What is the story behind downshifting week ?
In 2002 my family traded a mad-rush lifestyle with limited family time, for a more peaceful, self-sufficient one. We work harder now than ever before, grow our own organic fruit and vegetables and raise chickens, ducks and guinea fowl for their eggs and the table. We live very simply and buy most things we need from the charity shop, with pride I might add!
The 3rd National Downshifting Week, an awareness campaign, takes place between Saturday 21st and Friday 27th April 2007 and is designed to help participants slow down and lean towards the green.
You are using different means this year to promote downshifting week, can you tell me how and why you came to this decision?
I’m promoting simple, green living and leaving as light a carbon-footprint as I can. I will be using public transport, Shanks’ pony and car sharing to get me to my destinations and if I physically can’t get somewhere, I’ll use another method to communicate my point!
We can be more effective in business if we travel less and focus our energy on getting our message across by another means, saving time, money and carbon emissions; corporate giants would do well to follow this lead, instead of flicking employees onto planes for 10 minute meetings.
Tracey will be using her local radio and TV studios, video conferencing, the Internet, email and the phone to spread the good, green word.
What can people do and how can we encourage children to take part ?
Everybody can slow down a gear and the benefits are endless; more time to spend with our children and loved ones, improved health, less stress, better food by cooking from fresh and supporting local producers, being just a few. Also, many enterprises are exploring energy/money saving ideas and investing it directly in their employees. Examples include encouraging unused equipment and lights to be turned off and having fresh local fruit in the lunch areas, or Fair Trade and organic beverages for tea breaks.
Simple communications technology can provide cost effective, eco-friendly solutions. It also keeps sole-driver ‘gridlockers’ off the road and gets people home to their families after a day in the office, not in the air.
Children are the leaders of the future and we should nurture sustainable attitudes for everyday activities, like composting, recycling, even volunteering in our communities.
National Downshifting Week’s slow down top tips are targeted at Individuals, Companies, Children and Schools and include: -
· Cut up a credit card - “Learning to live within our means is key to downshifting and positively embracing living with less is better still.”
· Plant something in the garden you can cultivate and eat - “Grow a few tomatoes or chillies on a windowsill if you have no garden; pesticide-free produce tastes amazing. It also breaks the myth that all food comes from the supermarkets!”
· Contact local food producers and re-think your vending machines at work – “Low mileage food and drinks and Fair Trade and Organic treats in the workplace…whatever next!”
· Book a half-day off work to spend with someone you love, no DIY allowed - “How can we have ‘quality time’ with great people, if we spend so much of it chasing the money? Money can’t buy you time.”