Colombia's Carbon Neutral Christmas Wonderland

Medellín's spectacular holiday lights display draws thousands of tourists to Colombia's second-largest city every year. Few visitors are likely to realize that the energy intensive displays are carbon neutral.

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December 25, 2013, 7:00 AM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Medellin Holiday Lights

Luz Adriana Villa / flickr

"Rated in 2012 among the world’s Top Ten Places To See Holiday Lights by National Geographic Traveler, Medellín’s display is truly impressive, with walking tunnels, enormous structures set on median strips, and light formations carpeting swathes of the city’s river, all based around a different theme every year and visited by thousands of city residents and tourists each day," writes Charles Parkinson. 

So how could a $9 million exhibition using 27 million light bulbs possibly be environmentally sensitive? 

"Since 2009, the event has been carbon neutral, with LEDs replacing incandescent lights, environmentally friendly materials used for the displays, and money plowed into reforestation projects large enough to offset not only the emissions produced as a result of the displays, but also by the influx of visitors and vendors’ vehicles and stalls," he explains. "Such initiatives are especially significant given that Medellín is considered one of the most polluted urban centers in Latin America."

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