up Atheist symbol in my neighbors’ window.

        Also in the US the word “change” has been twisted to mean ….. well best not to get into that…. its political. Let’s just say change and tradition can be either good or bad, we just need to spot and keep the good ones.
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          Dec 10 2013: Hmm, your view on how you have your traditions clash with my view of it. For me, and most people here, American Xmas is very American. It's not diverse at all and neither is Swedish Christmas.
          I believe that the "Swedish style" is better since we haven't gone that far in waste yet, it's not quite as big and we don't light it up that much. But as I sit here looking out the window I still see so much waste, pretty pretty waste.
          And it's (contributing to) killing our planet for our simple enjoyment...
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          Dec 11 2013: Chris,

          Get out of you sect! RUN!
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          Dec 10 2013: When I hear that Christmas is the season for love, I directly think "what are you doing with the other seasons?" is there one (or many) for greed, hate and so on?

          "Be nice, it's Christmas" is a very, very bad way of motivating someone to be nice, cause Christmas ends and then away goes your incentive to be kind and loving. "look at the calendar you have to behave now!"

          I say false deities because (well apart from me being an atheist) a number of deities were mentioned and in accordance with most of those believes all other gods are false.

          I did not get the Obama reference, thanks for pointing that out.
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    Dec 9 2013: While I can accept your premise, I find it far more egress that so many more 'kill a tree for Christ'. Talk about a stupid tradition in light of what we are collectively doing to our environment. This one is truly insane.

    Use a live tree for Christ's sake and then replant it....
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      Dec 9 2013: Very good point!
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      Dec 10 2013: Use a live tree for Christ's sake and then replant it……

      I have tried that several years ago, and got two 4’ trees.
      The ball of the tree made it too big and heavy to fit through the doorway. Ended up planting them and using fake trees in the house, it worked out for the best they are both about 60’ tall now.

      And as for those cut trees, they generally go into mulch and compost and thus the CO2 gets locked into the soil, and not burned and returned to the air. And tree farmer to plant new trees every year, so every tree cut there are several being grown to replace it.
      The only ones that I think are a waste are the city and national governmental 60’+ tall cut trees.
      There is no reason they should not just plant a tree and let it grow bigger and be decorated every year. And let it stay there undecorated the rest of the year.
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      Dec 7 2013: Which is 0.15% of the 4 Petabyte annual US electrical output. I think we just might survive.
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          Dec 7 2013: 0.15% is still only 0.15% no matter how scary you try to make it sound. We'd have to light Christmas lights for 70 years to equal one year of Internet usage. Big deal.
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          Dec 9 2013: Is your computer really powered by solar? If so, Kudos! And I'm with you here Jason! .15% may not be much on Lawren's monthly salary but the same does not go for % of all power used!
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      Dec 8 2013: Do you happen to know from the report what proportion of that is residential versus commercial lighting?
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    Dec 7 2013: If people can afford christmas lights, let them buy and let it shine. There are countless destructive wastes that our pop culture promotes; and usually people ignore the economic value of such, because it pleases them like pitiful addicts.
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    Dec 5 2013: Switching over to LED lights might be the answer.
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      Dec 5 2013: I like many others have switch to LED Christmas lights, currently they cost a more to buy them.
      But you do get some saving in energy cost, hopefully will last longer, and I personally prefer the looks of them.
      They are brighter, with a great color selection and the colors are crisper and cleaner.
    • Dec 5 2013: I agree, we have to develop it !
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    Dec 5 2013: well, the lights do give you a feeling that it's a special period, is it worth the energy use to get that special feeling? As it stands now, people can make a choice as to whether to put up Christmas lights, some choose to do it, some choose not to. What would you do, make a law that people can't have the lights?
    • Dec 5 2013: Don't be too extreme ! Lights are of course necessary. I just think about a possible reduction of energy requirement. As collecting or recycling, it could be a positive act for environment, but I know that it won't change the world !! Even if I still love Christmas lights...
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        Dec 5 2013: Well, E, if a building is solar-powered, and you plug Christmas lights into it, they will light through the solar energy from the rest of the building. So maybe you want to promote solar power not just at Christmas, but year-round?

        Here in southern California, there is definitely a reduction in Christmas lights. When I was a kid, many homes had thousands of bulbs. Now most of them only have one string of bulbs, often just white, it is far fewer bulbs. To tell you the truth, it actually looks nicer, it doesn't overwhelm you like those giant displays before. I don't really know what caused people to change. I will have to ask.

        Do you have a house? Do you put up bulbs? Maybe you should only put up a modest display, you could be a leader in toning down the display. You could write a letter to your local newspaper encouraging people to put up fewer bulbs?
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    Dec 5 2013: Let's try to increase the use of alternative energies (sun, wind, tides..) Are cheaper, non-ending ones and would let us top enjoy of incredible amounts of energy. Because using -and enjoying- energy is nice, very nice. Isn't?
  • Dec 5 2013: I don't know Elise, I'll send an email to Jesus an ask him to reply if he's impressed. I'll let you know the very second I get the answer. If I do not get a reply, I'd say it is a bazzar waste for everyone else except the power company and China who makes the lights. Maybe this is part of our agreement with China on how to payback the trillions of dollars we borrowed to pay our CEO's bonuses.