A day for candlelight? | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A day for candlelight?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 5:47 AM


Thirty-two years ago this morning, a gray pall enveloped the city. The humid air  was thick enough to cut with a knife. Thunderstorms were threatening.

I remember because it was a momentous day. Late in the morning, I was married at Westover Hills Presbyterian Church. Ellen and I had a brunch afterward. Art Porter played the piano. Thirty-two years later, I'm lucky to say, the marriage endures.

So what do you do for a 32d anniversary? Dinner out is always nice. As it happens, a number of Little Rock restaurants are having a "lights out" night tonight -- candles instead of conventional lighting to go easy on the environment. Sounds romantic, no?

But then I got a note yesterday from a correspondent at UAMS. He wrote:

Regarding the hyped "lights out" that several Little Rock restaurants are touting for Thursday night, there seems to be an assumption that candles don't generate CO2. In fact, they do -- about 3.67 pounds for every pound of candlewax consumed!  It's been estimated that commercial electricity generates CO2 at a rate of about a kilogram per kilowatt-hour consumed.  By that calculation, a room lit by 10 light fixtures, each burning three 32-watt fluorescent bulbs, would generate 8.42 lbs of CO2 in four hours.  Now, I'm not sure how much candlewax one goes through in four hours, but if we assumed it was 3 ounces per candle, you'd generate the same level of CO2 with just a dozen candles! 

I mean, I'm all for Earth Day and enviromentalism-- you'll find me huggin' a tree at least once a week.  But this candelight dinner just seems like a poorly thought-out stunt to me.

So there you go. Much as I might like to treat my wife to a fancy dinner, tonight, would I end up worrying about the environmental impact? So how about Sloppy Joes and "Countdown" around the video hearth, flourescent lightbulbs blazing?  Sounds pretty good to me, not to mention typical.

Happy anniversary, hon.

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