Wednesday, July 27, 2011

But.... I have the right to.... Do you really?

Now that much of the debate has subsided and we are on to the news headlines of this week.... I am compelled to take another look at the controversial CFL (compact florescent lamp) issue.   Funny thing... I had a working experiment going on during the week of this story as it made it's way across the news just a couple of weeks ago.  You see... one of the exhibits in the "green tent" that I was encamped in at the Oakland County Fair was in fact a simple display on how the CFL performs vs. the incandescent light bulb.   I can't help to think this is not the first (or last) time this conversation has taken place.  Consider the advent of the motorized bicycle or buggy.  I imagine that those who really liked the way their current offering of bicycles performed were not at all impressed with the motorized version.  I can imagine the push back...." That will never work.... why would people not want to just peddle.... It's too loud... smelly... scares my horse!"

Premier Kites & Designs Horse and Buggy Garden Spinner
During my week in the tent... I heard a lot of those same statements coming from the visitors who stopped in to visit.  Please don't misunderstand... I DO appreciate the visitors AND accept the opportunity to have open discussion on the issues of the day.  It's just that I see some type of common thread that runs through some people.  There is a stubbornness in the air when it comes to accepting new idea's and innovation.   Perhaps stubbornness is not the right word... but until I find a more accurate word.... I will stick with it.   Here is how the typical conversation might develop.... The individual approaches with curiosity... and almost always a smile.  Now that is not always as it might appear because sometimes smiling faces.... don't always tell the truth. 

The demonstration is pretty simple and is not unlike something you'd find in a school science fair.  A basic series of three light fixtures running CFL's lined up next to a series of three incandescent bulbs.  Kind of like a series of three horse drawn carriages lined up in a race with three motorized carriages.  The two are run through a volt meter intended to demonstrate the draw of electricity required to run each type of bulb.  It comes at no surprise that the CFL shows a draw of about 33-35 on the meter and the incandescent is drawing 100-105 on the meter.  What do we see on the surface?  The data shows that there is an net reduction in electrical use by roughly one third.  "Wow... that's pretty impressive... what you've got there."  Here is where things start to blur.  "But... ya know... I don't like the type of light that comes from those new bulbs... I just can't see as good, takes too long to warm up (5-15 seconds in cold rooms), and they don't work in my garage in the winter."   It begins to sound what I imagine the early nay Sayers might have said about the motorized buggy.

A compact fluorescent, a GE LED, an EcoVantage energy-efficient incandescent, a Philips LED, and a halogen  all alternatives to traditional lights.

  But... there is much more to the story.... you see... because inevitably this type of person feels the need to bring the Constitution into the discussion.  Yes... the United States Constitution is being sited as given this person the freedom to choose what they feel is their... "Constitutional Right" to chose what ever type of light emitting diode they deem is best for their discriminating eye sight...regardless of the performance facts displayed as evidence before them.  Really?  Do you really have the right to make that choice??   
Let's take another look at the volt meter again.  There is a one third factor in reduced electrical consumption with the newer technology and this will undoubtedly get much better with the next generation of LED lights now taking the world by storm.   Let's take this and apply the numbers to say a simple number of 1,000,000 current users of light.  That would be 30,000,000 vs 100,000,000 and now that is a 70,000,000 saving in electrical consumption.  That is some serious KWH we are talking about here.  Consider the amount of coal that is needed generate that extra 70,000,000 and the cost to un-earth,  process, transport to the production facility... add in the impact to the land mined, emission produced to transport, and then the emissions released during the combustion process.  That is pretty significant!
Edelbrock - 6593 - Performer Series Air/Fuel Ratio Monitor - Goodies S

Now the politics come into the equation.  Wait a minute... that may be true... but the Constitution still protects my rights to choose.  Really?  And... the guy on the radio show I tune into every day.... say's it's not true.  Those guys over there... they are wrong... there is nothing harmful about any of this.... and... besides... it protects jobs!  What?  You have to consider the effect that this type of mentality has had on a good portion of the population.  The same droning drum beat day after day... year after year... from morning until late into the night and then again the next day... over and over... and what do you get?  People stop thinking for them selves and in effect... become walking... talking.... extensions of that same drum beat... over and over... even after it the thought of being rational has long since passed.  I see it as a kind of brain washing or thought engineering on society.  People are so hung up on the politics and stop thinking about what is best for the masses in favor of what is best for the party or political agenda. 

Advanced Graphics Uncle Sam - 74 x 19, MODEL: 379

Well... that takes me well of track... but the point is made that when the right to free choice that has negative consequences on the majority (think globally) exceeds the free choice of the minority (think political party) then what happens?   The answer here is usually some type of mandate or legislation is put into place designed to protect the masses from the minority.  Think of mandates like.... speed limits. Why do we have speed limits on the Federal Highway system.  It is not a suggestion that you drive at or near the speed limit.  In fact... if you drive too slow... that is a violation as well because it creates a hazard to the majority.   There are no signs I've seen posted that say.... " The suggested speed limit is 70.... or  " We suggest you drive slower in construction zones... since the death of one of the workers may be a distraction to our work... not to mention a loss to a family..." . 

What about automobiles and seat belts?  I personally find them uncomfortable and restrictive.  When we were kids... seat belts were an optional choice. Heck... for that matter... I recall seeing children sprawled out on the rear dash like a rag doll... unknowing of the potential of what physics had in store for them in the event of a sudden stop or worse yet a collision.   This is a perfect example of the mandates made to protect the masses from the potential for disaster even against those who might prefer the freedom of choice.  Try and pull out your pocket Constitution when the officer is writing you up for speeding in a construction zone with no seat belt on!     

The bottom line on this story is... enjoy the freedoms you have today provided by the Constitution... since so many in the world have tried other systems and failed while our's is still a work in progress.  Enjoy the freedom to choose... incandescent, CFL, LED, Candle, or natural sun light.   One thing is for sure.... there will be more developments and probably mandates coming to a town near you.  Stock up on your bulb of choice since change happens when we least expect it. 

Forgot to show you a simple and easy CFL Recycling solution with pre-paid recycling kits.

Each household only goes through a small amount of CFL's per year.  This system provides easy, convenient, and eco responsible options for your house hold and business recycling needs.  There are also kits available for house hold batteries, florescent light tubes ,  ballasts, and mercury containing devices.    These kits make great fund raising opportunities for your school, civic group, church group, or any community group.  Learn, teach, live.... cleaner and greener!