In a worldwide sense, using all that electricity is a marker of wealth and prosperity, according to the Center for Global Development, a Washington, D.C. think tank devoted to eliminating poverty. Americans, as a whole, use more electricity to power Christmas lights than some entire developing nations use in a year, says Todd Moss, a fellow at the center.
Residents of Ethiopia in eastern Africa, for example, use just 52 kWh per person per year, according to Moss. If Utahns lit all of those million plus lights they bought from Modern Display for just five hours a day for a month, they will have used more power than 250 Ethiopians in a year.
That’s not to say that Utahns should take down their lights, Moss said.
“We think it’s amazing and fantastic that people celebrate the holidays with lights,” he said. “It invokes positive things like peace and love and life.”
“The point,” he continued, “is that we live in a country where we can afford to put lights on just for celebration.”