Suckered by consumerism in a green hat

The Editor of my local newspaper wrote in frustration of how scammed he felt by the new energy efficient bulb conversion. They cost more, but save money on the electric bill and will last 5-7 years. His are burning out in a year and he’s mad. I feel his pain. First I have spent an unprecedented amount of money on new LED Christmas lights, each string costing sometimes 2-3 times the amount I could find mini lights on sale. Let’s ignore the disappointment I felt at the quality of light, pretty like a jewel that is visible in the dark, but casting no practical light to see by. I also ignored the fact the first white lights were to my artist’s eye unmistakably blue. After my $200.00 conversion the company came out with new “whites”. The bitter pill I can’t swallow is the “Long lasting” selling point. In the 4 years I have been using them I have replaced 80% of them. I look longingly at my old mini-lights but the green goddess inside me disapproves.  “Shame” she says. “But I can’t afford Christmas spirit, Festival of lights participation AND green consciousness,” I whine. Energy consumption, peak oil, and human habit are regular topics with a friend. He believed a carbon tax was the only way to cattle prod people into doing the right thing because they would act from their wallets as they always do. I am more an idealist. I gave up central air 3 years ago, turn out lights and installed new windows but I too am feeling scammed.  The hidden energy cost to keep replacing energy efficient bulbs is considerable. I still have the mini lights from my parents’ tree 45 years ago and they work. I wonder what net impact they would have had if my consumerism hadn’t demanded newer, better and more. Perhaps I’ll light lanterns and candles this year if we have enough local bees left to make them.  I make jewellery from the burned out bulbs. Want to buy a nice pair of earrings?

Lianne Snow


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