terça-feira, 26 de janeiro de 2010

The 4 Day Work Week – A Simple Solution To A Happier Planet & Population


Typical eco and lifestyle aspirations for 2010 run the gamut from eating less meat and ridding plastic from our households to walking more frequently and embracing the concept of personal resource conservation. Every little bit helps, but we could kill two birds with one stone by overhauling the way that our country works. Ever since the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938, our population has been toiling away a standard 5 days each week. Decades ago, that change was admittedly a vast improvement over prior working conditions in which people were expected to act like Energizer Bunnies with virtually non-existent breaks, but today, it bears re-examination. By working ten hour days from Monday through Thursday, demeanors will improve, energy/resources will be saved and far less carbon dioxide will be pumped into our atmosphere.


Who in their right mind would protest this suggestion - after all, what's two extra measly hours in your workday if the reward at the end of it all is a blissful three-day-weekend? Imagine having ample time to recharge your batteries and actually being able to return to the office the following Monday with a genuine pep in your step? The state of Utah ran their own year-long "thank God it's Thursday" experiment in 2008 using 17,000 state employees as guinea pigs and found that in addition to spending 13% less on energy, they were able to cut their CO2 by well over 12,000 metric tons...plus workers saved an estimated $6 million in fuel expenses. That's just ONE office complex in the Beehive State - multiply those numbers by the gazillions of workplaces across the country and you have a recipe for eco-peep elation. Not surprisingly, when asked if they'd like to continue working their daily 10 hour schedules, 82% of Utah's state employees responded with an enthusiastic "yes!"

Climate Progress says that we are responsible for 29% or 328,000 million metric tons of the cumulative global CO2 emissions produced throughout the past 150 years - more than what any other country in the world has generated, China included. Is there any question that America needs to go on a serious greenhouse gas diet? As we've been seeing in ourselves, friends and neighbors, old habits such as letting go of our penchant for hyper consumerism and saying buh-bye to our cushy gas guzzlers generally dies hard, but the advent of a 4 day work week could very well be a relatively easy new eco-concept to embrace that would gain widespread acceptance with little to no resistance. With one less day to commute (a definite crowd pleaser), there would be potentially fewer incidents of road rage and traffic accidents, employees wouldn't call in sick as often since they'd be able to take care of personal business on their weekday off, and productivity would likely be higher since there would be more of a positive attitude and better quality of life.

Let us not forget the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)'s 2009 report of the world's most happy places. 140 countries were assessed regarding a number of basic factors including work-life balance and they determined that the lower the average work week, the higher the general level of contentment. Americans who are taking their first steps on a greener path would undoubtedly feel inspired that through the simple act of working just 4 days each week, they would automatically contribute to a reduction in air pollutants and crude oil imports, in turn prompting them to consider making even more do-able green lifestyle changes. The greatest impetus to change is the realization that lifestyle alterations don't have to be nearly as challenging as we make them out to be. So, what's your take on this proposal? Yay or nay and why?

[via Greenwhala]

Sem comentários: