How Many Lightbulbs?

By 2016, the whole of America will have to give up the nice, warm, incandescent light bulbs we all know and love, for the cold, unfriendly, glare of those stupid, curly-wurly things that Wal-Mart sells for an arm and a leg, advertising that they last so much longer, and are much more environmentally friendly, than the good old hundred-watter of days gone by.

Personally, I’ve dug my heels in and refused to buy even one of these blighted monstrosities. Is it because they’re not as environmentally friendly as Wal-Mart decrees, or am I just one of those earth-unfriendly beings determined not to be put out by eco-warriors demanding I succumb to every crazy, “save the planet” idea they can un-glue from their marijuana-impregnated minds?

Well, certainly not the latter. I have the greatest regard for eco-warriors, marijuana-impregnated minds, or not. At least they’re making an effort to save the world from global warming, which is more than can be said for the politicians, who seem to think economies are just that bit more important than reversing climate change.

And that’s exactly why I have no stupid, curly-wurly, unfriendly-glare-inducing things sticking out of the light sockets in my house.

Still uncertain as to my thinking? Let me help you out.

In the town of Decatur, Illinois, exists a sugar-processing plant known colloquially as “Staley”. It is, in fact, owned by the titan corporate, “Tate & Lyle”, in turn owned by the ethanol producer, ADM, in turn owned by……and so on…..

“Great fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to bite ’em, and little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum”

Below, is a photograph of Tate & Lyle’s Decatur plant or, at least, one of it’s polluting chimneys.


The effluent depicted flows from this chimney, without respite, for 365 days out of every year. Tate & Lyle have recently applied for, and been approved, two more boilers each allowed to emit one hundred tons each of carbon monoxide, and other lethal and greenhouse gases, every year. This has been passed by the EPA.

It’s just one plant of thousands throughout the US that pollutes and shortens the lives of many Americans in the great cause of making money for its owners.

What, you may ask, has this to do with the lightbulbs in my house?

It’s really a question of rather complex mathematics. I’ll leave you to ponder the answer.

How many lightbulbs will I have to change to counter the global warming pollutants of Tate & Lyle?

How many lightbulbs will America have to change to counteract corporate pollution throughout this nation?

When you’ve worked out the answer, and can convince me changing my lightbulbs will really help prevent further global warming, I’ll be happy to hear from you.

Oh, and by the way, those environmentally friendly, curly-wurly, lightbulbs contain toxic mercury. Drop one in your home and it could cost you $2,000 to have it safely cleaned up.[1]

Now that’s what I call “going green”.

[1] “Shining a light on hazards of fluorescent bulbs”, MSNBC

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4 Replies to “How Many Lightbulbs?”

  1. We’ve replaced a few bulbs with the curly-wurly variety, as others die off. It’s as a token more than anything else, to remind ourselves “why”. I also fly the Earth flag (alone – no stars and stripes) in the front yard – as a token, and when somebody asks what it is, as several have done, we tell ’em. We ferry newspapers and drinks cans 35 miles to deposit them in recycling bins, which are non-existent in our town. It’s a token effort.

    I feel the only thing the average man and the woman in the street have for the moment is token support for the cause.
    It’s better than now’t. 🙂

  2. LOL, RJA:
    ‘demanding I succumb to every crazy, “save the planet” idea they can un-glue from their marijuana-impregnated minds?’
    I feel it such a personal thing, this changing my behaviour to improve our toxic environment. I will not be preached to either. I drive a small car, a Toyota Echo (Yaris). I am surrounded by SUVs on any trip I take, people tell me I should drive an SUV as I’m ‘not safe’.

    Well, this car mindfulness has to start somewhere, is my reasoning. If we all drove Smarts or Echos and used public transit more there would not be an oil crisis, there mightn’t have been the invasion of Iraq.

    But I could only do my only little bits of change.

    And I hate those curly wurlys too!

  3. I agree with everyone. Worrying about lightbulbs while huge earth sins flouish is absurd. Our town has a bus service and it is always empty. What will it take to make people conserve?

  4. Twilight – you’re right, it is “better than now’t”, and as you rightly point out, all the things we do as individuals are very much token gestures. At least, compared to the ability of corporate industry to cut their emissions. Something they will never rush to achieve without legislation and legal controls.

    WWW – don’t get me started on SUVs! They are generally some of the most unsafe vehicles on the road. Big never necessarily means better, (despite all the nefarious products hawked by internet spammers precisely for the purpose!) and the ability of SUVs to tip over accounts for many deaths every year. Americans need to change their driving habits. Maybe the $4 gallon will assist them to do so. (As one who hailed from Britain with it’s $10 gallon, I still think I’m getting it cheap!)

    Flimsy – perhaps, what it will take is those who control this nation setting an example and doing what they never, ever, do – practicing what they preach.

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