Proud Co-Founder of Transition Town High Wycombe
Proud Member of the Low Carbon Chilterns Cooperative
Proud owner & retrofitter of Superhome 59
This website proud host of the High Wycombe Local Food Guide
Switching Off, Tuning Out & Insulating
Welcome to the wonderful world of "OFF". Here is another good word: "Down". Oooh, another great word: "less". What is it with this life? Why are we programmed to expect, and demand, more and more of everything? What ever happened to the concept of 'less is more'? A generation of adults and children in the wealthy, industrialised, nations, have never learnt to go without. Office buildings are built in which the occupants do not know where the light switch is. We grow up expecting everything to be on all the time. It is part of a culture of instant gratification.
Here at Post-Carbon Living we are calling time on "on". It is time for "off". Powerdown, switch off, drop out, tune off, whatever. Find the power switch and turn it off. Find the thermostat and turn it down. Welcome to peace, quiet & Sheep's Wool Insulation. Read on...
Your Next Ten Steps
The Coming New Reality
Instant gratification is a privilege known to an elite of the global population. In many places of the world where their Carbon Footprint is too low to measure, the concept of an 'on' switch is quite alien. They would love to have something to switch 'on'! But this isn't about them. If the rest of us had THEIR problems, well, you wouldn't be reading this web site. The concept of 'Powerdown' is one for the affluent Nations of the Planet.
The word "Powerdown" is borrowed from Richard Heinberg's book of the same name (also shown on this page). Whether it is by Government intervention, or the end of oil, we will all be forced to switch off sometime. However, a lot of this 'off' is easy. It is probably more easy than most people realise. It is not until you do without that you realise how little of the stuff, you leave on, is really adding anything to your life. Just try it.
The people who have often tried this are the people who have actually started doing something else. Post-Carbon Living lists this as one of the first things to do but, oddly, it is often one of the last in reality. What happens, when you make a dramatic change to your pattern of energy consumption, is that you become conscious of what you use. When you become conscious you are aware that you can get rid of the unnecessary usage. It becomes a habit.
Will have to live in a tent with no power at all? No. Well, we hope not. What we try and explain to people is that the earlier we are ready for a low-energy and low-carbon-life the easier it will be to transition to a scenario where we only use, say, 20% of the power we do now. The cost of doing nothing and continuing with "Business as Normal" is that we will ignore the problem until it could be too late to do anything about it. Then you will be living with 0%.
So this is all about reduction. What else will help you reduce your energy usage? Reduction in waste. Learn to insulate. It is estimated that the UK Government could pay several Billion GBP to have every home in the country fitted with Cavity Wall Insulation. This would make a major dent over-night in the UK Carbon Footprint.
Efficiency works. To learn more about efficiency visit our section on "Substitute" for guidance on the things that everyone can do in our own homes.
Read this Book
Richard Heinberg. "Powerdown, Options and actions for a post-carbon world". ISBN 1 902636 63 5. In a follow up to his famous "The Party's Over" Heinberg delivers more this time. Before it was about resource depletion. Now he guides us through the consequences. He warns of war, economic collapse, starvation and environmental catastrophe unless the Western World is diverted from its current course. Powerdown shows the alternatives to this.
What's all this stuff doing switched on? Here is a picture of me in front of the Television. You will notice several important points. First, boy am I cute! Secondly, the TV is not on. My big Teenage sister sometimes struggles with that. Thirdly the clock in the picture is powered by water. Fourthly, the other device in this picture is an "Electrisave". This is also known as a "Centameter" in other countries.