In recent months, a Tik Tok craze has arisen in which women have been filming themselves asking how often the men in their lives think about the Roman Empire. It would seem us men think about the Roman Empire a lot. I am no exception. I have recently been thinking about examples of co-ordination and synchronisation, of which Roman soldiers are a brilliant example.
For a long period of time armies, often far greater in number to their Roman foes would fall foul of their opponents’ superior organisation. Centurions formed close well drilled groups and were able to synchronise their actions to create an effect far greater that the sum of their parts.
More recently, another example of such collective impact has been reported from the most unlikely of sources – Taylor Swift’s latest arena tour. In what has been dubbed the ‘Swift Quake’, fans at the pop star’s eras tour managed to jump up and down with such synchrony that they caused seismic activity equivalent to a decent sized earthquake.
In both examples, groups of people with similar vested interests align their efforts over short periods to create outcomes greater than that which could have been achieved by working separately over more time. This encapsulates the idea behind One Week. As I’ve said before, teamwork on such a focused scale could be used to address all manner of issues but the upcoming event, running from 19th November to 26th November, will focus once more on going the extra mile to save as much energy as possible for seven days.
Energy is, as ever, hugely topical. The regulator’s decision to pass the opening of a new oil field comes just a month before COP 28. The oil field is said to have the potential capacity to produce around 70,000 barrels of oil a day and has the potential to produce 300 million barrels of oil in total by 2033. And yet, if all businesses and households in the UK took part in One Week and saved just 11% of their normal weekly energy usage (as we easily managed in our first One Week), it would save 1.4 million barrels of oil in just one week.
Effectively, it’s an entire oil field opened to power our computer monitors overnight when no one is using them, to light up the surplus light bulbs that we have on for no reason other than habit, to needlessly illuminate office buildings overnight, to draw power from plugged in TVs and appliances while on standby. Put bluntly, it’s a quick fix to facilitate laziness and wasteful luxury.
The contrast between our need to preserve resources, protect the natural world and save money with measures such as this is quite stark. But unless we as a society demonstrate that we can make changes in order to steer our own destiny, decisions will always be made for us that in the short term are felt to be necessary and maybe even popular in some circles but that ultimately will only deepen the problems we face.
Through One Week, we need to provide an option for those at the top to call for immediate and high impact change through one of the few infinite resources we have - a bit of community spirit and some good old fashioned British hard work - not just for energy saving but for any potential problems we face. That’s why, over the next month, we need to make as many people as possible aware of One Week so we can maximise the number taking part. We can demonstrate what can be done with a bit of community spirit and coordination.
If you want to join in, make sure you measure your normal meter readings now as well as over One Week so you can compare the two. Keep an eye on the website and social media, post what you get up to and tell everyone you can to get involved
It begins at sunset on 19th November and runs until the following Sunday. Good luck!