Hoarders stash away as governments call for lights out for incandescent bulbs
Karen De Coster is a Detroit public accountant and writer. She’s also been dubbed an unofficial leader among Americans hoarding light bulbs. At last count she has as many as 500 stockpiled as the U.S. joins many nations — including Canada — in slowly having the iconic light source fade out. (Supplied)
The end is near. The lights are dimming.
So some are preparing themselves and stockpiling reserves now.
While 2012 was headlined to be the year of humanity's demise, the days of one comforting companion are definitely numbered.
Which explains why some are hoarding the old fashioned incandescent light bulb.
Around the world, there are those fighting the dying of the light as many countries outlaw old filament lights for the sake of energy efficient alternatives, including compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), halogens and LEDs.
While not a ban - many jurisdictions are just setting energy-efficient benchmarks - our old-fashioned guardians who saved us from the bogeyman and interrupted our first kiss by the front door -- the universal symbol of a great idea -- are becoming unwelcome.
Karen De Coster is a Detroit public accountant and writer. She's also been dubbed an unofficial leader among Americans hoarding old light bulbs. At last count she has as many as 500 stockpiled.
"This is a totalitarian green scheme on the part of massively powerful special interests that have banded together to serve their own political agendas," she explains through an e-mail exchange.
"It's yet another government attack on civilization. It's a condemnation of our standard of living and an attack on human comfort with the ban of one of civilization's stellar inventions."
De Coster hates almost everything about energy-savvy lights -- from their harsh glow to the potential hazard when a CFL bulb breaks. But she really loathes the government making her decisions.
The U.S. is rolling out a phase-out plan for incandescent bulbs -- though there's lots of small print and exclusions that only confuse consumers.
They follow the lead of countries such as Brazil and Australia. And as of a month ago, it's now illegal to bring incandescent bulbs into Europe.
Sporadic stockpiling has been reported, including at art galleries and museums, which prefer the mood of incandescence.
Canada had intended to target the old energy-hogging versions this year but the federal government has delayed hitting the dimmer switch until 2014. It says the public needs time to learn about the change as CFL disposal programs are set up.
Ingrid Stefanovic, a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and authority on ethics in making environmental decisions, says she believes Canadians are: "Sufficiently wise to understand the importance of supporting more sustainable energy technologies.
"Longer lasting bulbs mean more efficiency, as well as financial and energy savings."
And she adds: "But there are also sound moral reasons for change. Choosing more sustainable lifestyles is simply the right thing to do."
But the argument is really not so simple. Some researchers argue the old bulbs help heat Canadian homes in the cold months, so aren't so inefficient in some cases, while others question whether the new lights are even disrupting sleep patterns. Maybe even cause headaches.
For bulb hoarders like De Coster, it's also about government coming into her home and screwing with her bulbs.
It's a return to the low-flow toilet debacle of years ago, she rages.
"(The) larger picture involves a sort of lifestyle fascism that has taken root in this country," she notes.
"Whether it is about the freedom to have lemonade stands, talk on your cellphone while driving, or having a choice of light bulbs that please you -- all of these freedoms are being eroded in the name of saving us from ourselves."