Friday, December 7, 2007

Green Lighting

I don't usually address comments on the front page of my blog, but I felt this one was worthy of answering since an excellent point was made in these comments.

Regarding my recommendations for light festivals in the D.C. area, my friend, Holly, rightly wrote, "OK, I know this is going to sound really grinchy and awful, but sometimes I see these elaborate light shows and think, 'good god, what a waste of electricity and inexcusable contribution to global warming.'" I couldn't agree more, which is part of why I haven't strung up lights this year.

I don't know if it's ironic or just good timing, but yesterday was the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House. Today, the Washington Post ran this article--Ode to a Diode--about the lights on the tree. It also mentioned the lights in the exhibits in Bull Run and at the Mormon Temple.

Don't know if this helps, Holly. Still, I guess every little bit counts?


Holly said...

Holy glowing LED, does it ever help!

Because the fact of the matter is, I do think light shows--or just plain lights--can be really beautiful. And now I can enjoy any light show that use these prettier, more efficient lights, and not feel the least bit guilty.

Speaking of guilty pleasures, or rather, a pleasure that has become guilty, when I was in college, one of our favorite things to do on nights when there was no planned activity was just to drive up into the foothills of Tucson and look at the lights of the city. It was simply beautiful; we never thought of it as wasteful.

Coming to realize that it is VERY wasteful is one reason I will take this opportunity to plug what I said was my favorite light show: the Milky Way. I would rather have lights in the night sky above me that I could see simply by looking up, than a sea of twinkling lights I could see if I were able and willing to get in a car, drive somewhere, and look down. Which is why I'm an ardent supporter of the Dark Sky Initiative.

p.s. Thanks for not nailing me on the "this is going to sound really grinchy and awful" part--that's what I initially thought you were agreeing with me about!


J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Holly: There's nothing I love more than a natural light show! I have great memories of lying in the back yard of my home in Provo and gazing at the stars. I loved the occasional meteor or satellite sighting! Living in the city, I miss the stars. Occasionally, I go out to my parents' place in the suburbs and enjoy the stars from there. It's the only upshot to not having street lights in their neighborhood!

I'll check out the Dark Sky Initiative. I'm all for fewer lights and more stars any day. One day, I'd like to see the ultimate light show: the Aurora Borealis!

Oh, and as for being grinchy, join the club. The Grinch and I are like this <||> this year!

Anonymous said...

Tewks, you beat me to the punch. I was planning on posting on this very subject. The City Denver has also switched to "green" Christmas lighting on their government buildings.

Holly -- I'm with you; I would much rather see the Milky Way. I've only seen it clearly about five times in my life that I can remember. Every time was magical.

- Phoebe

Anonymous said...

I bought some LED tree lights (gotta look for "rice lights") a few years ago. I bought them on post-Christmas clearance, so it was almost a year later that I discovered they don't have an "on" setting--only "Vegas" and "More Vegas." Ha! I still have to supplement them with plain old regular lights (until I find the non-Vegas kind at a post-Christmas clearance sale, that is), so it's not as bad as it could be. That's the thing with having high ceilings: taller tree => wayyyy more lights. I think we used six strings last year, and eight would have been optimal.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

All: I'm returning and reporting...

Went last night with Bee and the EcoFellow to see the lights at the Mormon Temple in Kensington. JaneAnne: you're right. There seem to be only two settings right now on LED lights: Vegas and More Vegas. The temple looked like a trollop! (Well, okay, not the temple itself, obviously, but the grounds did.) I took some pictures that were marginal. I'll probably go back in a day or two and try again.

Garishness and trollop-yness aside, though, it was rather pretty. And hooray for "holy glowing LEDs"!

This is my report...