In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Turn off the lights!

John Dvorak is cranky. While this isn’t exactly news, I’m 100% behind him on the topic of his latest diatribe in PC Magazine, “Turn Off the Lights!”

He says:

Grow up and learn to turn off the darn lights in the house! Talk about leaving lights on; I have a view of San Francisco from my home. The place is lit up 24/7 like a Roman candle. Turn off some lights! Why am I the one hassled by all this politically correct green blather while these lights are on?

I noted this same thing when I worked at the museum. The staff I worked with was largely in their twenties. Despite how saving energy is again all the rage, it was a rare occurrence that I’d find the washroom light off. It was a single-person washroom so there is certainly no reason to leave the light on. Indeed, seeing no light escaping under the door tells you it is unoccupied. With the light left on so often, you can’t be sure until you try to open the door.

Why have the little ways to save energy fallen by the way-side? Even though my parents were not terribly strict about energy savings, I must have picked up my habits from the media and others around me. The memory of the energy crunch in the 1970s remained in the popular consciousness during my formative years. It is an absolute waste to leave lights on in empty rooms so I developed the habit of turning them off. I’m not convinced that it’s an entirely conscious habit any more, which is a good thing. On the other hand, many young people today are gung-ho about carbon-dioxide emissions and the other sexy environmental issues, but they can’t seem to turn the lights off.

Dvorak’s assessment of many involved in the green movement also strikes me as being right on the money.

What bothers me most about the green movement is the arrogance — the greener-than-thou attitude — of many participants. Combine these people with the dummies who just go along with the flock regarding what is best for mankind — er, personkind — and you have a dunce brigade telling everyone what to do.

I knew someone who was passionate about recycling. The problem was she recycled things that were not recyclable. Light-bulbs are not recyclable, despite being glass, but she’d put them in the blue box anyway. There were other things, like aluminum foil with food still stuck to it and any bit of metal. None of these things are acceptable for our municipal recycling program, but in they went. Despite her zeal to do the right thing, she was actually contaminating the material to be recycled, possibly causing far more trouble than the acceptable items were worth.

And just try having an intelligent discussion about environmental dogma. You get off easier insulting someone’s religion, which is precisely what the green movement seems to have turned into.


Length matters


Your eyes are the door?!


  1. Debbie F

    This post is spot on. I have friends who recycle everything they think should be recycled- not paying any attention to what our city takes. They are also the same people who leave all the lights in the house on and all computer equipment/music equipment on all the time. And yet they go on about how the environment needs to be protected. The disconnect between people’s actions and beliefs always amazes me. I am by no means an environmentalist, but do things for purely practical reasons — reusing things saves money and is less wasteful. Same goes for turning off the lights.

  2. Expect a reply in the form of a post, Debbie. You’ve hit on some points I’d like to mention from my perspective.

  3. WTL

    I know an environmental consultant who owns an SUV (but, they swear, it’s small!), and drives it all over the place, and does so many things that are *clearly* ungreen.

    I too developed the habits to leaving lights off, and I have a further trick; if you have empty space in your freezer/fridge, fill pop bottles (or apple cider bottles) with water and put them in as heat sinks. Works wonders.

  4. Shawn

    Kids in my house pay a penalty ($0.25) for each light, TV, etc. left on when they leave the room. They are now real conscious about it and it has paid off.

  5. Scott

    On a similar topic, everyone is buying the energy saver florescent bulbs, are we really thinking of the planet with these things? They are all filled with mercury vapor! I’m no chemist, but I do not think this stuff is planet friendly.

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