Despite serious concerns about purchasing power, despite the Grenelle and the Bali conference, signs abound that it is still business as usual for the festive season. Societal pressure to force-feed one’s entourage with useless, over-packaged gift items has not abated a whit and the only good green news seems to be that the traditional Christmas decorations on the Champs-Elysees have been engineered with eco-friendly light bulbs which will cut the electricity bill for the display by 70 per cent, according to the Paris town hall authorities.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Junior Minister for the Environment, wants local authorities all over France to take a serious look at their Christmas footprint. She has asked the French Enivironment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) to carry out a study of the environmental impact of Christmas which will result in guidelines on reducing the festive footprint at the local level. The study will focus on four main themes – electricity consumption linked to Christmas decorations and lighting, public transportation needs for city centres, the promotion of eco-friendly purchases as gifts and the management of waste and packaging.
“More than any other holiday, Christmas is an occasion to reflect on the social and environmental under-side of our consumption and in this domain local authorities should also lead the way,” Kosciusko-Morizet said in a statement.