" a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet... encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.
"The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.
Tom Wegner, who heads the public relations firm Update Marketing Media, spread the campaign via mass e-mails "To tell a child on the eighth day that we are not lighting the last candle as a sacrifice for the environment ... will prevent the release of a huge amount of carbon dioxide."
While one rabbi "warned that the campaign would take away from the light of Torah that each and every candle symbolizes" another "called the environmentalists "crazy people...they should encourage people to light one less cigarette instead,"
Either seems unlikely to threaten an Ice Age. With 3.3 million Jewish households globally, the 26 million candle savings could translate into a maximum of ~ 400 tons of CO2, while owing to the low carbon content of tobacco relative to paraffin candles, the cigarette alternative would reduce emissions by at most 16.
However, the Lord moveth in mysterious ways his carbon footprint to reduce. In an apparent demonstration of Intelligent Design, both carbon dioxide sources are completely offset by the Sabbatarian nation's statistically conspicuous drop in fossil fuel consumption on its Biblical day off.
Meanwhile back in Bethlehem, though 'tis the season for anti-smoking activists to complain about cathedrals full of second-hand Frankincense and Myrrh, traditional church candles have largely escaped Green ire. Beeswax is, after all, a biofuel.
That does not get Aloes off the hook. Incense from the wild Aqullaria tree is an ecumenical object of desire, and unsustainable Christan, Muslim, Buddhist and Shinto demand has seen it banned in 169 countries by the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Lord knows what will be next-- Balm of Gilead, Goper Wood? Or will the neoGrinches go gunning for bigger game, like partridge-bearing pear trees and flaming plum puddings?
I've helped light two dozen tapers on a bona fide London Christmas tree whose balsamic glow expanded as its needles warmed --the tapers probably totaled a couple of hundred watts. I suppose a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking may reasonably approximate the carbon footprint of a single Chanukah candle, but there are other holidays to consider. Igniting tar barrels on Guy Fawkes Day may not long survive, and If Greens set their sights on The Great Pumpkin, and mandate renewable jack-O'lantern lights, kids may end up foraging for candy on All Tallows Eve.
These are waters deep as Galliee , and I think I'll drop mathematics in favor of eggnog until somebody can tell me how many
candlepower equal a Yule log, and how many cords add up to a pillar of fire?