Doing More with Less: Sustainable Living in a Modern World – A Guide to Reducing Demand and Increasing Efficiency

Aug 22, 2023

We went to the movies before the summer to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. The end of a decent trilogy of movies, wrapped up with money made and everyone off to do other things.

On the way out of the cinema i noticed the poster for Fast and Furious X. Which I assume is a slightly less obvious way of writing ‘ten’.

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I suppose if it is successful you keep making ‘em right? Maybe not.

I mean we could go deep into sequels, quality etc so best not - safe to say though that the best ever sequel was T2: Judgement Day. This is simply an incontrovertible fact of our life. And yes, they should not have made any more Terminator films.

What about the need for us to do more with less to meet sustainability goals? Is this not a massive problem for us since our very existence in this modern world seems to be tied to consumption.

Perhaps not, I don’t think we have to go without. Because if we do i am sure people will refuse.

I think we have to do more with less. Which if we actually examined how we use resource, items, and how we purchase it is surely very possible.

In fact how about how we waste our time, Chat GPT is shining an uncomfortable light on this aspect. Since a lot of the things we sit on our arse all day at work doing actually take ten minutes with the AI - what are we actually doing?

Each of us could easily be honest with ourselves and track what we do each day against the value it adds to our business or life, we will be surprised by the outcome. The point being we have so much waste in a lot of our systems that our societal direction could be changed simply by each of us examining this and talking about it. rather than sitting and doing the stuff all day which is of zero importance….

It takes a large group of us each making small changes which compound to have the greatest results…..

To reach net zero by 2050 we hear people tell us that we need to work on everything everywhere all at once. Do me a favour when someone says this to you and walk away.

No one in the history of time has been able to comprehend and respond to this type of narrative positively, It is a waste of a phrase and so alarmist it has the opposite effect of what i am sure it is designed to.

I run a lot, recent weeks have been upwards of 100km per week for week after week. And it is tough on the mind and tough on the body. Perhaps more is less with this type of activity? Actually no - I am replanning my time to assign more to one activity and less to another, perhaps the activity I am losing is doom scrolling on my phone.

We should seek to prioritise what we do against our goals. And our resource challenge, net zero challenge, and general move to a more sustainable existence needs us to think in this way.

This isn’t a story which needs us to never travel by aeroplane, to never drive a gasoline car, to never burn another hydrocarbon. It is a story that needs us to prioritise what we need to to with a view to our long term goal and vision.

We don’t need all those business flights - some meetings we can do remotely.

The shop is within a few km, walk instead of driving.

Need to fuel your buildings - make sure your buildings are operating efficiently so you don’t waste the hydrocarbon.

Even writing that we can burn hydrocarbons - in the full view of the total net zero narrative - has me in a state of fear. Is this not heresy?

I don’t think so, it is part of the transition and we know it is running out. It is criminal to think that our developed world can ban hydrocarbons while 2billion live in fuel poverty!

So, less is more. But less of the stuff we don’t need and more of the stuff we do need - as long as our decision making is framed against a long term goal of sustainability.

Personally, physically, mentally, and professionally.

The order never changes:

Reduce demand.

Improve efficiency of use.

Improve efficiency of delivery.

Make it renewable and sustainable.

These steps and a mindset shift move us forward in our goal. It is not everything everywhere, it is small meaningful steps and progress…