December 22, 2007

Fluorescent or Incandescent

As a kid in boy scouts, I did a lot of backpacking, and one of the things I was taught was to always leave the campsite in better shape than I found it. I have since tried to apply that teaching to every aspect of my life, trying to have a positive impact on the world, as opposed to a negative one.

It's not easy. Driving a car, using electricity--even eating--has a negative, destructive impact on the planet. I do what I can. For example, when I moved into the parsonage eight years ago, I replaced all the incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. I even secretly replaced some of the incandescent bulbs at church with fluorescent ones.

Last week, one of the bulbs started making cracking/popping sounds. (I later discovered that it was the socket, not the bulb.) This prompted a discussion among some church members regarding the pros and cons of fluorescent bulbs. People around here aren't yet sold on the idea of getting rid of all their old incandescents, even those few who actually do care about the environment. After all, don't fluorescent bulbs contain mercury?

I decided to check that out. Yes, they do. That's why it's important that they be properly recycled. But power plants--especially coal-fired ones--spew pollutants which contain mercury into the atmosphere.

I'm pretty certain that it's better to safely recycle mercury than to spew it into the air.

Oh, well. I'm leaving on Thursday. I've been trying to decide if I should take all my fluorescent bulbs with me. On the one hand, I don't want to leave the future occupant of the parsonage in the dark. On the other, I don't want all those bulbs taken out and replaced with incandescent bulbs, with the fluorescent bulbs that were removed tossed into the trash.

My investigation of the mercury in fluorescent bulbs led me to Emerald City, the latest addition to my blogroll. It is one of several additions to the list focused on green living.


Pastor Bob Cornwall said...


I'd leave them in hoping that the church is frugal enough not to toss out good bulbs and spend money to buy new ones.

At my house there are few incadescents left. And the ones that are left aren't often used.

The future is upon us!

Siel said...

Glad I could help :)