The Lights Are On, But No One’s Home

Without being too preachy about it, I consider myself to be an environmentalist.

Since the early 90s in fact, the last time it was cool to go green.

I’ve been using the same cloth bags to carry my groceries home since that time. I don’t use a clothes dryer. I don’t drive a car. I don’t travel especially much in general. I use things until they break down and then I have them repaired if possible. I put a sweater on rather than turn on the heat. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet (at home, at least) and I buy local produce whenever possible. My environmental footprint, while not as small as it could/should be, it about 1/4 of the average North American’s,even when you take into consideration that I will not give up my incandescent light bulbs.

Yeah, I know – compact fluorescent bulbs are supposed to be the Western world’s easy, no-fuss solution to cutting back on their energy usage. Environmentalists talk about them like they’re the second coming of Jeebus and governments are drafting legislation that would require their use, with incandescents being phased out.

Now, studies are showing that the compact fluorescent bulb could be emitting UV radiation. Sitting too close to one could give people a sunburn. There’s talk of issues with exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Maybe it’s a stupid question, but didn’t anyone think to test these things before we started forcing people to use them? If they’re making people sick, then the energy savings really isn’t that much of a priority, is it?

I’ve already had illness issues stemming from compact fluorescents; attempting to read by the light from one of these bulbs, even sitting more than the suggested 30cm away, gives me terrible migraines. My eyedoctor has offered to write me a prescription so I can continue to use incandescent bulbs once the provincial bylaw comes into effect, but I’ve been warned that I might have a hard time finding them.

So now, I buy incandescent lightbulbs every time I go to the grocery or hardware store. The nice ones with the blue Daylight tint. I’m stockpiling, although I know they won’t last forever. At some point I’ll have to look into the lightbulb black market. But I’m not going to risk my health by exposing myself to lightbulbs that make me sick. I don’t care how many carbon emissions they save.

You can have my incandescent bulbs when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.