According to a research group Autonomy; by working less, we can actually help save the planet. Yes, you read it; Autonomy suggests reducing the work week in order to help save our planet from the impending consequences of climate change.
A report was released by Autonomy titled ‘The ecological limits of work: on carbon emissions, carbon budgets, and working time’. The report suggests that by introducing a severe cut to the number of hours during the working week, we can increase the ‘individual well-being, productivity, and gender equality whilst simultaneously potentially contributing to a reduction in unemployment and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.’
The report by Autonomy further suggests that a paradigm shift is required in averting our mindset from the production to prioritizing growth without any sort of limit on the economy that takes the earth’s sustainability into account. The report calls onto the research that was carried out during a 2012 paper titled ‘Reducing Growth to Achieve Environmental Sustainability: The Role of Work Hours’. The mentioned paper suggested that a 1% decrease in the working hours could lead to a decrease of 1.46% in carbon footprint and 0.42% decrease in CO2 emissions.
The report also makes use of the information that was gathered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on carbon productivity per industry sector. The data basically establishes the link between GHG emissions and units of GDP since GDP connects directly to the waged working time. This led the authors of the report to assume a proportional relationship between GHG emission and labor time.
The report talks about how much GDP per capita is actually sustainable and then builds on it to develop an algorithm that enables it to ascertain the number of hours of work per week that are considered sustainable within the given economy. The results are harsh! The report does acknowledge that the answer is not in simply not going to work but rather calls for a paradigm shift in economic thinking.
The report by Autonomy suggests we should adopt Paul Lafargue’s phrase, ‘necessity to be lazy’ if we want to make the world sustainable. Autonomy says that attaining ecological sustainability, ‘requires an overall decrease in material consumption and a vast expansion in terms of leisure time and thus an increase in “time prosperity.”‘
What do you think? Would you prefer a lower number of hours per week for the sake of planet Earth?