I've said this before but I don't tired of pointing it out. It is stunning how green has become the new dumb. Those caring for the environment and striving for a sustainable lifestyle used to be ridiculed as tree huggers. Now everyone professes to be one – mostly for the wrong reasons and often with unintended consequences.
Take British Gas, one of the major energy providers in the UK. Probably afraid of a bad reputation because of permanently rising costs to consumers, they chose to do something for their image. The consulting company they charged with that task came up with an ingenious and spectacularly flawed scheme, which I hesitate calling a solution. They decided to mail a set of four energy-saving light bulbs to each of their 18 million customers.
I'm one of them, and I had to go to the post office today to pick up the package that was too big to be delivered through my mail slot. When I entered, a frayed lady exited, all aggravated, muttering in exasperation, "Do I have to drive to the damn post office to pick this up?" Another angry customer, and the scheme already back-fired.
What about potential green credentials? I rode my bike to pick up the package, but the lady in front of me drove. In all likelihood, she was not the only one, burning gas to pick up light bulbs that she probably doesn't need. It's 2008, and if even the rusty chandeliers in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus are fitted with fluorescent bulbs, one can safely assume that a large part of the general populace is set.
Another reason for the failure of this scheme is the sad fact that there are two incompatible types of light sockets in the UK. The modern screw socket coexists with the simpler bayonet socket. I have two of each in my apartment. My bayonet bulbs are all energy savers; the screw ones are incandescent. What I got in the mail are bayonet bulbs. I don't know how much energy went into making and mailing them. In any case, they will just lie on a shelf waiting for those presently giving light to expire, by which time they might be superceded technologically.
Nevertheless, British Gas sends out millions of light bulbs that are potentially not needed and might go to waste, destroying resources in the process and emitting tons of carbon dioxide – all in an attempt to appear green. How dumb.