How many celebrities does it take to make you change a light bulb?


For the most part whenever a public service announcement comes on my eyes glaze over as I passively agree with its sentiment. (Yes, yes, click it or ticket. Good, good, give blood, give life.) Still it’s the rare PSA that makes me get off my ass and actually do something. This weekend, thanks to Natalie Portman, Kyra Sedgwick and Chloe Sevigny, the figurative (and literal) light bulb finally went on over my head.

National Geographic had the bright idea of having Natalie, Kyra and Chloe tell us all about the benefits of compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs, for short). These energy-efficient lights use about 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than your standard incandescent bulbs. But don’t let me bore you with the numbers, instead check it out for yourself (for better quality video, click here):

I think the most stunning and convincing fact from that entire clip was this quote: “If everyone in America replaced just one light bulb in their house with this little guy it would be like taking a million cars off the road over the course of a year.” Wow. That alone made me finally go out and buy a bunch of CFLs for my home. I had planned on replacing them as my old incandescents burned out, but after hearing that I thought, “Why wait when acting is as simple as changing a light bulb?”

The clip itself is fantastic, too. Coupling the gorgeous National Geographic footage (Baby seals! Polar bears!) with three gorgeous actresses was a stroke of PSA genius. Setting the tone for the whole thing is Aimee Mann‘s infinitely hummable “The Great Beyond.”

Now, I know some people love to complain about celebrity do-goodery. There are those who are violently opposed to stars sticking their noses in affairs of state and the world. (If you think I’m kidding about the violent part, just ask the Dixie Chicks.) Personally, I have no problem with famous folks voicing their opinions as long as they are informed opinions. In fact, I would much rather my favorite actors and actresses dabble in little activism than, well, all the other stuff they could potentially dabble in.

As for the CFLs themselves, they’re pretty darn nifty, too. The new ones give off a pleasant warm light that is as bright and quick-starting as traditional bulbs (older models had lag time, but newer ones are at full power almost instantly). Yes, they cost a little more up front, but when you consider how long they last (5 to 10 years) and the amount they save on your energy bill ($30 or more over the life of each bulb) you actually come out ahead in the end. Plus, the bulb’s interesting swirl makes it kind of look like a cone of soft-serve ice cream. And who doesn’t love ice cream? And, you know, the planet.

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