Good News and Bad News

Challenge #4: In the Dark?

Lighting is everything. It needs to be efficient and far-reaching, but not glare. It needs to be warm but not stifling. Ambient lighting can enhance or deflate the best of moods. When I saw that low-watt bulbs were part of this Green Family gig, I blanched. That morgue-green lighting just puts my teeth on edge! I’d rather sit in the dark than languish in that swampy hue. Imagine my delight when, after installing the low-impact light bulb into our living room lamp, the room ignited in the typical warm glow that other high-use bulbs display. Yeah! I guess the one we already had was made a few years ago, before General Electric mastered the family-friendly glow. Now I can save a few k-watts and not dampen—or darken—my mood!

I shouldn’t lament too loudly, though, as we have had a couple of power outages in the neighborhood recently, and when ALL the lights are out, it is DARK! Forget the romance of moonlight—if you can’t find your keys or cook your dinner, life gets dicey in a hurry. But wasting electricity is, of course, a cardinal sin against nature, particularly when you ponder where it comes from and the forces (snow pack, rain) and energy (dams, turbines, etc.) that must work in tandem so that every time we flick a button, light falls from the ceiling like water, letting us bask, read, cook, and relax in its ubiquitous glow. This is also why I find it baffling that entire skylines remain alight all night, even though 95 percent of the staff in the skyscrapers is gone (the remaining 5 percent is the janitorial staff, whom I wouldn’t expect to work in a completely dark building; but really, how many offices are being cleaned at once?). I think we all can tighten our electricity belts a bit and just use less, without being left in the dark. That’s the good news.

The bad news is, I fiddled with that watt meter gizmo for nearly an hour, read the owner’s manual cover to cover (unusual for me!), installed the batteries (more poison pellets), and couldn’t get past setting the day and time on the darn thing. I had the electric bill information ready to be plugged in (as it were) but the mini-machine wouldn’t take it. A working model might reveal some interesting data, but we all pretty much understand that the more stuff you have plugged in, blazing, buzzing, or churning, the faster your meter wheel will whirl, and the higher your bill will be.

This experience once again brings me back to the “average Joe” who wants to be “greener.” Is he really going to fork over several dollars for a do-dad that requires a degree in rocket science to operate to see where the family can “cut back” on electricity? I think not. They would do better to forgo the contraption and the batteries, put on a sweater, make a cup of tea, and gaze over candlelight discussing the trials and tribulations facing our fragile planet. It can’t hurt…

Karyl Carmignani

Read Karyl’s previous post, Chicken Noodle Soup, Part II.

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5 Comments for Good News and Bad News

Veronica | March 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

I agree-it's the little things that count and that add up quickly. I have a relative that is always buying new gadgets that will help her track calories, etc. in her quest to lose weight, when all she really needs to do is keep making little changes.

What happens to the watt gadget now that you realize you don't need it? Can it be recycled? Will it just sit around?

Don Carmignani | March 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Karyl & Paul: Kudos for your efforts to green-up the planet by letting that little light of yours shine. Usually it's the little things that make a big difference by using common sense instead of expensive gadgets. It's the “chicken noodles” that will in the end destroy the planet. DAD

karylc | March 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Hi Veronica,
I will certainly pass my gadgets forward to someone else who can use them, note the results, and make some little changes in their household that add up to Big Change for the health of the planet! I agree that we should not keep buying up all those little gizmos (mostly made in China, I might add) to accomplish things we should be able to figure out with a little common sense.

Gail | March 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I changed all my lightbulbs about a year ago, and was astounded that my electric usage went down about 25%.

Gail | March 4, 2010 at 1:11 am

I changed all my lightbulbs about a year ago, and was astounded that my electric usage went down about 25%.



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