Light Bulb Berg — The Power to Illuminate

Mile High Youth Corps’ AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation Corpsmembers have been working throughout their terms on individualized Capstone Projects to highlight a specific interest they have that is somehow connected to their terms of service. Check out the plan and story behind one such incredible project.

Light/bulb/berg – The power to illuminate! A Capstone Project by Jeri Ho, Derek Berardi, Nilanjana Saha and Sophie Calandros-Savoie.

“Crash… tinkle, tinkle. Crash… tinkle, tinkle…….” This is the raining sound of bucketloads of incandescent light bulbs smashing into a dumpster. This sound used to echo throughout parking lots around metro Denver, as the Mile High Youth Corps Energy Conservation Crew discarded hundreds of these still-functional incandescent bulbs taken from homes, replacing them with 75% more efficient compact fluorescents each week.

Accompanying each cycle of smashing sounds were guttural groans emitted from a few corpsmembers protesting these still-functional bulbs going to waste. From our conservationist roots, we could not justify throwing away still-functional objects… Furthermore, clients inquiring into the fate of these bulbs brought forth the realization that our practice and our commitment to sustainability at Mile High were out of alignment.

With no available program for re-using or recycling incandescent light bulbs, we cringing corpsmembers innovated our own recycling project:

With nowhere to put hundreds of bulbs, and wanting to somehow share the magnitude of our energy crew’s collective achievement that was saving Denverites money, while diminishing the city’s carbon footprint, we decided to amass these hundreds of lightbulbs into one towering superstructure of awe and shock! – A light bulb berg, each lightbulb unique – detailing the stories from whence they came and how we acquired them: grease-stickied from being atop a stove, or black-speckled from rubber-padded gloves melting onto still hot glass as we extracted it.

This iceberg will hopefully tell the story of conscience, conservation, community, individuals, and the power of collective action. Instead of the power to illuminate our homes, these light bulbs will wield the power to inspire dialogue… “What can I do?”

-Jeri Ho, AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation


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