When lockdown came, I instinctively thought I would be saving time because I would not be travelling. Now I have analysed things more deeply I realised that is not the case. When I used public transport, I was productive, I could read on the train or bus and, thanks to free Wi-Fi, deal with emails and all the other things I did sat in front of my office PC. There was downtime, walking to the station or bus stop and waiting for the bus or train to arrive and sometimes waiting on the platform for a connecting train.
In theory I should be saving that time, I am not, something is gobbling it up; Zoom and its co-conspirators. Online meetings are easier to arrange, no room bookings necessary and no travelling, so there are now more meetings than before, add to that that there are no travel costs for the attendees and the inclination to attend is higher. Add to that free to attend webinars and courses and the diary is soon full. Friday was a prime example
7.00 -7.30 am Drop in discussion online event in South Africa
8.00 – 9.00 am Newquay Business Breakfast giving an online presentation
10.00 – 11.00 am Online event – UK and South Africa networking
11.00- 12.00 Cornwall Chamber of Commerce Networking (had to leave early)
11.30 -12.00 One-to-one meeting
1.30 pm to 4.00 pm Carbon Neutral Cornwall Partnership Group meeting
In pre-Covid days I would have probably only attended the CNC Partnership event. It was a good event with a range of people meeting up with a willingness to work together to inform Cornwall Council’s approach to Cornwall being carbon neutral and to act as a critical friend. It wasn’t part of our discussions, however, I did raise that often we do not stand back enough from problems to find an effective solution. We see a problem with cars causing carbon emissions, so the solution is to build different cars with a cleaner propulsive unit. I shudder to think how much material and energy will be used to produce them. Step back and you can frame the problem differently; we are overdependent on personal transport. The solution then becomes entirely different; improved public transport, different work and travel practices and other things like changing how we shop. The benefits also become more extensive, the electric car solution only delivers cleaner air, the public transport and changed patterns delivers more, quicker travel (no overcrowded roads), more land for housing (less car parks) and more green spaces (less roads and less tarmac spaces to keep cars on).
Despite all the Zoom meetings I did manage to do some reading, normally my train and bus riding activity. This Guardian article caught my attention, Stop making sense: why it’s time to get emotional about climate change. In short it says that facts don’t change people’s opinions and behaviour, they will find all sorts of ways to support their irrational behaviour. That reminded me of someone who thought that washing up liquid was very harmful. If you did the washing up in her house she would watch over you to make sure you rinsed everything thoroughly then, when everything was done, she would pop outside for a cigarette.