Today, at 16.13 GMT (sunset in the UK) One Week officially starts. As we begin, I think it's just worth going over the idea behind One Week one more time. It is based on a rather simple question that's been in the back of my mind for a long time - what might the impact be if a large number of people went above and beyond to carry out a particular act of usefulness all at the same time?
The more I thought about it, I realised that it could be applied to many different positive actions, of which energy was the most obvious starting point. It dawned on me that everyone is trying to save energy to a certain degree at the moment and the overwhelming direction from the powers that be seems to be entirely focused on increasing energy supply. Where does this stop? Is this an endless cycle of increased demand and an increased supply to meet it?
To me, there is a concern that we already take for granted the existing energy supply we have and are taking liberties with it. That can only drive an inexorable rise in supply beyond which our natural inclination is to ask for even more. Where does that end? In summary, we're a bit greedy as a species on the whole really.
My perspective is rather than ask for more, let's just manage the stuff we have already a bit more efficiently. Maybe even drive down the demand a bit if anything. There are lots of people who think the same and as such there are already lots of long term energy saving initiatives out there. But with One Week, I realised no one had tried to reduce a big chunk of energy usage in one fell swoop. This was a chance to create a sharp, immediate drop in energy use that might take pressure off prices and short term supply with events such as the Ukraine war in the background.
I shifted my thoughts to more extreme measures of high impact energy saving that might be too inconvenient or impractical to sustain indefinitely. If, for a finite period of time, everyone went above and beyond, the amount of energy that could be saved during that period could be very significant indeed.
The beauty of it is its simplicity. There are lots of things we can all do to save energy and it can only benefit us as in doing so, we save money as well! To anyone who says I'm turning all my lights off already, unless you're living completely off grid, there's always that bit further you can go. And it's only for one week.
To that end, in order to lead by example, I won't be having any hot drinks this week, I'll be having cold showers and the TV will remain unplugged throughout.
Let's face it, there's a lot of untapped saving potential out there and in utilizing that en masse, not only will it save energy and money, I am also hoping it might forge a bit of unity - to give us a degree of collective ownership over a problem for which solutions are often sought elsewhere.
In planning this project, I have come to realise that a lot of what we take for granted (and I include myself in this), is surplus to requirement. There has been a creep over time in what we qualify as something we need. A lot of our modern lifestyle is filled with luxury that actually ultimately adds only superficial benefit and sometimes not even that. In the context of finite resources and social division, this becomes ever more relevant. In other words, we have begun to take our daily luxuries for granted and we have now begun to experience the repercussions. The good thing is, whether it is a crisis of our own making or not, we have the inherent knowledge and the means to solve things. Humans have proven before that when those two factors are coordinated, we can achieve some pretty impressive things. One Week is merely a tool for that sort of improvement. Let's use it!
So, as of sunset this evening, give it a go and please let me know how you're getting on. I need as much evidence as possible that people are taking part. Submit your experience and meter reading changes to this website, post on instagram and twitter and tell everyone you meet. I'll be doing a vlog and parts of this will be popping up on instagram as the week goes on so keep track of the week's progress.