Agenda 21, Light Bulbs, and Smart Meters
A few weeks back I opened the local paper. I was sitting at work on my lunch break, and as I often do I turned to the Readers Tell Us column, a local section where readers can call in and leave their personal remarks on local and national issues. A individual had called in to complain about the current federal regulations restricting the sale and manufacture of incandescent light bulbs. This is a complaint that has been made repeatedly by every one from presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to local Tea Party groupies. But this time the argument, or compliant, was not about having his personal liberties encroached by the new restrictions. The individual was insisting that his home heating bills had increased do to the removal of incandescent light bulbs from his home. He claimed that the bulbs had produced so much heat that their absence was causing a increase in his heating bills.
This sort of argument is becoming more and more commonplace. Today the New York Times printed an article featuring a number of arguments about how local plans to develop green spaces, reduce carbon footprints of local communities, and even smart meters where all products of a U.N. conspiracy to create a new world order. In the past these concerns would have been brushed aside as non-sense. Today with the growing presence of local Tea Party Groups these sorts of arguments are having considerable impact on decision-making on the local level.
If we look to the Chicago-Sun Times we see how misguided such fears are. To steal a quote Kateri Callahan president of the Alliance to Save Energy, stated:
“There is a lot of misinformation… Retailers don’t have to take inventories of old bulbs off the shelves. The government is not going to come into homes to check. ... You’re still going to be able to buy incandescent bulbs. They’re just going to be 28 to 30 percent more efficient.”
So the gentlemen above may still not be placed at ease because more efficient bulbs mean less of the ambient heat that represents the primary source of wasted energy. Although the pro and cons of ‘light bulb home heating’ seem like something better left up to the Myth Busters we can rest assured that when big brother does invade our homes it wont be to check our desk lamps. For the time being make sure to check out this article and Wikipedia for a break down of the different kinds of bulbs:
Newt and his Tea Party fans commonly cite the same UN resolution when defending their fears of a new world ‘lighting’ agenda. It is ominously titled ‘Agenda 21.’ Apparently no one at the UN has a degree in marketing, because naming your environmental initiatives in the same way B-movie directors name films is no way to win over the masses. Upon actually reading Agenda 21 you’ll find a very vague plan for reducing consumption and limiting development in rural areas. The plan for in acting this agenda is more carrot then stick. It involves offering developing countries special financing for local planning and developing. For big countries it means mostly education and out reach. If this is the new world order we’re to fear, then we truly have nothing to fear but fear it self.
That is simply what most of the Tea Party’s outrage boils down to, blind fear. Individuals who, do to a lack of education, old age, misinformation from media and politicians, or simple laziness, lack the ability to adapt to an ever-changing world. This is not new. It is a story as old as time. People fear change. Therefore people fear funny shaped light bulbs. What do you fear?