How Do We Not Trash the Place?
Innovation has sometimes come at the expense of sustainability. We need to find creative solutions to our past mistakes, and doubly creative ways of avoiding future problems.
Rapid innovation has sometimes come at the expense of long-term sustainability, so we now must find creative solutions to our past mistakes, and doubly creative ways of avoiding future problems.When great ideas strike the next generation, the lightbulb that illuminates their heads will mostly likely be a compact fluorescent.The incandescent light bulb has been a symbol of modernity ever since Thomas Edison filed for a patent in 1879. Its iconic shape is synonymous with industry and progress, but ironically, rampant and unchecked industrial progress is what has necessitated the carbon-saving redesign. With compact fluorescents emerging as the leading sustainable lighting technology, the question becomes: Why do they look so funny? That twisty tube is filled with a gas that emits UV radiation when you flip the switch. A phosphorous compound that coats the inside of the tube then converts the radiation into visible light. The spiral simply allows for more tube in a smaller space.The soon-to-be-iconic spiral of a CFL is necessitated by the design of its glowing tubes.CFLs now produce pleasant and more efficient lighting than traditional bulbs. As industries and retailers continue to push for their adoption, CFLs will become commonplace and familiar, until eventually incandescent bulbs start to look antiquated. If you can't abide the luminous squiggle and insist on miring your aesthetic preference in the past, you can now buy a capsule CFL bulb: The same spiral technology, but encased in a modesty bubble that looks as elegant as the old, unrecyclable, energy-guzzling classic.-RACHEL ABRAMS