It sounds like an Onion headline, but it’s not. It turns out that that world’s largest largest retailer has been throwing their weight around in an effort to save the environment. How? By pledging to sell you (and your ilk) one hundred million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) this year.

CFLs are those tiny little fluorescent bulbs that screw into your regular lamp socket. The tubes themselves aren’t much thicker than a pencil and they are bent, either just out and back like a pair of tuning forks, or curved into a shape meant to resemble a regular light bulb (or a pear, it’s hard to tell.) These little bulbs are wonders of science. For starters, they use seventy-five percent less energy than a regular bulb (for the light they produce.) That amounts to 450 pounds of greenhouse gases that aren’t produced per bulb! And with greenhouse gases, as with styrofoam peanuts, 450 pounds can fill quite a large area. Better still, even though these CFLs cost more to buy, they last so much longer than “your father’s bulbs” that you save $30 dollars over the life of the bulb. “Very few products are such a clear winner,? said Brown University professor Steve Hamburg.

So if all this is true, why do we need Wal-Mart’s help to get this product into everyone’s fixtures? Oh, wait. I know that one: Because they’re ugly. Really, I think that’s pretty much the only reason. Americans will dress their kids from Old Navy, use the plastic lawn chairs as indoor furniture (only when there’s guests), and make the Ford Escort the single most popular car during the entire 80s, but we suddenly get real particular when it comes to our light bulbs.

Meanwhile, in other who-is-the-real-bad-guy events, it seems Greenpeace decided that Apple is creating too much waste. So how to make their point? They went down to the 24-hour Apple Store in Manhattan and shined sixty high-powered battery-powered floodlights on the store. Green-colored lights, of course, because that’s half their logo.

I can’t decide if this is shameless self-promotion on Greenpeace’s part (everyone is jumping on Apple’s coat-tails now that they’re popular again) or if they’ve finally reached the level of brain-drain that General Motors has after decades of being too bureaucratic and boring to attract the good new designers. Seriously though, these environmental guys need to get their act together. This Greenpeace “protest” falls on the same year the Sierra Club put Apple at the top of their list of Forward Green Leaders for “excellence in environmental efforts.”

I’m not surprised, though, by Greenpeace’s confusion. To me, Greenpeace has always been more successful at spreading crabs and hair lice among teenagers than saving the planet. And I have to ask: after shining sixty floodlights on Apple all night in order to protest against the company’s chemical waste, what did the protestors do with all the dead batteries?