How are buying the wrong Christmas lights a sign of a bright future? You’d be surprised.
Last week, I bought a string of 50 Christmas lights at a store in Boise. But when I took them out of the box at home, there was no plug to plug them in. Instead, they operated on two AA batteries.
This may not seem like anything earth shattering, but it is significant. A decade ago, battery operated Christmas lights would have been a joke. Incandescent lights of that era would have burned through two AA batteries by the first chorus of “Jingle Bells.”
But now we have LED lights, which use a tiny fraction of energy. To put it in perspective, it is estimated that lighting a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LED lights would burn 27 cents of electricity — using incandescents, the bill would be $10.
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In other words, we are lighting up our neighborhoods using less energy. We’re also doing things with non-carbon energy that didn’t seem possible just years ago.
In July, a solar-powered aircraft completed a journey around the world, while right now in Switzerland, a team is building a solar-powered aircraft that they hope will fly higher than any plane before it.
But not all our advancements are so flashy.
This year, the International Energy Agency announced the global capacity to generate renewable energy has overtaken coal.
Meanwhile, the people of the Treasure Valley have seen an increase of charging stations for electric cars. In California, British Petroleum has invested $30 million in a bio-jet producer. The multi-national company says it is responding to the airline industry’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint.
And then there are those battery-powered Christmas lights.
We are doing more with renewables than ever, which puts us on a path of reducing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in an effort to slow climate change.
That lofty goal is closer to reality than ever before. And Conservation Voters for Idaho will remain on the front line of public policies that encourage the development of renewable energy. It’s our ticket into the future, a future that looks brighter every single day.
Courtney Washburn is the executive director of Conservation Voters for Idaho, which is dedicated to protecting Idaho for future generations and works to elect pro-conservation candidates.