Wanting to be environmentally responsible, but uncomfortable with the amount of government interference that sometimes entails, I find myself in a tight position following the implementation of a federal law that requires the old incandescent bulb to be phased out in favor of compact fluorescent lamps (CLPs) and LEDs.
Between my grandparents and Girl Scouts, it was drilled into my head that you should leave a place cleaner than you found it and think about how the little things you do might effect your own life, your family and the rest of the world. If I see trash on the beach, I pick it up. I turn the lights off when I’m not using them. I recycle. I think making more energy efficient light blubs is an awesome idea.
The problem is that the options available are a bit hard to swallow. CLPs require such care in their use and disposal because they contain mercury vapor, which was banned by the federal government in public outdoor lights. LEDs are safer, they last longer and are quite bright, but these are even more costly. The problem is that LEDs are so bright, in fact, that every time I see them on the taillights of cars, on advertising signs and on Christmas lights, my vision becomes blurry, and I can hardly see.
It’s not enough for me to just not drive at night or to squirrel away a hoard of incandescent bulbs to last me for the rest of my life. The federal government wants to improve energy efficiency – and I would like to see that happen, as well. A perfect world is one where we could all enjoy a day at the beach without seeing trash or smelling garbage, where we could go sledding and ice fishing at the proper time of year.
There is no one-step solution to problems like these, nothing that can make everyone happy. There doesn’t have to be only one solution to mass energy consumption, either. Our lawmakers have to have a better understanding of just how many different ways there are to live in the world and tailor legislation to suit those many ways, not create a cookie-cutter pattern for us all to live in.