Can the right words make all the difference?

Several months ago I read an article that said if every household in America replaced one ordinary incandescent bulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent (CFL) it would eliminate the need for several new power plants. Hearing the result stated so clearly, I went out and bought a six-pack of CFLs and began changing bulbs throughout the house.

In getting ready for last Sunday's "green support group" meeting I found an exact number on the Home Depot website:

If every U.S. household changed their five most frequently used light fixtures (or the bulbs in them) to ENERGY STAR qualified lighting, it would keep more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air....save a total of $6 billion in energy or approximately the annual output of 21 power plants.

Today an NPR story about Wal-Mart's push to sell more CFLs mentioned Brian Huyser, a man who heard a similar statement about CFLs and launched a website called OneBillionBulbs.com.

The website encourages you to change your bulbs to CFLs, then register with the site an become part of their interactive map showing how much is being done in every state in the union.

What's most interesting to me is how one statement made so much sense to me and at least one other person that it moved us to take action immediately (mine a small individual action, his more public).

It says to me that there's real power in figuring out how to present choices to people in a way that energizes them to do something rather than shrugging it off.

And at the right, courtesy of OneBillionBulbs.com, is a calculator to let you see exactly what you can save by making the switch.


Want the latest news?

If there's a topic you're really interested in, set up a Google Alert to keep you up to date. You simply pick a word or words (I used "interactive media"), what you want monitored ("News", "Blogs", etc.) and how often (once a day, once a week, or as-it-happens). Then you wait and emails pop up in your Inbox as frequently as you specified.

You can also use this high-tech clipping service (anyone remember them?) to find out when your name shows up on the web. If you're smart, you'll put quotes around your name (i.e., "Al Wasco"). I forgot to do that, and am constantly getting the latest from Wasco, California and Wasco County, Oregon. But since one of the things I like best about the web is the semi-random connections you frequently discover when searching for something, I'm OK with this.