The Reverend sees the Light!


The Fluorescent Nightmare


I had to face a melancholy truth last week,

as I stood staring into the cupboard.

Yes, I was running out of light bulbs.

Few remained to see me through the long nights,

what was I to do?


But Reverend, I hear the innocent bleat uncomprehendingly,

surely you can just pop down the shops and get some replacements?

No, children, I can’t, because I’m talking about incandescent light-bulbs,

the original and the best,

and the Australian government in its infinite wisdom

decreed some little time back that these were to be forbidden.

Now we are forced to use fluorescent lights, or CFL’s

only they have re-marketed them as

Energy Saving Lightbulbs”,

to try to overcome consumer repugnance, because everyone knows that fluorescent lights have all the ambience of a laundromat at three am.


At the time I immediately stocked up with as many incandescents as I could,

of course, and that’s what I’ve been using since then.

But we were given little notice

& my budget was limited at the time, and in retrospect

I can only wish I had hoarded even more for the dark days ahead.

For then as now I loathe the CFL’s toxic fluorescent glare, and consider the whole

exercise of prohibiting the incandescent style light bulb

a classic example of political eco-bullshit.


But Reverend, aren’t you a hippie, tree-hugging greenie?” I hear the ignorant bleat,

Surely you should conform to our preconceptions of

a left wing greenie, listening to folk music, bicycle riding, vegan etc. Surely you should be unthinkingly supporting every innovation said to be “good” for the environment?”

Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not interested in fitting into anybody’s stereotypes

Sure I’m for trees and against sandmining,

but I don’t swallow every piece of futile, feel-good eco-bullshit or spout Politcally Correct jargon by rote.


As far as I’m concerned banning incandescent light bulbs

is nothing more than the shallowest sort of political posturing.


Its the sort of political action that costs the government nothing and that achieves nothing (Estimates of the effect of this measure on total energy consumed nationally is something in the order of 0.4%) but makes a big dramatic gesture for public posturing.

Can’t you just hear Peter Garret primping “Look at my green credentials! I couldn’t install insulation to save my life but I stopped people using the lightbulb of their choice and saved the planet!” Wanker.

In reality the global campaign to ban lightbulbs comes from the lighting industry itself and has nothing to do with ecological concerns. Why did the lighting industry con governments world wide into forcing people into using CFLs?

One reason and one reason only. Money.

In the words of a Philips product manager in an unguarded moment,

Prices on incandescent bulbs are now so low that leading producers no longer make a profit on them.”

Which explains why Philips helped Congress develop the ‘lighting standards’ responsible for forcing out incandescent bulbs in the USA.

Subsequently Phillips were immediately awarded a $6 million retrofit contract on two Federal buildings, and there’s another $71 billion in further such contracts up for grabs. As the old song says, “My God how the money rolls in!”


Aside from the sheer aesthetic ugliness of the light given out by CFL’s,

(have you ever seen anyone look good under fluro lights?) and the fact that I can’t read by fluro without getting eyestrain, I have a number of other concerns/objections regarding their compulsory rollout.

  1. FREEDOM OF CHOICE. I’m sorry but isn’t this supposed to be a democratic, free society, where I have the right to consume as much electricity as I can pay for? If I choose to use a superior light source that costs slightly more to run, isn’t that MY business as long as I pay for it? Its not like electricity is rationed and even if it were rationed shouldn’t I still have the right to use my ration as I choose?Case in point. A former neighbour (your typical sanctimonious, hypocritical, middle class, white collar criminal) converted his house to CFL’s early & liked to skite over his ecological superiority. Of course, he also ran an extensive array of electronic gadgets I don’t use, including an expensive air-conditioning system, a dish-washer, dryer, large plasma TV and three computers, etc, etc. yet somehow changing the lightbulbs made him an ecologically aware being.

    (he also spent thousands on a ‘grey-water’ system.

    I use a bucket. Cost of bucket: $2.49)

  2. EXAGGERATED CLAIMS. In waging their campaign to promote the compulsory change to CFLs the lighting industry made grossly exaggerated claims of energy savings and energy efficiency. These claims were never examined by governments or various idiot groups like Greenpeace, who

    swallowed the PR bullshit verbatim, and repeated parrot fashion. Independent researchers have subsequently shone a light on the dubious claims made for CFLs

  3. HEALTH ISSUES. There are numerous health issues related to CFL’s which have not been properly addressed, including reactions to flicker (CFLs do not give a steady light) EMF, and UV exposure. Fluorescent lights have been linked to higher rates of migraine, epileptic fits, skin conditions and melanoma’s and a weakened immune system. One study found a higher incidence of melanomas resulting from exposure to fluorescent lights than from the sun! (1982 University of Sydney study) Prolonged exposure to fluorescent light has also been shown to cause chromosome damage in mice. But perhaps the biggest health risk is due to
  4. DEADLY TOXINS. Yes whereas the harmless incandescent bulb was made from a bit of metal & glass, the CFL is filled with toxic chemicals, ie, phosphor, argon and worst of all, mercury. Mercury is a deadly neuro-toxin, considered by some authorities to be unsafe to be absorbed in any amount, and each CFL bulb has about 5 milligrams of the stuff. The mercury vapour in CFLs is particularly easily absorbed by the lungs. Overseas the health warnings come thick and fast. For example, in the event of a broken CFL, consumers are warned to leave the room for 15 to 30 minutes till the gas disperses. Children, pets, and the ill especially must be evacuated. It is advised not to use a vacuum cleaner to clean up a broken bulb and if you do the vacuum cleaner is considered ‘contaminated’ and must be disposed of. Yet have we in Australia received any health warnings in regards to the risks posed by CFLs? Nooo! I am looking at the free ‘promotional’ CFL bulbpackaging the State government sent me as part of their feel-good promotion of fluorescent lighting, and are there any health warnings? NO! Is there any indication that this product contains a deadly toxin? NO!

    We should be trying to remove mercury from the environment, yet now the landfills of Australia are going to be filled with ticking mercury timebombs, slowly leaching their poisons for years to come. Yet has the Australian government made any provision for the safe disposal of used CFLs? NO.

    Furthermore, most lightbulbs in the oh so eco-conscious 1st world are made in 3rd world China, where quality control and safe working conditions are given no more than the lip service needed to get overseas contracts. As a result, mercury poisoning amongst Chinese workers in the lighting industry is widespread. Indeed, in some factories it is almost universal. (one study found 121 of 123 workers had mercury poisoning. One worker had 150 times the government mandated threshold.)

  5. LONG LIFE CLAIMS. The long half life promised for these bulbs is not backed by any guarantee. Anyhow, who has time to complain that a lightbulb didn’t last as long as it was supposed to. What! You didn’t keep the docket? hahaha!


And what about my lava lamp? I’m down to my last spare bulb. I’m not going to be able to run that with a stupid fluorescent light, am I, Kevin, mate? Did you think about that when you were taking the ecological high road? Nooo. Well Kev, I hate to rain on your parade but frankly I don’t think banning lava lamps is going to help with global warming. Maybe you should have another go at that Carbon Trading thing?

As for me, I’m going to see if I can import some incandescent bulbs direct from China or Indonesia or some other bastion of free choice.


For further information about the great lightbulb con I’d recommend starting with looking at;



 Book of the Week

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins” by R. A. Spratt


For a change of pace, this weeks recommended reading is a delightful fiction that my darling daughter put on my reading list. (I also read Boswells’ ‘Life of Samuel Johnson’ but this is funnier.)

The Green children’s mother has disappeared in a mysterious boating accident, and they have been left to the tender mercies of their father, an accountant, with all the personality flaws that profession implies. Unwilling to deal with his own children, too stingy to actually pay for a nanny, Mr Green is reluctantly forced to hire Nanny Piggins, even though she is in fact, a pig. Not just any pig mind you, but a famous, former circus pig, a flying pig, who was shot nightly out of a cannon. Yes the Green children are in luck, they have just acquired the most entertaining nanny in the world.

With that sort of show biz background, its not surprising that Nanny Piggins has an anarchic streak to her character. Despising all the things that adult humans seem to think important for children (like bedtime, homework, eating vegetables, going to school, etc) Nanny Piggins protects her human charges from these ever present threats to childhood and out wits all comers. The book culminates with Nanny Piggins triumphantly foiling the evil ringmaster who tries to make her return to the circus to fulfill her original, if dodgy, contract. (Bloody Workchoices.)

There are apparently several further titles in the Nanny Piggins series. Nanny Macphee, you sanctimonious, wart encrusted oppressor, move over! Here comes a nanny with a real rapport with children.




~ by reverendhellfire on May 23, 2010.

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