Christmas Lights are Bad for You and for the Environment
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|Last week, NASA released a report whose tone was misleadingly gleeful. Called NOAA/NASA Satellite Sees Holiday Lights Brighten Cities, it began, “Even from space, holidays shine bright.” The satellite has been monitoring patterns in nighttime lighting intensity all over the world since its mission began in January of 2012. The conclusions are unsurprising: beginning on Black Friday, nighttime lighting in and around U.S. cities brightens, and remains brighter through New Year’s Day. That we can observe this from space proves we have too much of a good thing: Our love of holiday lights has become a flagrant waste of energy. Of the 70 cities and surrounding suburbs analyzed—all south of St. Louis, because snow in northern cities reflects so much light—the team found that “in most suburbs and outskirts of major cities, light intensity increased by 30 to 50%.” Cities saw increases of 20 to 30%.
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