I’m Dreaming of A Green Holiday

P1080447Thanksgiving is this Thursday and the blur that is the holiday season is now officially upon us.  But before the calendar gets all filled up with shopping dates and the usual ho ho ho, allow me to suggest that you join me, my friends and many members of the Southern California green community – along with everyone curious about solar energy, alternative energy vehicles and living sustainable lifestyles – at the blowout eco-fest of the year, Renewable L.A. on Saturday December 8, 2007 in Van Nuys.

It might even be worth a trip from out of town, because if you’re there we can get a rooftop tour of a brand new, state of the art solar panel panel system and learn all about it.  It’s a 100kW system.

We can test drive electric cars, hybrid cars, plug-in hybrid cars, biodiesel cars, and electric scooters.  

We’ll get the chance to get up close and personal with electric conversion vehicles like:

The eBox from AC Propulsion…

The electric Vectrix Maxi Scooter the world’s first high-performance electric two-wheel vehicle to offer all the benefits of a traditional gasoline-powered scooter but without the noise, pollution, expensive maintenance, frequent oil changes, and regular trips to the gas station. 

The company turning already extraordinary Prius hybrid cars into beyond extraordinary PLUG-IN Prius hybrid cars, Plug-In Conversions Corporation, will have cars there for us to test ride and find out about.

I’m talking about stuff like the breakthrough Nilar NiMh batteries they’re using today while the big auto companies are still keeping us waiting for our Plug-Ins…

And we can test ride the electric car you can buy right now, the Zenn from Zenn Motor Company

We can also watch a special, digital screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car” in a luxury screening room and participate in a live, in-person Q&A with the director, Chris Paine and former GM EV-1 employee, Chelsea Sexton.  

Chelsea Sexton, Executive Director of Plug-In America.

 We’re also going to be able to attend expert seminars on how to finance our home’s solar system, how to purchase green power from our electric utility, the basics of biodiesel and much more.

 We’ve all got questions, and Renewable L.A. promises to have answers from the people who know best, all in one very convenient location.

And you’re going to want to bring the kids and their friends too for the safest, most sustainable and greenest Kids Fun Zone ever with the Armory Center for the Arts Solar Print Making Using the Sun…

An innovative and irresistible Toy-Making from Recyclables workshop with Cy Tymony, author of “Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things”… 

There’s going to be face painting with non-toxic paints and plenty of other non adult good times to be had as well. 

This promises to be one of the greenest, safest, most creative events for both kids and their favorite adults.

 And just in time for holidays a Green Holiday Gift Fest will feature eco-friendly gifts from green vendors as well as the easy opportunity to fuflill your holiday gift needs by donating in your recipients’ names to a long list of environmental and animal rescue organizations.

Renewable L.A. is the brainchild of Zan Dubin Scott, a remarkable member of the Southern California environmental movement.  After 15 years as a staff writer with the Los Angeles Times, Zan struck out on her own and has run a very successful and highly effective public relations, marketing and writing agency ever since.  

 She has leveraged her media and marketing skills and expertise to promote clean transportation and alternative energy use.  Her best known efforts include the documentary film, “Who Killed the Electric Car.” Zan not only helped to organize and execute some of the hit film’s key media events and other activities, but is also one of many grassroots activists featured in the movie.

 Now Zan is calling attention to one of the largest and newest solar installations in the San Fernando Valley – that  100kW system I mentioned.  It’s at a facility housing  entertainment industry leaders American Hi Definition and Sweetwater Digital Productions.

 Both companies are not only leading the way as they walk the green walk, they’re also co-hosting Renewable L.A. to help get the word out and give the green community a place and event to come together and build our momentum.

 The third sponsor of the event, Energy Efficiency Solar is the company who installed the 100kW solar panel system for American Hi Def and Sweetwater and they’ve been installing commercial and residential solar systems since 1989.  I’m looking forward to talking with them about what’s possible for my own home.

 I’d like to talk to them about doing what Zan Dubin Scott already does – charging an electric car exclusively from solar.  For anyone concerned about using coal fired power plant energy to charge their electric car or plug-in, solar charging is the answer that quiets any and all critics.

 But more than anything else I’m looking forward to being there with all of you and so many other kindred spirits and like-minded green people.

 If ever there were a time for the gathering of this clan, it’s this holiday season and it’s here in Southern California, the world capitol of both conspicuous consumption and conservation consciousness. 

 The time is especially opportune in light of last week’s news from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that global  warming is “unequivocal”  

 That’s right, no more wiggle room for even the looniest of right wing fruitcakes or Fox News personalities.  The UN report says climate change will bring “abrupt and irreversible changes.”  That’s “will” not “might.”  It’s no longer just an Inconvenient Truth it’s now an Inescapable Truth. 

The report, a plain spoken, high-level message for the world’s politicians distilled from three other IPCC panels convened throughout the year, read like what Time Magazine will call it next week: “A Last Warning to Humanity. 

“Today the world’s scientists have spoken clearly, and with one voice,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Climate change “is the defining challenge of our age.”

One thing is certain – that challenge is not going to be met by anyone in Washington DC, it’s going to be met by people like you and me and the other kinds of people who will be attending Renewable L.A. on Saturday, December 8.  We all need to meet and get to know each other.  We need to be talking, sharing experiences and working together even more closely.  People like me have got to do more.

Because we’re the people who ARE going to change this world, the same way we changed ourselves, and our families and our friends.  The same way so many of you have already made a difference.

The same way citizen volunteers in the Bay Area didn’t wait for the “authorities” to take the necessary clean up action from the oil spill last week. They got out there and did it themselves. Read about the Kill the Spill efforts if you haven’t already.

I’ve never found my own friends more responsive, more engaged or more passionate about any other issue we’ve had in common.  And it’s not because of me – that fire is already burning inside them and I’m just discovering it now.

I know it’s burning in you too.  And as in nature, when the winds of change bring all those individual fires together they combine to conflagrate into an unstoppable wildfire that cannot be contained.

I know it’s dangerous and maybe even crazy to be making fire analogies during these drought dry, red flag warning, Santa Ana blowing days – especially for this greenest of holiday events – but the heat is on, and I’m just saying how cool it would be if you were there.

Visiting NEPTUN – Source Of A New Light


If you’ve been following our CFL journey of learning so far, you know that I’ve replaced over 30 different incandescent light bulbs in our home with their equivalent CFL bulbs.   

NEPTUN-Catalog-10After making the switch I had questions about my new light bulbs and their performance – and so too did many of you. 

To get the answers and learn more about today’s CFLs I reached out to four different CFL manufacturers.  Neptune Light, Overdrive Lighting and Technical Consumer Products (TCP who make the DuraBright brand), all of whom make the new bulbs I installed.  I also wrote to Greenlite, a favorite of our friend Burt. 

One of the four companies got back to me less than 24 hours later.  It was Jeff Beck writing on Neptun Lighting’s behalf.  

63f175b0Many of you know that Jeff Skunk Baxter, formerly of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, is today an expert on counterterrorism and  missile defense, but who knew that guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck was now an expert on energy saving lighting?

 As it turns out, Neptun’s Jeff Beck does his rocking as the company’s Director of Sales, which put him in an even better position to answer our questions about their new dimmable bulbs and to fill us in on Neptun’s story and place in the industry.

 Beck told us that Neptun Light is the leading manufacturer of dimmable CFL’s with more than 25 models in various wattages and numerous shapes.  You can see some of those bulbs in the photos throughout this post.

 From doing our green homework we knew that Neptun’s CEO, Andrew Bobel, is also the company’s founder and its Chief Engineer and we were intrigued by the 40 patents their website says he holds.  We wanted to know more and Beck filled us in on Bobel’s background and Neptun’s history.

 NEPTUN-Catalog-117“Andrew has been in the lighting industry for more than 25 years and holds key patents on linear lamp ballasts, CFL ballasts, dimmable CFL ballasts and many more. He is the inventor and patent holder of the End-of-Life Protection Circuit that has now been mandated in all Electronic Linear Lamp Ballasts,” Beck told us.

 “You in fact may consider him one of the ‘Fathers of the CFL Industry.’  It was Andrew that first convinced TCP (Technical Consumer Products, which sells to Home Depot under the Commercial Electric and N:Vision brand names) to enter into the CFL industry in the first place,” Beck went on to say.

Beck shared more about Bobel’s relationship with TCP, the big dog in the CFL industry, “Andrew then spent the better part of seven years (1995-2001) designing and patenting additional CFL models, licensing them to TCP as their sales grew into the tens of millions at Home Depot alone. As of last year TCP sold more CFL’s in the US than any other manufacturer.”

NEPTUN-Catalog-22It will be interesting to see if TCP responds to the email we wrote them asking our questions about their products and their company.  Jeff Beck has set a high standard in terms of responsiveness and direct, frank and thoughtful answers to our questions.  We really appreciate that he didn’t just send us the usual boiler plate corporate verbiage. 

Once upon a time, in the 1.0 era of the net, I contributed to the “The Cluetrain Manifesto” which declared:

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.  

0738202444.01.LZZZZZZZJeff Beck and Neptun Lighting get that.  Beck communicated with me as if we were having a real conversation.  Clearly he got on board when the Cluetrain arrived at the station.  Not everyone does.

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked. 

According to Beck, after developing a full line of products for TCP, Bobel decided he would begin designing the next generation of products using more sophisticated materials and electronics. However this time he decided to start his own company, Neptun Light.   

“He then spent the next few years in R&D designing, testing and perfecting his newer designs. We started selling standard CFL’s nearly two years ago and released our dimmable lamps in January of this year,” Beck related.

Then he answered the questions I had for him:  

NEPTUN-Catalog-85Creative Greenius – Why does my dimmer switch on the wall buzz when I dim my CFLs?

Jeff Beck – The buzzing noise comes from the RFI Inductor Choke that every dimmer has. However older dimmers seem to have more of an issue with this than newer models which is one of the reasons we recommend using our lamps in conjunction with dimmers made after 1995. To further address this issue and other performance related issues Neptun has designed a line of dimmers which will eliminate all audible buzzing. Our line of dimmers are designed for both CFL’s and incandescent and they incorporate an adjustable range to eliminate flickering at levels below 10%. 

Creative Greenius – Is there an initial burn in period for all dimmable CFLs or is it specific to the manufacturer?

NEPTUN-Catalog-28Jeff Beck – As you can imagine I cannot speak for other manufactures, but considering the large number of individual electrical components used in dimmable CFL ballasts, I would recommend a burn-in for all dimmable CFL’s. 

Diodes, inductors, and other small components are made in runs of millions at a time and though they are nearly identical they sometimes have the slightest tolerance variations. Then combining 30 components that may or may not have an initial variance causes the lamps to perform with slight variations from one another at the low end. However, as our lamps are burned in these variances dissipate and the lamps function more uniformly. 

Creative Greenius – What range of dimmability should we expect from R20 type bulbs?

NEPTUN-Catalog-127Jeff Beck – We expect a dimmable range down to 10% from all of our dimmable models. However, the obtainable low level is sometimes restricted by the range of the dimmer used in conjunction with our lamps. 

Neptun dimmable CFLs were designed to work with all standard dimmers on the market today but with the vast number of dimmer manufacturers each having multiple models with different mechanical ranges, some existing dimmers are going to work better than others. 

Furthermore, none of the mainstream dimmer manufacturers are making dimmers specifically for CFL’s, in fact many of them including Lutron print right on their box, “Not for Use with Compact Fluorescent Lights”. We often say that Lutron did not design their dimmers to work with our lamps; we designed our lamps to work with their dimmers. 

We have approved numerous dimmers for use with our lamps but when an end user is not getting the expected range we have until recently recommended the Lutron SkyLark. However, as we come closer to full production of our dimmers we will simply sell one of our models instead. Our dimmers will be available by mid December and will retail for less than, if not all dimmers currently available further facilitating the use of energy efficient lighting.

NEPTUN-Catalog-123Creative Greenius – What are the differences between Neptun’s CFL bulbs and your competitor’s products?

Jeff Beck – As far as differences between our CFL’s in general, we have incorporated a number of advancements that places us at the forefront of CFL technology. As I mentioned, we have over 25 models of CFL’s where you might find two or three from most other manufacturers. However in addition to that, all of our CFL’s, both dimmable and standard, use Amalgam rather than liquid mercury which eliminates the worry of mercury contamination if broken or when disposed. 

NEPTUN-Catalog-119Also all Neptun lamps have End-of-Life Protection Circuits and Electronic Preheat Circuits which protect the lamps from Hot Re-Strikes and prevent the lamp from over heating at end of life. 

Finally, all of our CFL’s are certified for totally enclosed fixtures, on nearly all other CFL’s you will see printed on the box, “Not for Use in Totally Enclosed Fixtures”, in the case of Sylvania you cannot even read that unless you first buy the bulb and open the package as the warning is written on the inside panel of the package.

Creative Greenius – That’s great to know.  Although I’m not surprised to hear that about Sylvania, who I consider a Legacy light maker.  Thanks so much for your time and all the great info, Jeff.

NEPTUN-Catalog-134Jeff Beck – My pleasure, I’m glad you found the information useful.  And on a personal note, kudos to you for shining a light on the “20th Century Manufacturers” that resisted this industry simply to sell lights that have a shorter life span.  Again, it is a pleasure corresponding with you, please let me know if there is anything else I can do.

Creative Greenius

I’ve got to say I dig Jeff Beck even if he’s not the former Yardbirds member and I dig Neptun Lights.  I learned a lot from him and I’m impressed with their company, their approach and their products.  I’m especially intrigued by Andrew Bobel and the talents and brainpower he brings to the operation.  I admire a man who can both create new ways to do things and successfully turn that creativity into superior, marketable products.

NEPTUN-Catalog-76Neptun lighting is located in Lake Bluff, Illinois in the Chicago area.  They manufacture their product in China through their “NEPTUN China” manufacturing facility in Shenzhen which NEPTUN Light has full ownership and full control of giving them the ability to ensure the quality and consistency of their products. 

I look forward to keeping in touch with Beck and keeping our readers up to date on Neptun’s continuing story.  I found their bulbs on www.1000bulbs.com but they’re available at other on-line retailers too.

One last note – one concern that some folks express about Compact Fluorescent Lights is mercury and how to dispose of the bulbs.  Uninformed nay-sayers declare that the energy saved is offset by the hazardous waste these bulbs are supposed to present.  Those people are wrong.

CFL bulbs do contain mercury and cannot be thrown in your garbage.  The mercury is about the amount that contained in this dot:  As you’ll read in this link to Popular Mechanics, unless you get that dot on your hands and then lick your hands you’re not going to have a problem.

cfl2prtsCFL bulbs are not as simple a device as incandescents.  Take a look at what’s inside a CFL:

That’s not a Neptune bulb on the left, but it is typical of the electronic parts each bulb uses.

All CFL bulbs need to be properly disposed of and it’s not hard to do – especially since you’ll only be doing so every 4-7 years or so.  And a growing number of retailers and city waste disposal sites and collections will take your bulbs.

The Creative Greenius says, if you’re really worried about mercury then your focus should be on shutting down all coal fired power plants – NOTHING on the planet puts more mercury into our air and environment.

We’ll have more on Killer Coal in an upcoming post.

Greenius Readers’ Lighting Reports


Green Greetings All,

The response to last weekend’s “Greening My Lighting” report has been fabulous.  Several of our readers were kind enough to share their own experiences with us and here’s what they had to say: 

Hey Joe,

OK, here are my experiences with CF lighting. As you know I travel to Philadelphia to visit my mom. She is 87 and has the usual issues with being that age. One thing she does which bothered me is that she feels safer with lights on in the house day and night!  This habit drove me nuts because every time I would visit I would be replacing lamps since some were always burned out.  Mom is on a fixed income and was paying a high price for electricity since her 1953 original Levittown house is completely electric. 

Well, on one of my many visits I replaces every light in the house, which by the way cost me approximately $105.00, a high price you might think. Well I have to announce that she noticed a $20.00 dollar decrease in her bill the first month! It has been 2 years now and I have not had to replace a lamp and i estimate that she has saved almost $500.00 since the installation, great for her and the environment.

As for my own home I also did the same but was having a difficulty with the lights in the house that were on dimmers. The problem is solved “Greenlite” makes dimmable CF along with three way ones for your old style floor lamps. I found these on the web at “SmartHome.Com“, they work great. I still have a few incandescent lamps left in the house but I am planing to exchange them by the new year. I will also say that my wife, Tracy, has noticed a difference on the electric bill which by the way she pays. My investment was minimal since you informed me of the “K-Mart” program.

Thank you Mr. Joe and keep up the green work.

Your friend, Burt

Burt really knows lighting, – as well as electrical, plumbing, construction auto mechanics and probably quantum physics as well – he’s been a technical director for huge live shows and events for as long as I’ve known him.  The “K-Mart” program he mentions is actuallySouthern California Edison’s lamp exchange program where they’ll take your incandescent desk lamps and halogen torchaire lamps and exchange them for compact fluorescent lights.


This is such a great site!!

I have trouble with the bulbs when I need to put them on automatic on and off or photocell outside. I tried to go over to a lot of bulbs at the hangar but in most of our areas we have auto on and off and I have to find one that will work with that kind of switch especially for the long fluorescent type bulbs. Then at home on the exterior I like to use a photocell and the only place I found something compatible was at this bulb store in the Valley (I forget the name) and the fixture is expensive and blows out a lot. It is very inconvenient to go to the specialty store all the time. So there is my comment. Let me know what you think. 

Love ya, Jude 

Jude owns an airplane hangar which is used for TV/Film shoots, live special events and all manner of cool gigs for the Lakers, MTV, Nickelodeon and others.  I have had the very same problem she talks about with the new Compact Flourescent Lights I used to replace my garage flood lights.  They were the DuraBrite brand.  I use screw in photocell adapters which have worked great for the last 15 years with my halogen floodlights.  But the CFL bulbs flickered when I put them in and then went dead less than 24 hours later.  It could be that they’re not compatible with my old photocell adapters.  If that’s the case there’s money top be made for someone producing photocell adapters that WILL work with these bulbs.  I’m going to contact the manufacturer and see what they say. I will say that the two bulbs I put in the motion sensor fixture on the back of my garage have worked great.  Like other CFL bulbs though they take about 20 seconds to warm up to full intensity.


The only problem I have with the bulbs that you didn’t discuss (as an artist, I still don’t particularly like the color they give off, either) is that if you’re prone to headaches (luckily I don’t get migraines, but have several friends who do), fluorescent bulbs make them worse and in some cases set them off. That’s a bad thing. 

There’s a guy at work, for example, who works in the dark with just his desk lamp to prevent the fluorescent bulbs from setting off his migraines. It’s a serious consideration for folks like that. 


Kitten works for an environmental engineering firm.  Here’s what I wrote to her:

Hi Kitten,

Thanks for weighing in. You always bring up points no one else does. I know quite a few people don’t dig the CFLs because they don’t think the color is as good as incandescents. But I like the full spectrum CFL bulbs in reading lamps like the ones Deb and I use at home from Full Spectrum Solutions. We have a 55w and a 70w reading lamp. 

Here’s a link:

These produce pretty close to outdoor daylight in the color temperature. I have heard people complain about the old style of long tube fluorescent in terms of headaches and migraines but I haven’t heard anyone bring this up with the CFL bulbs.

Here’s a possible LED based solution for that I just read about on TreeHugger. 

They’re expensive but superior in a lot of ways.

Your friend, Joe

One of my good friends who I first met in high school in New Jersey, Bets is a museum curator now living in London, England and provided this trans-Atlantic report about lighting there.  She’s only been there about a year:

Hey friend,

Well…more complicated here, I think: we have little halogen spots in our rental flat, which probably eat up more energy than a resurrected jesus. The builder was obliged to have 10% ‘energy efficient’ lighting, which means that the lights in our hallway (only!) are of that type–I don’t know if they are CFL or what. I don’t know what sort of bulbs are available here–they’re still using a perplexing variety of methods to fit the bulb in the socket–some screw in (different sizes), some are ‘torpedo’ or ‘bullet’ fixtures, some have two little pins that you line up and turn to lock… If I can figure this stuff out and find bulbs that are compatible with whatever weird fixtures we have, I’d do it. If we owned our own home, I would try to ensure that all were green fixtures.     Recycling is pretty well the norm here (papers, plastics, cans and glass), and there’s a lot of concern about one’s ‘carbon footprint’. For ex., in the travel section of the paper travel articles are accompanied by an estimate of carbon output the journo expended and what the paper did to offset that. And lord knows Britain’s never been real strong on central heating so we’re ahead of the curve there.

Looking forward to reading more on the website. 

Love– Bets

Interestingly England hasn’t standardized their lighting the way we have in the USA.  They have many more types of bulb connectors as Bets reports.  But one thing they are doing in England that we are not is by legally mandating better energy efficiency.  Here’s a great article about what’s going on over the pond.  

“The most energy-guzzling light bulbs in Britain will start disappearing from shop shelves early next year as part of efforts to cut CO2 emissions, Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn said this week.

The voluntary initiative, which is being led by major retailers and energy suppliers, will see energy efficient light bulbs replace their least efficient equivalents on shop shelves over the next four years”

Thanks again to those of you who wrote in to tell me about your experiences.  I’ll keep you updated on this issue and pass along other comments as they come in.

Greening My Lighting


JP1250244ust one month ago today I started this blog with a report on my own personal green efforts.  I wrote about changing all the dimmable spot and “can” lights throughout our home and offices.  The 27 old bulbs I took out can be seen above.  That’s one of the new PAR 20 dimmables in my office to the right.

If changing just one bulb really helps change the world, then I’m doing pretty good

In a moment of lunacy I reported that we’d be saving over $300 per bulb in in electricity costs over the bulb’s life.  As if… If anyone were actually reading this stuff and thinking about it, they would have set me straight, but maybe you were all too busy laughing.

P1250261The savings are more like $36 per bulb (for the PAR 30 size on the left) which still ain’t bad, but still my math was way off.  After changing fifteen PAR 30 and eight PAR 20 interior lights (saving $34 per bulb) and my four exterior flood lights (saving $45 per bulb) my savings should add up to about $992. 

So we’re saving lots of energy and we’re saving significant money, but what’s the quality of the lighting like?  Can I tell the difference?  Are today’s CFLs indistinguishable from the incandescents they replaced?

 In a word, no.  The new lights take some getting used to. But I’m already over it – mostly.  Hey, I’ve got to tell it like it is, and I’ve learned a few things I can pass along to you.

First off on the dimmable Par 30 can lights we replaced in our kitchen, living room, and home office:  We went from 65 watt incandescents to 15 watt CFLs.  But the wattage only tells part of the story because the quality of the lighting comes from the color temperature.

P1250262If you want a warm white/soft white light, the kind most comparable to incandescent bulbs that accentuate warm colors,  (the look preferred in homes and restaurants) then you want a bulb that’s in the 2500k to 3000k temp range.  We went with 2550k temp bulbs in the living room and 2850k in my office/studio.  

So how do I like the light?  I love it.  It looks great in the kitchen, the pantry, the living room, the bathroom, and the offices.  The color temperature feels warmer and more pleasant than the bulbs they replaced.  I do not miss the old bulbs.

P1250257For white/natural white/bright light comparable to halogen bulbs, the kind that will show accurate colors and the best light for bathrooms, showing artwork and retail displays, then you’ll want a bulb in the 3000k to 3500k temp range.

 4000k gives you cool white light often used for hospitals and big office lighting.  

And finally, 5000k gets you daylight-like lighting best for reading and working on fine detail projects.

I especially dig buying these bulbs from manufacturers other than the bad boys of GE, Phillips and Sylvania.  These legacy light makers have been raking in billions by producing one of the most inefficient products ever made.  

light-bulb-glowing-filament-light-blue-uncropped-lores-3-ahdThe average incandescent light bulb loses more than 70% of the energy it uses in heat.  How’s that for helping to warm the globe?  Those bulbs not only waste money and produces more carbon in the air, but all that heat comes with other high prices.  It deteriorates the materials that surround the light bulb and worse than that, during the summer that heat drives up cooling costs. 

Legacy light makers could have given us energy saving bulbs many years ago but they dragged their heels and stayed behind the curve because their priority has always been healthy profits over a healthy planet. And now these same Legacy light makers are pushing their new CFLs -but they’re also pushing their old planet cooking bulbs just as hard.  I say cross them off your list and do not buy CFLs made by GE, Phillips, Westinghouse, Sylvania or the other names you know form the 20th Century.


I recommend buying your bulbs from manufacturers like Neptun, Overdrive, Durabright and MicroBrite all of whom are leading the way with CFL technology that keeps improving, and all of whom have made CFLs and energy saving lighting their priority and specialty.

I ordered my bulbs at 1000bulbs.com.  There are plenty of other retailers on line so you can search for the best prices.  Lowes and Home Depot are both now carrying a wide selection of CFL bulbs.  The selection at OSH (owned by Sears) sucks and the shelves are typically in disarray.  Maybe it’s different where you live.

P1250254One thing you’ll lose by making this switch is the full range of dimmability you get with incandescent bulbs.  These lights seem to dim to about 50% of the full power.  The box says it’s actually 20%, but I don’t know how they’re measuring that.  Either way, I can live with the dimming because I don’t dim my lights more than that anyway.  But the more you dim your lights, the less energy they use, so dimming is important.

And I’m definitely not digging the buzzing sound that comes from the light switch when I do dim the lights.  I don’t know if it’s caused by my new bulbs or my existing fixtures.  The info on the bulbs says they’re compatible with all dimmable lights made from 1995 onward.  That’s right around the time I had all these lighting fixtures and dimmer switches put in.  So maybe it’s my fixtures giving me the buzz.

bee-movie-0The buzzing isn’t on the level of a swarm of bees, (which means that idea I had about a cross promotion with BEE Movie won’t fly) but it will make the bulbs a tougher sell with the average American.  So far I haven’t seen this complaint from other users – but maybe now that I’m putting this out there, I will.

Another big difference is the fact that these bulbs take about 20-45 seconds to warm up to full power.  I’ve read comments from others who’ve made this switch and some of them talk about how cool and mellow it is to have the lights gradually get brighter instead of the instant full intensity.  That’s a nice way to spin it, but I’m not sure that will fly with the average consumer either.  

P1250246This is a tough creative challenge because the whole concept of time today has become so condensed.  Less than a minute was a short period of time 15 years ago, but today 30 seconds is dial-up speed and that won’t cut it for anyone under 40.  Make that under 50.

So I don’t think we’re going to sell people on the concept of “it’s not too long to wait in order to help save the planet” no matter how much sense that makes.

Right now the CFL Manufacturers are using phrases like “FastStart Technology” but the technology will need to cut or eliminate that warm up time and I have no doubt that they will.  They’ve already made huge advances in just the last couple of years. 

In the meantime, I’d focus on the cost savings and the green benefits and target homeowners over 50 as well as kids in grammar and junior high schools.  I’d push the kids to “Make your parents do the right thing to help save YOUR planet and help save them lots of money at the same time.”  We can easily activate those kids into advocates armed with the simple facts and have them evangelize the issue with their parents and grandparents.  Today’s kids can guilt their pushover parents into anything and I say turn them loose.

ledhalogenstyleFor me these bulbs should work for the next five to seven years and save us at least a grand in electric costs – probably a lot more than that because electric rates are just going to keep going up.  When the time comes to replace them I’m betting we’ll do so with LED bulbs.  That will cut my lighting energy use by 70% over these fluorescents.  More about LED bulbs in another post to come.

Check out this  Madison, Wisconsin Gas and Electric web based PDF page on residential lighting and your green choices.


Greening the Media

P1180924As with most things, if you want to green the media you’ve got to get your hands dirty.  You can’t just read something and get upset, you need to reach out and get someone else upset – and by upset I don’t mean “angry.” I mean as in “upsetting the apple cart” by overturning it.

Today it’s just too quick and easy to reach out and respond to the person who wrote the story, the person who edited the story and the outlet that put the story out to the public.  In a content consuming world content is king for a day.  And in the 2.0 world we live in, WE supply the content that keeps stories alive and reframes them.

Newspapers are a great example because they are a dying legacy media who cannot afford to lose more subscribers or readers than they already have.  Even better, a higher percentage of the people we want to reach read the newspaper.  People in positions of power, influence and financing still read newspapers 

Recognize an opportunity to reinforce good coverage and to seize the media platform when the coverage is bad.  And by “good” I mean, fair, honest and accurate.  By bad I mean, biased, off-base, incorrect and misleading.

If you’ve been watching for the past eight years – and longer – you’ve seen the evolution of the news cycle and conventional wisdom into the pack mentality the media operates under today.  The truth is that the media loves the green issue, sees it as having long, popular legs with users and thinks it can sell lots of advertising around it.  And they’re right.  More and more newspaper print ads take a green sales angle 

It’s not because the media’s heart or even intellect is in the right place, it’s because they’ve lined up behind the conventional wisdom and the polling data.

What that means is that the media is scared of being on the wrong side on green issues and they’re scared of pissing off the green community.  And they should be.  That gives us leverage and we need to use that leverage, flex the power that comes with that leverage  and use the media the same way the conservative right and the Bush war supporters used the media before they were found out to be wrong and the polling turned against them.

We in the green community don’t have that handicap because we are not wrong and the polling will only continue to move in our direction.

So when we read a really crappy article about an important green story like the piece Alan Zarembo wrote on the Alternative Energy & Transportation show in the October 21 issue of the L.A. Times, we don’t have to just get steamed because of the bad reporting and mediocre writing – and we don’t have to accept it.  We just need to use the reporter’s email address at the end of each story and take them to task.  Here’s an example:

Dear Mr. Zarembo,

I am writing to tell you how disappointed I was in your article covering the Alternative Energy and Transportation Expo. I was hoping to learn something about the different alternative energy options available and about the progress different manufacturers have made in non-gasoline powered engines. But instead, what you offered was 18 paragraphs focused on the Melnik family, a single paragraph about the actual event, and one additional paragraph that showcased your own uninformed, cliche-ridden bias: “The expo, in a hangar and adjacent parking lot, attracted plenty of bicycle advocates, vegans and people worried about their carbon footprints.”  Instead of offering an iota of honest insight into an event that I wanted to learn about, you wasted half a page with the condescending story of a woman who comes across as a clueless moron. A woman who finds plug-in/electric vehicles “a problem for me.” Any research into public opinion about Americans’ desire for alternative energy vehicles would have taught you how UNrepresentative your subject focus was and how off base your snarky coverage of this event was. 

I’m very sorry you were assigned to this important story to Southern Californians which you trivialized in a juvenile manner. Your focus on the Melnik family was the lazy, thought-free approach to this story and your slacking on this job is painfully obvious.  Thankfully a simple blog search yielded multiple pieces superior to yours in every way. Too bad the newspaper I pay for offered me so little news value by comparison.  But I did learn one valuable thing from your article. In the future I’ll save myself the nonproductive time and aggravation when I see the Alan Zarembo by-line and I’ll just skip the piece knowing in advance what you have to say about the subject.  

Most sincerely, Joe Galliani

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I was direct and harsh, and that’s exactly what Zarembo’s piece deserved.  However, I didn’t get personal or engage in name calling I just told it like it is.  And of course I used my real name, which surprising is rare among the rants reporters receive.

I wasn’t surprised when Zarembo emailed his reply a few hours later:

You’re right–we should do a comprehensive story on this issue. But unfortunately this was not the chance. I was handed this assignment at noon on Saturday, and the best I could do in that time–the debate on this issue in a single family. Unfortunately, this is just the way things work sometimes. The story was not my preference, and if you do read more of my articles, you will see that many are painstakingly researchered over many weeks. Sincerely, Alan

Frankly, I found this to be a weak rationale and what he really did was confirm my opinion that he had done a lazy job.  But having established contact with Zarembo and wanting to be able to communicate with him in the future, here’s how I responded:


 You’re right – you have done some excellent, painstaking work on much bigger stories than this. I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I still don’t buy the angle you chose, but at least now I can chalk it up to a rush job rather than lazy work. Thanks for responding to my harsh email.  Regards, Joe

 And I didn’t stop with the reporter, because that’s not where the real power rests at a newspaper, so I wrote a letter to the editor as well.  I wasn’t surprised when they printed it a few days later.

dency_ravBut I was surprised to see the other letter on the subject and delighted with how powerful it was, coming as it did from Moira Nelson, someone who together with her husband Dency are well known in the green community for their family’s commitment to walking the green walk and having done so for a long, long time now.

And I’ve been equally stoked at the reaction I got from others with similar viewpoints, some of whom are now reading this post.  Can you feel the strength and energy growing exponentially?  I can.  And the more we connect and work together, the more our power and influence will continue to build.  But it requires us to recognize the opportunity and seize the moments that are ours for the taking.  Like with the media.

I wasn’t kidding when I said that I learned a lot more from the blog community and even from the local Santa Monica newspaper about the Alternative Energy & Transportation Expo than I did from the L.A. Times.  This all started because I’m thinking about my next car and trying to decide whether to go plug-in or all electric.  I’ve only got 40,000 miles on my 1997 Honda del Sol car, and I could easily have it another 10 years, but I’d rather go greener.

 Check out the Expo coverage on:

The Hydrogen Cars & Vehicles Blog

Celsias – Cooling the Planet Community

Edmonds Green Car Advisor Blog

This Recording Blog

and Jory Squibb’s Blog

The Santa Monica Daily Press also did a better job than the L.A. Times did.

 As always, I’m interested in reading what YOU think.  Email me at mrjoe@mrjoe.com

Sustainability Means Feeding the Hungry

P1250022When it comes to promoting sustainable lifestyles from a green standpoint, energy use, recycling, reuse of consumables and cutting the wasteful aspects of our lives are the obvious go-to issues.  

But to me, sustainability is even more basic than that.  You can’t live a sustainable life if you don’t have enough to eat.  Hell, you cannot even sustain life if you’re malnourished and hungry all day.

So feeding the hungry is a green issue for me and like all green issues it’s really a moral issue and another character test for all of us about what kind of person we want looking back in our mirrors.

One of the ways I wanted to celebrate my 50th birthday was by making a significant contribution to mark the occasion, rather than being gifted with more “stuff.”  At this point in life the wise folks know that living is better when it’s simpler.  Getting rid of lots of accumulated “stuff” not only frees up more space, it frees the mind as well – but that’s another story.

In July I read a piece in the New York Times about a growing trend at the birthday partiesof upscale New Jersey kids from 4-16 years of age.  They already owned every toy and electronic plaything they ever desired and their parents didn’t want them collecting another 44 gifts they’d never use.  So some moms and dads were having their kids pick a beneficiary – like the local fire house or a charity – to raise money or donated items for.

Even though Miss Manners didn’t dig the idea, I loved it!  I knew as soon as I read the piece what I wanted to do for my birthday dinner.  I would ask my friends to bring a donation for the L.A. Regional Food Bank instead of a gift for me.  I would feed my friends at a birthday meal and then they could help feed people a lot less fortunate than the lot of us.

It worked like a charm and thanks to the generosity of my pals and a few bucks of my own, I raised $1,000 for the Food Bank.  And as an added bonus, my friend Kim, told me she knew the President of the organization, Michael Flood, and she would put me in touch with him.

P1250026And that’s why I found myself in downtown Los Angeles today and not in one of the neighborhoods where they’re building any new destination location Nokia Theaters or luxury high rises. 

This is a neighborhood that is another galaxy away from the upscale fantasy world I get to live and work in.


But my life wasn’t always so cushy and carefree and I still remember standing in line to get free cheese and butter from the government during the Reagan years before my talents had been discovered on a nationwide basis.  So I didn’t feel too out of place taking the Slauson exit off the Harbor Freeway and heading through the hood to 41st Street where the Food Bank warehouse and offices are.

It’s an impressive operation and I was lucky enough to spend a little time with Michael Flood and get a tour of the facility.

P1250016Michael has been President/CEO at the L.A. Regional Food Bank since 2000 and has been working in the food bank field for 17 years now.  He confided that despite the broad support the Food Bank receives, his job and their mission gets harder every year.  The numbers of hungry people who rely on their food just continues to grow and so too do expenses like power and cooling for the freezers and refrigerated storage they have.

But I found Michael anything but dispirited.  His strong positive attitude and experienced perspective projected the air of a man on a mission who knows what a difference the Food Bank’s work makes and who intends to keep pace with the growing ranks of the hungry in Los Angeles.

As you can see, I haven’t missed any meals for a long time now.

Michael told me that the $1,000 we donated would translate into 5,000 meals for hungry people who needed them.  That made me feel proud – even though I know it’s a tiny difference, it IS a difference.  I can’t imagine ever having another birthday party and not using it to raise money for the Food Bank.  I hope some of you who read this are inspired to do likewise.

I found my visit more encouraging than I imagined because of how much good news I got about our community.  So many different businesses and companies donate food and so many different people from all over L.A. volunteer.  People DO care.

I found it especially heartening during my tour to see all the volunteers from Chubb Insurance Group who were packing food for individual families.

The Food Bank relies on volunteers and they could use more as they serve more and more people from Long Beach to Lancaster.  The ranks of the hungry continue to grow…


To learn more about becoming a Foodbank volunteer, contact Ana Martinez, their volunteer coordinator at (323) 234-3030, extension 144 or amartinez@lafoodbank.org

Thanks to Michael Flood for being so generous with his time and for the years of dedicated work he’s done for the Food Bank.  When it comes to walking the walk with their lives, Mr. Flood has covered far more miles than most of us and made a lasting difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people.


’m looking forward to working with the L.A. Regional Food Bank as a volunteer going forward to help them get the word out about the essential and inspiring work they do.

Al Gore – Bigger Fish To Fry Than The Presidency


I have two genuine heroes when it comes to inspiration in the environmental arena – John Muir and David Brower.  Most of you know who John Muir is and what he meant to California and the protection of public lands.  David Brower isn’t nearly as well known and I look forward to writing about the phenomenal impact his life and work made.  These giants of the 20th century spent their lives protecting and preserving their world for the benefit of future generations – like us.

Here in the 21st century no single individual has done more to champion environmental issues – or had a bigger impact on our thinking and direction – than Al Gore.  His consistency on these issues, his prescient analysis and his decades long determination to make a positive difference by educating us are all true measures of his character and integrity – especially when weighed alongside his unspoken motivation and personal vested interest on the subjects.  And by that I mean he doesn’t have any.  If you think Al Gore made global warming his issue because he thought he could make money at it or use it to gain more power and celebrity so he could cash in on them, then you and I live in different worlds and I don’t hold out a whole lot of hope for yours 

For years Gore was scorned and derided by the mainstream press and Republican establishment.  George Bush’s father used to ridicule him with “The Ozone Man” label.  Good one, Poppy.  Must have been ironic, to say the least, when our current President, Bush Jr., announced that we were a nation “addicted to oil”  who needs to turn to energy “technology” to break our addiction and keep us from being dependent on foreign oil  sources.  He said that back in February of 2006 when gas was an outrageous $2 a gallon.  Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

Today there are still apparently dead enders out there who refuse to wear sunscreen, who eat nothing but fast food, and who remain passionate about their right to use as much gasoline, oil and coal as their finances allow them to buy.  They proudly position their stance as “The American Way.”

How George Costanza-esque those folks seem to me.  And by that I mean they operate on the Bizarro Superman principles of “bad is good and up is down.”  For a while there, it seemed like the Bizarros were in charge for the duration.

But Al Gore’s Nobel Prize for his work educating the world about An Inconvenient Truthwas more than well deserved vindication for the man who has been right all along.  It should also prove to be the tipping point many of us have been waiting for.  It’s already been responsible for helping to change public opinion on a wholesale level and discrediting most of the Bizarros.  Now I predict it will be the momentum driver the green movement has been waiting for.

A lot of people think that can only happen if Al swoops down into the race for President and becomes the Savior of the Democrats.  But wiser analysts correctly point out that getting back into American politics would be step back for Gore and do little to advance his goals.  I agree.

Al Gore’s mission is a lot bigger than the petty partisan issues that make up the American Presidential campaign and election.  Talk about a guy who’s been there and done that and had nothing to show for it but the bill.  He knows better now and that’s plain to see.

But I also want to talk about a guy who took the most stinging and bitter loss in modern political history and used it to free himself to do the work that meant the most to him and do it the way his heart tells him to.  

Al Gore has reinvented himself – like so many of us dream of doing – and he is now able to do and say the things he cares about without having to worry about what potential donors or supporters it might offend.  Al Gore campaigns on an issue more significant than those that make up the American race for the Presidency 

I admire Al Gore not just for the work he’s been doing for the last 20 years.  He’s become one of my heros because he took a completely creative approach to making the issue of global warming a part of American consciousness.  

To take a Mac Keynote presentation (Not a PowerPoint as its usually referred to.  Al Gore is too hip to use a Microsoft program when he’s trying to communicate) and basically present it to the nation and the world by making a feature film out it is brilliant and completely unprecedented.  

So too was tying the emotion of Hurricane Katrina and its vivid destruction to the even greater risks that global warming brings.  And Al Gore is my hero because he didn’t use the Katrina story to exploit victims.  (In fact he personally led a rescue effort in New Orleans that he’s never publicly spoken about.)  The ability to creatively seize that moment when it presents itself, make it your own and use it to help people is a unique skill that only a handful of smart, talented people possess. 

Al Gore is one of those handful of people and I’d hate to see him waste that intellect and those talents on a job like being President of the United States in these times.  The great work of our day is never done in the White House, the Presidency has become about raising cash in exchange for favors, and the brand of leadership we need isn’t the kind where they play “Ruffles and Flourishes” each time you walk through the door.

Al Gore has a different song in his head as he walks into the room and you can bet your carbon credits it doesn’t sound like a fanfare.  It’s more like a great gospel song that sounds best when sung by a mass choir.  I’m ready to sing along.  Why don’t you add your voice too?

Where Does Green Hope Come From?

Where does green hope come from

In light of the news that things are in actuality worse than we thought when it comes to the arctic sea ice melting – it’s melting much faster than computer models originally indicated – how do I keep my optimism and positive view that we’re not all doomed as doomed can be and that we can make enough of a difference to change the entire world and help save it?

Well for one thing I believe that one person really can make a difference no matter how big the obstacle.  And if you don’t think a small individual can possibly matter, try getting to sleep some night when there’s a single mosquito in your tent.  

But I’m no Pollyanna, and it’s not like I don’t get mad.  There’s something that pisses me off in the newspaper, or on TV, or on-line pretty much every single day.  Sometimes it’s blatant greenwashing by oil companies like Chevron trying to position themselves as green, alternative energy seekers while raking in record profits from $3 a gallon gasoline.  Other times it’s car companies like Toyota joining the Big Three American car companies in cowardly fighting higher mileage standards – instead of leading the way with technology breakthroughs and alternative energy vehicles in response to our real needs.  I don’t forget that it was these same companies who killed the electric car when California forced them to make some by doing everything possible to make sure it failed.  Plenty of time it’s our government acting on behalf of the needs of business interests over the public interest.

But I don’t let my anger consume me on this issue, I use it to motivate myself to do more, to work harder, and to find new examples of things that are going right and improving.  And I find those reasons to believe every day.

So my approach to the global warming issue is to take a positive view of what’s possible if enough of us who CAN make a difference do make a difference.  And I’m encouraged and hopeful because I believe the smartest, most creative, most talented people are on board and working towards the same green goals.

I choose to believe that we can overcome the ultra-wealthy weasels in the oil and coal industries, the car industry and those historically entrenched special interest industries who worship profits, power and their own economic self-interests above all else on the planet.  I believe because I’ve seen the impossible happen more than once when no hope seemed possible.

Once upon a time the cigarette industry seemed invincible.  I saw that issue do a 180 in my lifetime.  When I was a little kid, cancer was a death sentence for anyone who got it.  Today I’ve got half a dozen friends who are cancer survivors and the odds just keep getting better with new treatments and cures. I’ve seen apartheid end in South Africa, the wall come down in Berlin and America’s children force an entire generation of parents to recycle.  I know what’s possible.

And when it comes to what we’ve done to our planet, our environment, I know that when we try we can save ourselves. I’ve seen city garbage dumps turned into beautiful botanic gardens.  I’ve seen polluted rivers and streams left for dead restored to wildlife sanctuaries now filled with birds and fish. And I’ve seen the thirst good people have to repair and revive wherever damage has been done.

One of the biggest reasons I have hope is because there’s money to be made in keeping the world green and cool.  There is enormous economic opportunity and healthy competition.  Current kings and queens will be dethroned and new royalty will be crowned, new fortunes will be made, new empires will be built.  The threat of destruction upends the balance of power and makes great change possible.

When the choice is change or die, people are more willing to try something new.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?  But the advanced nature of global warming and just how close we are to the brink are both reasons I am optimistic for the future.  The overwhelming facts and the dire scientific consensus bring us to a point of do or fry.  

Finally, I see a better, greener, happier future in the cards for us because all of the most creative people are on the green side and creativity can always trump power and wealth.  It was creative people who tipped the balance during the McCarthy era, during the civil rights era, during the Watergate years and every other time we found ourselves teetering on the abyss.

We’re not a people who do what we’re supposed to do.  We’re a people who do what we HAVE to do.  It takes us forever to get to the things on our national “to-do” list, but once we have no choice but to do them we take care of business.  So that gives me confidence in our future too. 

Finally there’s the obvious reason.  Hope and optimism is really the only choice isn’t it?  We have no other alternative if we don’t want to bury our heads in the sand and kiss our asses goodbye.  Being positive and using our creativity to survive and continue to thrive is the only answer.

How much easier could it get?

Walking The Green Path – October 7, 2007

walking the green path

Growing up as a lower middle class child of the 60s and 70s in Brooklyn and New Jersey economic necessity was the driving force behind my parents’ strict green rules of “sustainability.”  We had a whole different kind of green math that concerned us then. 

 My dad wasn’t worried about his carbon footprint when he was threatening to leave his own footprint on my ass if I didn’t turn the lights out when I left the room, or if I left the TV or the radio on in a room I was no longer occupying.  Using lots of high-powered appliances or equipment was out of the question, because we didn’t own any.  Turning off the air conditioning when it was warm outside wasn’t a problem because we couldn’t afford any air conditioning.  Practicing good green habits like line-drying clothes; using a push mower; washing and reusing plastic containers; buying recycled clothes, furniture, sporting goods and toys; or using public transportation and ride sharing were all the result of trying to save a buck, not save a planet.

 And as it turns out, I learned to be creative about making things last and not wasting resources at an early age.  Despite what my therapist now says, the reasons why weren’t nearly as important as the knowledge and experience I developed as a result.  Once you develop a radar and a sensitivity about waste and what it costs you, it’s not easy to turn that voice inside your head off.

 Back in the day, I couldn’t afford to spend the green that being wasteful cost.  Now that I can afford THAT green, it’s the green of our planet that we can no longer afford to spend – even for someone like me who has no kids and no great love for the younger generations.

 Because being green today isn’t about self-interest or saving the planet for your kids or your children’s children – it’s about your core character, your values and your worth as a human being.  It’s about doing the right thing and being a caring, decent, enlightened member of a civilized society or being a self-serving, clueless abuser and destroyer.  It’s about whether you can look at yourself in the mirror.

 If you want to fool yourself and buy more time to be arrogant and self righteous as you drive your Hummer you can make believe there is a legitimate debate going on about global warming and issues of air quality, water quality and sustainable land practices.  But you’d be wrong.  There is no debate, there is only the question of how much personal responsibility you’re willing to accept, how long you’re willing to wait before you make your move, how much slack you’re willing to give yourself.

 With that mindset I begin Creative Greenius, this new green blog and what better place to start than with my own green path and the legitimate question of whether or not I practice what I preach.  Am I green or am I just greenwashing?  Am I talking the talk or do I really walk the walk?  Is my green just the flavor of the moment for Mr. Joe or do I have any trail cred, as we call it in the great wide open? 

 I thought about that a lot as I was hiking through Yosemite’s High Sierra backcountry trails to celebrate my first half century here on the big blue marble.  This was my big celebratory vacation after months of nonstop work, the one I chose to mark my Mr. Joe 5.0 milestone.  Money was no object, so naturally I went off the grid to spend 10 days with no electricity, no cars, no internet, no phones, no radios, TVs or i-anything.  Of course I carpooled with two other people to get there.  We backpacked 62 miles on the High Sierra Camp loop – but as REAL backpackers will tell you we did it the slacker way not having to carry tents, sleeping bags, food or cooking equipment.  Still, when it comes to walking the walk, nobody else straps those boots on for you and does the switchbacks.

 And as I was putting one foot in front of the other and breathing hard in the 9,000 foot altitude I had a chance to think about just how green I really was.  Turns out I’m much better than average, but not nearly as good as I aspire to be.

 I drive an 11 year old car, a Honda del Sol which I’ve only put 40,000 miles on.  It gets over 30 miles per gallon and has a low emission VTEC engine.  My miles are so low because I telecommute and I have for over 20 years now.  My wife drives a Honda too.  

 Just like when I was growing up, my house doesn’t have any air conditioning, but now it’s because I live near the beach and we use the ocean breezes to stay cool.  If it gets too hot in the summer or during the Santa Anas I bring out a couple of fans.

 One by one as we’ve gotten new appliances we’ve become an Energy Star certified household.  Last month’s purchase of the new refrigerator finally made it a clean sweep.  Edison even gave me $35 for my 15 year old fridge and picked it up for free to recycle it. too

It’s been over a year since we replaced all the lamp light bulbs with CFLs, and now with the introduction of dimmable CFL spotlights for our 20 different dimmable spots throughout the property we will have eliminated all incandescent lights at our place.  It cost me about $250 to replace all the spotlights, but each one is supposed to save me over $300 over the life of the bulb.  $250 out for $6,000 in savings.  Do the green math.

I also enjoyed taking advantage of Southern California Edison’s green lamp replacement program a few weeks ago in which we traded two Halogen torch lamps and a couple of old incandescent desk lamps for four new CFL lamps.

The new Solatubes we recently put in the living room have made using any kind of electric lights unnecessary during the daylight hours and magically brought cheery sunlight into the two formerly dark and gloomy corners of the room.

 Did I mention that my wife ripped out the lawns at our place a few years ago and replaced them all with gorgeous gardens designed for low drip irrigation water use and to be an irresistible habitat for hummingbirds and butterflies?  All pesticide free and using both captured rainwater (on those rare occasions when we get any) and the compost she makes from our green waste. 

All of her different gardens look especially vivid through the new energy efficient replacement windows we had installed which really cut both the noise and the outside air leaking through my home’s original 1949 windows.

I’ve been supporting green causes like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Audubon Society, Heal the Bay, the Tree People, National Land Trust, and dozens of others for decades now.  I’ve spoken out on environmental issues during the Reagan years as a public radio commentator.  In the 1980s I lead the Long Beach Coalition for a nuclear free harbor which helped get the Navy’s nuclear arsenal out of a heavily populated costal community.  When it comes to trashing the ocean environment few have a worse record than the US Navy. 

In the 1990s I co-founded The Parks Company with a mission to “Preserve, Protect and Promote America’s National Parks” and ten years later we are still doing just that.

More recently I helped create and launch a new energy efficient lighting company, LumaBright, that develops high tech, low energy replacement lighting for the advertising and promotional industries.

Today I find myself increasingly consulting on green strategy and communication programs for clients like HP and I have never found my work more satisfying or energizing.  I have strong feelings on these issues as you can tell from this post and I have over two decades of interest, research and experience.  These days I spend every day thinking and working towards the green future I know is as easily achievable as putting a cell phone into the hands of every living American under the age of 30.  It’s all a matter of creative persuasion.

Considering my loves for technology, communications, politics and business, and my record of succeeding where others fear the challenge, you might understand why I heard bells and saw flags waving when a friend of mine recently declared me a Creative Greenuis.  She was being kind and using the hyperbole that top TV executives are prone to exclaiming, but I know a worthy aspirational goal when I hear one.  

And so off I go.  Why don’t you come along?  That way we can use the carpool lane.