A Free-Market Energy Blog

Happy Holidays from the NYT (‘Lightscape’ trumps climate alarmism)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 22, 2021

Editor note: America the Beautiful is at her best in December when billions of tiny stringed light bulbs turn darkness into magnificent beauty and celebration. Holiday lighting is a great social offering—a positive externality in the jargon of economics—given by many to all. With the increasing sustainability of energy, beginning with the fossil-fuel family, celebrate with the lights on!

Forget the holiday-lighting humbug from the deep ecologists who say:

I’ve reached the point of feeling like a Scrooge; feeling outrage over the tons of C02 going into the atmosphere via neighbors’ 10,000 light displays rather than feeling ‘joyous’.”


Actually, here comes the Scrooge bit.… But aside from light pollution, a substantial environmental footprint is created by what the Energy Saving Trust terms an ‘extravagant light display’, which translates into the generation of 400kg of extra CO2…. Bah humbug, etc.”

Celebrate the celebration in good cheer and good conscience. And kudos to the New York Times ‘Big City’ columnist Ginia Bellafante for her column, Why Holiday Light Shows Are the Therapy We Need” (December 3, 2021), subtitled: “Outdoor installations like the elaborate illuminations at Brooklyn Botanic Garden are perfect for this second pandemic winter.”

She flips the script on the energy and climate nay-sayers. Some quotations about the new attraction Lightscape follow:

  • “Light shows have a long connection to the holidays — this season there are installations at Snug Harbor in Staten Island and the Bronx Zoo, for example — but Lightscape is surely the biggest and most sophisticated in the city’s history.”
  • “A gift of art and timing, the exhibition had been in the works at the garden for three years and appears to be exactly what the city needs as we enter our second pandemic winter, under the specter of the Omicron variant and with the prospect of more backyard firepits and propane lamps and dining yurts, all devoid of the initial thrill.”
  • “The hunger for something else seemed clear right away. More than 60,000 tickets have sold so far, and those for weekend nights (the show runs through Jan. 9) were nearly gone as soon as they became available.”
  • “’This is a real opportunity to be out in nature and also think about what we have lost,’ [executive director Adrian Benepe] said. ‘We’re not forcing a happy, jolly experience on you.’”
  • “Sometimes the lights in the garden in Brooklyn look like fireflies; sometimes, many have noticed, the trees themselves don’t look real. Sometimes we need to be reminded that the familiar in nature belies the extraordinary.”

Celebratory lighting … and happy holidays to all.

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