Friday, December 23rd, 2011
OK I get that Christmas lights are a tradition that radiates joy in our privileged society. I get that the festive season is about Santa and goodwill. What I don’t get is this obsession with Christmas consumerism and the accompanying energy glut that gets public adoration.
Tell me this… why do we cut down our use of paper clips in the office all year and turn off the lights when we aren’t in a room? Why do we bother carpooling and why do we recycle? Because in December every year our media rush out to promote the houses that do exactly the opposite by stringing untold party lights across their roofs and gardens in some hope of becoming 5-minute famous.
The media should be doing the opposite. But how many newspapers are running the story about the arsehole wasting resources to become that local 5-minute neighbourhood hero? Next to none, if any.
What lesson about the urgency of global warming does that Christmas light display send to our children other than “BURN MORE COAL”? We wonder why human induced global warming isn’t taken seriously across society… take one look at those Christmas light displays on your local news channel.
I look at the newspapers pushing these “fabulous displays of Christmas spirit” as somehow socially irresponsible. It’s about selling papers. But at some point we need to turn our consumption and consumerism around into some coherent society that can operate on the idea of enough, equity and moderation. And we are going to need mainstream media to help facilitate that change of attitude on a broad social scale.
So just consider two small things this Christmas… will one more present from China make your child love you any more or less in the long-term? And, will burning another truckload of coal in a Queensland suburb really be harmless entertainment in the long-term?
If you can’t see the link between consuming more energy and the science of human induced global warming then nothing will change your mind about Christmas lights or rampant consumerism. That extra Chinese toy took resources, water, fossil fuels and trees in production. At a certain point Christmas stops being about goodwill and peace to all and metamorphises into “fuck the rest of the world because I’ve got money.”
Remember this… with privilege comes responsibility. Try this Christmas lesson::: teach your children to be good people, to work hard and to make a difference.
The Environmental (Green) Grinch
Pooping Parties across the Developed World