I would like to be green

Yes I do. I would like to drive a car that is non-polluting (if I actually did drive), I would like to live in a house that uses half the energy it currently does and still be as functional.

My green readers would reply “but well, my dear sir, it is possible!”, with a list of electricity-powered cars, green technologies for the house, solar panels, and the list goes on…

Sadly said discoveries are not that green after all, to my great dismay. Recently I read about the European Union taking the decision to ban any incandescent bulb above 60W. And I thought “Haha! At last! The time is over for these yellow-piss over-heating bastards!”. I do have a deep hate for these lamps, as being an amateur photographer, I hate everything that produces a non-daylight color, and being an aquarist as well, I know too well how it feels to be exposed to such lamps for twelve hours a day right next to you in terms of generated heat…

So forcing people into buying compact-fluorescent (CFL for short) seemed like a good idea, especially since for those of us who miss the yellowish glow, they come in a variety of color temperatures suitable for all tastes. And if you stay close to them during a warm day, you do not feel any warmer than if they were not there. Plus they last longer, great is it not?

Well sadly there is a drawback. Look what is written on them. “Hg”. Does that ring a bell? Well it should, that’s mercury. You know that funny silver-looking metal that presents itself in the form of liquid bubbles that seem to like to aggregate to one another? Well yes that same one, the one that is also told to be very dangerous in paints, while dumped into a river by gold miners, and was replaced into medical thermometers due to its toxicity. Not even talking about the fact that extracting it is also a very poisonous procedure. Ask yourself why (apart from the cost) all mines in North America and Europe have been closed down.

So what happens is the following: we replace tungsten by mercury in our lamps, which all of a sudden does not seem to be that of a great idea. Of course naysayers will tell you that hey, there are LED solutions out there! And indeed, there are… using more silicon, which means very water-consuming processes involved. Another idea that might not be so great after all.

To stay with electricity, another subject is how to produce and store it. Germany had decided a couple of years ago to stop their nuclear power plants, as they are deemed to be very polluting (well if you let them go like Chernobyl, sure enough, you are in deep troubles), although the main concerns with them are adequate security (aka being willing to pay people who have nothing to do except that 5% of them time when shit hits the fan: think about Homer Simpson), and disposal of the irradiated tools (aka not the parts used into fission, we can happily reuse these into weapons, but all the screwdrivers and wrenches that have been exposed to radiation). Well guess what Germany is doing now? Backing up on that… because there is nothing better for now.

Let us talk about solar power a bit. And batteries as well, since these two are related by one element: lithium. Lithium is a very rare material, and only a handful of countries are able to produce it. Practically, all of these are in Africa or South America. Which means government that may not be that stable, politicians who might not understand that corruption is not a way of life, and a general lack of human rights. Hey good surprise, recently it was discovered (albeit through research made by Soviet scientists when they were visiting the country themselves) that Afghanistan’s soil contains the rare element too. How about getting controlled for a few years by puppets at the hand of big companies folks?

Nevertheless, I will go on using these nice CFL lights who provide me with a nice “cool white” color that I enjoy so much for reading, processing pictures and not feeling like I live in a crypt in general, but I will not forget that no matter what… there is no real green technology to light my home except for natural sunlight.