A growing number of people are worried about energy issues. Their concern may be about energy conservation and global warming, about energy independence from other countries, or often, about both issues. As a result, many people ask themselves, “What can I do to make a difference?” For this reason, Pajamas Media has created its own broad energy initiative, Energy Trek, which, in turn, has taken the reins of another parallel, more tightly focused initiative, One Billion Bulbs – to help people who want to make a difference.
One Billion Bulbs is focused on getting people to replace energy-hungry incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs, and has already been embraced by many. Blogosphere participants, such as Instapundit Readers and Some Daily Kossacks, have collectively registered over 22,000 bulb changes. Since its beginning in November 2006, over 120,000 bulb changes have been recorded.
While this may be the first you’ve heard of Energy Trek, we’ve been busy getting the program going, working with schools and community groups that want to make a difference, as part of our Community Alliance to Save Energy (“CASE”) partnership. By the way, you’ll soon notice an “Energy Trek” button at the top right of the Pajamas Media home page that will take you directly to the Energy Trek site.
On November 3, 2007, at one of these CASE events -the kick-off of a CFL Bulb Drive in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles- something exciting happened: a pair of elected officials, California State Assemblymember Lloyd Levine and Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, issued a set of challenges to push both their peers and citizens at large to save energy in their homes, and they will be using Energy Trek and One Billion Bulbs to monitor the progress.
Assemblymember Lloyd Levine is the chairman of the California State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce and the author of many pieces of energy legislation, including a bill to phase out selected incandescent light bulbs in California by 2012. “I’m going to take up the Billion Bulbs challenge and I’m going to email it out to my list of 20,000 people asking them to do the same. I’m also going to contact all of my colleagues in the legislature and challenge them,” he announced.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes Pacific Palisades and who chairs the Los Angeles Public Works Committee, stated that the Pacific Palisades community “is behind energy efficiency. We are in a climate zone crisis in this country. For families to change light bulbs in their house is a little thing, but it will save a tremendous amount of energy.” He also challenged all members of the Los Angeles City Council to change out incandescent light bulbs in favor of CFLs, and he urged them to push community groups in their districts to put on similar CFL drives.
As mentioned, this event was a kick-off for a CFL drive – in this case, the first ambitious undertaking of a non-profit community group, the Pacific Palisades Green Initiative. As part of the drive, volunteers are going to visit all of the over 10,000 homes in Pacific Palisades to encourage residents to not just use CFLs, but also to turn in their old incandescent bulbs. At the end of the drive, a local artist will recycle them as a sculpture. The Pacific Palisades Green Initiative’s founder, Karen Martinez-Cohen, is a true example of a regular person who decided it was time to make a difference – prior to this ambitious drive, the largest events she had ever planned were birthday parties for her two children. We at Energy Trek helped her in this effort both by building the 6’x6’x6′ plexiglass box that will store the old bulbs and by educating the volunteers about CFLs, and we look forward to seeing the results!