California is the Golden State.
Back in the 1980s, Scoop Nisker
used to end the KFOG newscast
"If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own!" It
until I had been a Green Activist for quite some time that I heard he
the idea from Jello Biafra. I listened to Angie Cueiro interview Scoop
on 4/11/03, where he said he had channeled the idea from a news
and that it would be on his tombstone. It's a great idea, wherever it
Light Pollution could be a Solution.
In a message dated 12/15/99 10:55:21 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org
>Santa Monica's City Council
tonight adopted a comprehensive
>pioneering series of Green
Building Guidelines that will be
>city ordinances. This makes
Santa Monica the first
construction standards in excess of
>1999 Title 24 regulations.
>Kevin McKeown, one of two Greens
on the Santa Monica City
>successfully incorporated an
amendment calling for a "dark
>improving energy efficiency
and reducing light pollution.
>will be based on the work of
Green Julie Partansky, who
>similar ordinance a year ago
as mayor of Davis, CA.
I found out that Julie Partansky
had passed her ordinance from
Times on Thanksgiving Day, and because there wasn't a lot going on for
at the time, I started thinking about it. One of the first things that
realized was that all the issues of scale that make dealing with
like our garbage truly horrifying make "light pollution" really
I have met many people that feel
there are cultural ways to
truly deeply rooted problems of our society. For example, vegetarians
told me "violence against animals begins in your kitchen." Gun control
have told me we could solve half the problem by healing the way we use
in our language. I set out to figure out what the cultural
of light pollution were. Enlightenment came quickly to mind.
At the time it was hard to open my
email box without spotting
I finally figured out the stuff was "point source pollution," and the
was not to single out the guilty, but to look at the ways we all
in the problem. Since I was working at AOL at the time, I took a Freak
Munchie Bar (with embedded rice objects) to work with me and showed
people the side splitting warning on
back. I enjoyed presenting it to people, usually prefacing the
by saying "this is a dangerous weapon in the battle against stupidity
government." Lots of people got a good laugh out of the experience.
leaving the corporate world I have had my nose
how impossible it is to solve problems that people don't care about.
I decided to start carrying a "light saber," really a tiny flashlight
a red* LED) on my key ring. One weekend, late in the last millennium,
walking in the redwood forest I found a sign with "arm" in it. I
the "sound nibble" for my hiking buddy as a way of arming the Redwood
The giggle/Watt-hour ration for that small expenditure of energy was
better than what any incumbent government can get out of a street light.
* A year later it was a blue LED.
A couple of years after that I changed to a green LED. After a year of that
I changed to a yellow
LED. As of (2/17/2005) it was an orange
LED on my keyring. As of 8/7/2006 I still have an orange LED on the keyring with my local
keys on it, but now I have a red LED
on the keyring with the car key on it. I only use that one the one day
a week or so I need the vehicle.
As of June 1st 2009 I've not had
an LED on my key ring for more than a year. Some biologist I gave a
"hit of enlightenment" to explained to me that my battery was going to
be a pill of toxic waste mother earth is likely to swallow when I'm
done with it. Even if I dispose of it properly the light is still going
to be eWaste when it dies. After that I stopped buying more batteries
for the thing. When it finally died I put a fob that looks like a
bicycle and works like a church key (good for opening beers) in its
On 3/14/2002 TheReluctantActivist wrote about this
>It's definitely fun, but what
pollution have to do with
reform? I realize I'm probably going
>my head after
you explain it and say "D'oh!" but I have to ask.
Consider "killing the lights". It
takes about the
same amount of effort
as voting for someone, but the effect is dramatically more immediate
predictable. It's also democratic, in the sense that everybody expects
the same thing to happen when they throw the switch. The bonus is that
getting someone to do it reduces light pollution.
Consider the idea "treading
lightly". What is that
if not a political
philosophy? Have you ever tried to convince somebody who delights in
that consuming less is better? What is that if not political action? I
always found that "do as I do" is better politics than "do as I say".
answer to "do as I say" was to point out that "denial is a river in
Does that sound like a mainstream idea? Ooops, I was trying to talk
about light instead of water.
Consider the idea "the pun is
mightier than the
gun!" How does that
work if there is no overlap between "political power" and "electric
Voting for less light pollution is a great way to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions. The electric power lobby is so powerful in Washington,
and most of the other electoral centers I know of that the only other
is grass roots politics, which is an expression that only works if you
conceive of people at the grass roots. What is "grass roots" if not a
that has had the serial numbers filed off? Trying to take the puns out
our language is not worth it.
The headline on today's San
reads "Fuel efficiency
bill runs out of gas". People wouldn't write things like that if they
think "everybody" would "get it." I think the problems with our
on the gas issue are the same as the ones on the electricity issue,
is one reason I am a Green Party Activist instead of a Washington
For contrast, the San Jose Mercury News headline was "SURVIVAL OF THE
with a picture of a guy pedaling for his life. I like the fact that
riding a bike is better for your health than going by car.
On the left, my power
company. To the right of that a bottle of olive oil I consumed years