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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BEST exchanges bulbs

Published: November 18, 2005
Section: Opinions

Now that its starting to get darker earlier (and Im talking about macroclimatic patterns, not the daily world news) Im sure many of us are beginning to start our papers and lab write-ups earlier, so that we can complete them in the comfort of daylight. Right? Good! But for those of us who arent doing so (and I know its a small minority) well, I have some news for you! Actually, youve probably heard it already. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy efficient than your typical incandescent light bulbs. Pretty elementary stuff, right? You probably already know then that they use about 34% the energy of a normal light bulb, and that if each household in America replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent, the amount of pollution prevented would be roughly equivalent to removing 1 million cars from our roads. What did you say? Light bulbs are powered by our oil and coal burning power plants? Dont those plants release harmful toxins like mercury and sulfur dioxide in our air and water ways and increase rates of childhood asthma, especially in impoverished urban communities? Well, yes. But the Bush administration has made it clear through its Clear Skies Act that those plants are here to stay at least for a little while longer. Enough politics back to bulbs.

So, youre up late at night and your incandescent-bulb-filled-lamp is glowing and wasting energy. What to do? You could go buy yourself a compact fluorescent. But theyre expensive and Wal-Mart is far away. No worries, BEST (Brandeis Energy/Sustainability Team) has come to your rescue! This week and the next, you can exchange your old bulb for a brand new compact fluorescent. Whats that you say? You dont have a lamp in your room? And your room is already haloed by the glow of fluorescence? Well, then, Id suggest going up to the nice BEST people and asking them nicely for a bulb to take home during Thanksgiving. And maybe you can eat a tofurkey too, or at least make sure that the turkey youre eating was raised and killed in an ethical way. But thats for next week.