Energy use and stuff, what’s the correlation? Quite a lot as we put in our book. Our editor didn’t like the use of the word “stuff”. He thought it was not descriptive enough. The problem is we all know what we mean by stuff. If you are reading this in the west then you probably only need to look around your room. The problem is all this “stuff” takes a lot of energy to make. There are two problems here. First the world is using more energy. Renewable energy has increased vastly in scope and scale. But global energy demand is going up faster. This is leading to climate change. A lot of this energy demand is due to making stuff. The second problem is resource depletion. All this stuff takes a lot of other resources such as metals and oil/gas to make. The classic that is in the news at the moment all the time is plastic, especially single use plastics. Whilst plastic is in almost everything (including until recently teabags) we are using metals and other materials up at a rate of knots as well.
As we enter lent maybe this is a good time to think about reducing our consumption of energy use and stuff. What practical ways could we do this? One way would be to build in exceptional reliability so that products lasted decades. A classic example is the Queen Mothers fridge which is supposed to be still working after at least 50 years. The second is to design in recycling or repair. This means something can be reused (or bits of it can) more easily. The last thing to do is either buy less or buy second hand stuff. One thing we have done as a church homegroup is to have bring and swap evenings. These latter ideas are things we can all do as well as seek out products that are made with recycling and reuse in mind.