Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Grinches who plan to steal Christmas

Edward John Craig over at's Planet Gore blog noticed that the Bronx Zoo has cancelled it's Christmas Light display for this Christmas to save energy and supposedly preserve the planet. says the Wildlife Conservation Society cancelled the Christmas lights because running them for 33 nights used as much electricity as a three person household uses in a year.

Treehugger didn't calculate the effect on all the tens of thousands of children in New York who enjoy the light show and whose lives will be just a little bit poorer for their lack. It also didn't mention that all the thousands of people who won't be going to the zoo on any given evening to see the Christmas lights will either be staying at home on that night with the lights and TV, or they will be out somewhere else doing something that will be using electricity. Finally, Treehugger didn't mention that one of the reasons people who earn enough money to support themselves choose to live in expensive, dangerous, cramped, smelly, ugly and noisy cities is because of the excitement of institutions like zoos and family oriented special events like Christmas lights at the zoo which can only be done when you have lots of people nearby to enjoy them and pay for them.

And, guess what, people who choose to live in dense cities, like the Bronx, are much more efficient users of energy than those of us who have abandoned the cities for all the reasons I listed above. That's because people who live in cities use mass transit a lot more than suburbanites and they tend to live in smaller and more energy efficient homes and apartments than suburbanites. If one or two families out of all the millions of families in New York is pushed over the edge and decides to move to the suburbs because of this kind of stupid, meaningless, self-righteous, nanny-state kind of stuff their decision will probably result in far more energy use and harm to the environment than this dumb decision will save.

Electricity usage is ubiquitous in our modern culture. A far better use of Treehugger's and The Nature Conservancy's time would be to convince people one person at a time to go back to living in caves and cowering in the dark under animal skins from when the sun goes down until it comes up again in the morning.

All treehuggers are not imbeciles, but the folks at The Nature Conservancy who made this decision certainly are. Another thing, I bet they made this decision after a long meeting in an air-conditioned conference room where they drank coffee shipped from South America, tea shipped from India and bottled water shipped from France.


Anonymous said...

I think this is less about saving money and more about making a statement about being green AND secular.

If this were about money, then I am sure that people would be more than happy to cover the energy costs by making a charitable contribution at the time of their visit.


Sully said...

You're point about it also being a secular thing is a good one.

They're saying it's green, but I actually wonder if it is green because the folks who would have gone to the light show are going to be burning energy somewhere else anyway. And if things like this drive people from the cities they will become even bigger energy users when they live in the suburbs.