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Germany should ditch Christmas lights this year, says environmental group

The Local Germany
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Germany should ditch Christmas lights this year, says environmental group
Christmas lights on a street in Flensburg during Christmas 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Benjamin Nolte

Germany should go without Christmas light displays this year due to the Ukraine war and subsequent energy crisis, as well as the climate emergency, according to a high profile environmental group.

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German cities and towns are already discussing how to cut back on energy usage during the festive season as the country grapples with fears over a gas shortage and rocketing energy costs. 

Now Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe or DUH) - has said that businesses and households should massively cut down on lighting further in view of the energy crisis - and to protect the environment. 

"This winter, it should be a matter of course to do without Christmas lights in cities as well as those in houses and apartments," DUH managing director Jürgen Resch told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

"In view of the war in Ukraine, the energy shortage, but also for reasons of climate protection, we should pause for a moment," said Resch.

Environmentalists see the crisis as an opportunity for looking at sustainability and species conservation.

He pointed to the scale of electricity used for light displays during the Christmas season. "Private lighting alone causes electricity consumption of over 600 million kilowatt hours per year - as much as a medium-sized city with 400,000 inhabitants consumes in a year," Resch said.

"Add to that the potential savings from not having Christmas lights in our cities and towns."

Resch suggested a different approach this year. "Perhaps this can be reduced to one illuminated tree per community," he said.

"Consciously doing without (lights) here - saving and showing solidarity - that could make this Christmas season a very special one."

READ ALSO: What to know about Germany’s energy saving rules

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The German government has called on people to cut down on energy consumption as Russia continues to squeeze the supply. 

As The Local has been reporting, districts across the country are considering how to save energy during the darker months. 

Many regions are cutting down on lighting displays or getting rid of ice rinks. 

READ ALSO: German cities look to cut back on Christmas lights amid energy crisis

According to a survey by the trade association, lots of retailers are planning to ditch lights this year because of the sharp rise in electricity costs.

Vocabulary 

Christmas lights - (die) Weihnachtsbeleuchtung 

Climate protection - (der) Klimaschutz

Electricity consumption - (der) Stromverbrauch

Illuminated/lit up - beleuchtet

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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