03 June 2007

Switching on the light bulb.

When will the light bulb go on?

Gosford Council has been judged the nation’s poorest recycler of effluent. This follows 5 consecutive years of it being recognised as the worst council in NSW, as measured by public complaints.

While local papers are full of pictures of Councilors as champions of the people, and council spin about its achievements, it is assumed that, unlike the rest of nature, Central Coast residents do not need to fully recycle. Such hubris comes at a price.

We are exhorted to change our light bulbs while the World Bank spends millions promoting oil exploration and the carbon market is booming.

But perhaps an example from the past can show how to integrate energy savings while alleviating social need.

From the Gosford Times, 19th November, 1897.
“An experiment of providing boiling water heated by the ordinary street lamps is to be tried in London. A halfpenny dropped in the slot will secure a gallon. Side by side with the same will be placed automatic machines for the delivery of halfpenny and penny packets of tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar and meat extract, enabling people any hour of the night to obtain a stimulating beverage, a chained cup for the purpose being provided.”

Why this measure was not adopted in Gosford might be surmised by a piece in the Times three weeks later.

10th December, 1897.
“No cabs, no lights; what a funny little place Gosford is,” exclaimed a lady visitor who trudged through the mud and darkness from the railway station the other night. This is surely a significant reflection on the town lamp. Which alderman’s turn is it to find the oil?

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