I belong to a listserv for people in my region who are interested in local food. Usually posts announce a conference, ask for assistance on a local farm, etc, but for the past two weeks, people have been shooting emails back and forth about the evils of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL's). And this drives me nuts.
People have brought up the three main issues, 1) They're expensive 2) They cast a harsher light than incandescents and 3) They pose a disposal problem because they contain mercury. (Note that many recycling centers accept CFLS and it's a miniscule amount of mercury)
Now, I'm not going to tell you to spend more than you can afford or change your mind about the warmth of the light, but these people jump from expense and disposal problems to GIANT CORPORATE MONEYMAKING SCAM (the easiest cop-out in the book for environmentalists) and "there's nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned incandescent bulb." Wha?
I'll be the first to tell you that I don't watch TV because I think it's expensive and I hate the commercials, and thus am something of a Luddite myself. But to be so knee-jerk anti-progress gets us nowhere. People will continue to use lightbulbs. CFLS consume less energy than incandescents, but cast a harsher light and require a little extra effort to dispose. LED's trump them all, but they aren't widely available and really ARE expensive. The Luddite conclusion? Don't use CFL's and wait until something better comes along! They're damning the good for the sake of the perfect. The only outcome of such thinking is a continued demand for energy provided almost exclusively in Virginia by coal-fired power plants and to an extent by mountaintop removal mining.
My grandmother reads this blog, so I'll only say quit your...carping and replace your bulbs with CFLS when they burn out, decide that the light isn't so bad and take them to the recycling center in about 3 years when they burn out. Ok? Ok.