Turns out your Sunday lie-in is good for the planet...
Can you help fight climate change in your sleep?
words Megan Wallace
If you're anything like us, eco-anxiety (and the scorching heatwave we're living through rn) are probably keeping you up at night. But what if we told you that missing out on your Zs is the last thing you'll want to do if you're trying to flight climate change. Yep, paper straws be damned, there's a growing train of thought claiming that we need to be working less and sleeping more to curb our carbon footprint.
Let's rewind all the way back to March, when Jayson Porter, a PhD candidate at North Western University, fired off a tweet that quickly went viral. "I’m still stuck on this idea: investing in more sleep for climate justice. If everyone in the United States was encouraged to sleep an additional hour or two, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions could be huge," he wrote. Racking up over 117,000 likes, the idea clearly resonated and, months later, it still has people talking.
Most recently, it's been the subject of an article for The Daily Beast claiming that Porter's theory could hold true and should actually be positioned as part of a growing movement towards "degrowth". Don't worry if you haven't heard of degrowth before, neither had we. But, after some Googling, we can tell you that it's a concept backed by some environmental economists, researchers and activists that argues that incessant economic growth is environmentally unsustainable (basically common sense, then). Proponents of the theory believe that an intentional scaling back of industrial production, more conscious relationship with the planet and a shift towards a circular economy could help minimise our carbon footprint and reduce waste, making Mother Nature happier.
So, winding back to that whole "more sleep for climate justice" thing, yep, sleeping more and working less really could be a solution for a greener planet. But it's not a case of just calling in late for work tomorrow. Degrowth sounds simple but it actually calls for radical, institutional change initiated by governments and an overhaul of how economies work in the Global North. As Porter sums it up in The Daily Beast article; "this is really a question of anti-capitalism."
Let's start by hitting the snooze button...