Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas unplugged

Having joined the ranks of those laid low by the H1N1 virus, I've been doing some Christmas shopping online. And I've been quite horrified to see the gratuitous use of energy to power the gadgets and gizmos presented as gift ideas.  For example, what exactly is the point of a battery-powered candle? Are heated eyelash curlers really necessary? And just how many people really need a drink warmer plugged into their PC's USB drive?

Surely one of the easiest ways to reduce our energy consumption, and thereby our CO2 emissions, would be to avoid unneccessary electrification. And the next logical step from there is to look at the devices that are already electrified and work out whether they can be powered another way - kinetic energy, maybe, for small personal devices - or even clockwork.

In our consumer society most of us have pretty much everything we need, so the constant re-invention of goods is necessary to part us from our cash. But a recent survey by found that three quarters of us want to limit gift-giving at Christmas. Whether or not you're a christian, Christmas represents a time to cherish our friends and family - yet many of us neglect them for the previous weeks while we pound the pavements searching for gifts they almost certainly don't need. Time for a re-think?

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