Well, Friday is upon us and that means I’m turning my attention to ‘being green’ once again. I labeled this post ‘Seeing the Light’ for two reasons. On one hand, with the plethora of information that’s coming online today in all aspects of being ‘green’, sustainability, corporate responsibility, etc. it seems that more and more people are indeed ‘seeing the light’. Further to that, as I type this I’m listening to the TEDxSOMA live and the focus of this series of talks is on interconnection/ interactivity, sharing ideas and communication. We all share this little blue marble, and we all need to work together to find a better way to live on it. In the book ‘The Sacred Balance‘, David Suzuki used this analogy (allowing for my memory here): take a basketball, and overlay a sheet of tissue paper onto this ball. The basketball represents the earth (yes, the earth is an oblate spheroid, but stay with it). All life on earth exists in a layer comparatively similar to that layer of tissue paper. Visualizing that changes how one sees the world.
Seeing the light also means something completely different because artificial light has revolutionized how we exist in the world. Whereas we once operated largely from sunrise to sunset, artificial light changed that forever. We shifted from torches to candles to oil lamps, and in about 1809 Humphry Davy invented the first electric light. This idea was latched onto by others, and Thomas Edison finally perfected the idea for the vacuum bulb that we know today as the incandescent light bulb. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, some have gases inside the bulb, but by and large the idea hasn’t changed. I’m not going to try to guess the impact of the electric light on the industrial revolution, but it was nothing short of revolutionary. The biggest problem with the incandescent bulb however, is that it’s horribly inefficient. Any child who ever used an ‘Easy Bake Oven‘ could tell you that an incandescent bulb is primarily a heat source that also gives off some light. Somewhere around 80% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is lost in giving off heat. Halogen lamps are a type of incandecent that were first used in the movie projection industry in the 1960s. They’re now used in car headlamps as well as in residential and commercial use. Halogen bulbs use less energy and last longer than typical incandescent bulbs, but still generate a lot of heat. Continue Reading →