We rarely turn off our mobiles and fill every waking moment with activity or information, with work and pursuit of our objectives. Modern life seems to be running ever faster but our bodies and minds need regular rest to face productive work and to stay healthy. Some people are asking "Why am I so busy and stressed?"
Sunday is a different day set apart from the week for a slower approach, more contemplative, relaxing and restorative. Traditionally, Sunday is the day for attending church. Today, many people spend Sunday shopping, or carrying on working as if Sunday were like any other weekday. For those who are obliged to work on Sunday, the same can apply to their 'day of rest'.
The Slow Movement
The Slow Movement is based on reconnecting people to their food, environment and locality. Ideas such as 'slow food' and 'slow travel' counteract the desire to pack action into every minute and instead encourage savouring the moment and creativity.
Constant busy activity creates carbon emissions. We are all aware of the threat of climate change. We are also becoming increasingly aware of related issues:
Sunday is already a slightly slower day than the rest of the week, a welcome breathing space to examine the bigger picture and our duties to people, locality, wildlife, the developing world and the disabled and elderly. Sunday can also give us a time and space to consider how to make small adjustments in our lifestyle. A focus on saving carbon also saves us money, as well as increases our knowledge.
Managers of Earth
We are also stewards of the Earth, of its biosphere, its wildlife and its purity. Naturally Earth would run in its own way, without mankind. Our distinctive role is to manage, tame - and preserve it. A 'steward' is a wise manager. Being in balance with regulated Nature is being a responsible manager of the Earth. However, our Earth has limited resources.
This World Wildlife Fund carbon calculator tells us how many planets we would need if everyone else on Earth lived as we do, in the West. Consuming energy resources in such a way that we leave nothing for future generations is, to some extent, our choice. The solution is more energy efficiency which is about doing the same, with less energy.
35 years of carbon reduction
If energy efficient lifestyles became mainstream, they could really help us meet our challenging target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. 35 years is the short window left before all buildings must zero carbon and the grid delivers carbon free electricity. In 2015, only 20% of the electricity we consume is renewable. Until 100% is renewable, driving heat pumps, and our heating is also renewable, the amount of carbon we each generate matters, because we are currently relying heavily on fossil fuels. Nearly all climate scientists agree that there is only a limited amount of carbon we can emit, before dangerous and irreversible climate change is likely to take hold. So every kg of carbon saved over the coming decades counts. Keeping the lights on will also rely on demand reduction and energy efficiency, all of us using the minimum energy to achieve the same productivity, a concept known as "energy efficiency".
The scale of the environmental challenge
The environmental imbalance caused by burning fossil fuels is far too big for individuals to correct. Only Governments can decarbonise the electricity grid and raise investment to build carbon capture and new nuclear plants which deliver electricity without carbon. But we are, individually, directly responsible for our own added carbon emissions, We can take action as individuals, and as communities, to save and become energy efficient, even generating our own low carbon heat or power. Without our individual actions, the carbon reduction targets we need will remain out of reach.
Why we all need to get involved
Governments urgently need us all to contribute due to the scale of this huge challenge. Research shows that household behaviour and knowledge determine whether we make real carbon savings from reductions from smart meters and installing renewable technologies. By understanding how to use smart meters, by running technologies properly really makes a difference. In a democracy, Governments cannot tell us to reduce carbon intensive travel.
By devoting free time on Sundays to properly examining this, to becoming energy literate, by creating a personal carbon reduction plan and by sharing this information with others, we are acting as good stewards. The many benefits can start flowing, and not just to the natural world but into our pockets.
We can save hundreds or thousands of pounds a year though gaining valuable understanding about energy. Another benefit is a sense of doing something for future generations, to correct the impact our affluent Western lifestyles. Many feel this as a moral duty but they do not know where to start.
The purpose of this website is to describe the journey to a lower carbon footprint, step by step. Taking action need not take place on Sunday, but as in all good projects, initial planning and monitoring can. Restful Sunday is a good time for doing this.
First steps towards low carbon transition
The first step is estimating our own carbon footprint. This will help us understand energy better and identify whether we are high, medium or low energy users. If you have to fly long haul often, for work purposes, we would still encourage you to get involved and treat these flights as the responsibility of your employer.