I love a good horse race and I’ll admit that the challenge thrown down by Wal-Mart to get consumers to switch lightbulbs is going to be a beauty. Wal-Mart has committed to a leading role in reducing energy consumption by vowing to sell 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs in the upcoming year. Wow! A retailing giant deciding to embrace the concept of energy conservation by dedicating shelf space, prime retail real estate, and PR to the notion that consumers and retailers together can make a difference. By switching to compact fluorescents, homeowners will use 75 percent less electricity, reduce greenhouse gases from manufacturing plants, and save $30 over the life of each bulb, according to a New York Times report. Why wouldn’t we follow the lead? Apparently consumers don’t like venturing into the unknown, the goofy shape of the bulb, or the harsh light the bulbs may throw. Hmmm… I wonder if Edison heard some of these complaints when he first presented the incandescent lightbulb? I say go Wal-Mart—even if Home Depot and Lowes aren’t ready to follow. My one piece of advice? Yes, set up in-store disposal bins for the bulbs where everyone can see so that we don’t put more mercury in our landfills. Then let’s all cheer for a country-wide effort to raise environmental consciousness and save energy by joining the EPA’s “Change a Light. Change the World” campaign—one bulb at a time.

Credit: New York Times