Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Randers wants us to work less.

Yes please. Can I start tomorrow?

The problem, even if my work week was reduced from it's current 45-60 hours, I'd probably just go home and grow more food, or spend more time insulating my old farmhouse.

But this is definitely an idea whose time will come one day.

How can we have any hope of a more equitable distribution of production if access to remunerative employment is so haphazard and arbitrary and uneven? Especially when capitalist theory ensures that for most folks employment is the prerequisite for even minimal consumption?

Of course, this is another notion that will have to wait for the supernatural glow that seems to surround the word "capitalism" in the US and Britain to fade a little. Not much. Just enough to allow a more reasoned analysis of the real costs and benefits of free markets, especially the cost of climate change.

BTW, for any true sustainability geeks reading, a reminder that Randers is of course one of the four authors of the original 1972 Limits to Growth study.

Another is of course our own Bill Behrens, who is a part-owner of ReVision Energy, the top regional renewable energy consultants and installers in this part of the world, and a major partner for Unity College sustainability efforts.

Bill is a modest guy, and unlike the rest of his earlier colleagues, doesn't even get a Wikipedia page of his own. One small, possibly annoying service I like to perform to humanity and the academy is to remind folks of Bill's earlier life, and at the same time point out that at least one sustainability academic learned to reduce the amount of time he spent studying sustainable practices in the ivory tower, and increase the amount of time he spent out there in the real world reducing unsustainable ones.

Bill's second career has made a real physical difference to the world's energy consumption and climate emissions, one solar panel at a time.

He's not going to get a Nobel for that, but in my book, he's a hero.

Along with everyone and everyone who's ever insulated a house, put up a wind turbine, switched out a light bulb, planted a garden, raised a calf or a lamb or a chick, done an energy audit, or just simply walked to work or school. We need doers as well as thinkers in this sustainability project, and even some of our best thinkers could use a little more practice in doing, just to help tidy up their thinking and make it more realistic.

Update: An article on the four-day work week, including the experiments under Governor Huntsman in Utah.

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