Going to bed early and having more sex can help address climate change by reducing electricity use, stress, and carbon footprint.
Going to bed early and having more sex can help address climate change by reducing electricity use at night, reducing stress, over consumption, and carbon-intensive activities.
A quick search of US bedtimes suggests that the average bedtime is 11pm. If we roll that back to 9 pm we would reduce electricity usage associated with lights, phone, computers, TVs, cars, etc. If people have sex then they could enjoy interpersonal connections and physical pleasure, reducing their environmental impact and desire to engage in carbon-intensive activities.People can reduce their environmental impact by going to bed earlier, having more sex, and increasing life satisfaction while lowering carbon footprint. The sooner people act to address climate change the better, “Deeper, Earlier Emissions Cuts Needed.”
So, get busy! (pun intended). If you learned about sex like I did-- from a book-- then you likely know the importance of reading as a way to increase knowledge. This proposal does not discount the importance of reading as a means of increasing knowledge; it just suggests that such reading would be better done with natural day-lighting. When it is dark out, we can save the environment and have fun through carnal knowledge.
Some colleges have instituted “Do it in the Dark” energy saving campaigns. Though the school websites don’t typically mention sex, one does, mentioning the use of “Glow in the dark condoms.” So do it in the dark. Or at least with the lights down low.
What actions do you propose?
Many people have noted the importance of behavioral considerations regarding climate change and energy conservation.
“I used to think that top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.”
- James Gustave Speth, former administrator of the UN Development Programme, former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
“Sex: Do it for the Kids” is now a popular saying. But healthy sex lives are associated with strong marriages, which positively affect kids’ lives. If we care about our kids’ family environments we should be having more sex:
“Let your kids know that when your bedroom door is locked, unless the house is burning down, you’ll visit with them later. Your marital, unashamed love provides them with great stability. Isn’t that the healthy sexual attitude you’d want your children to take into their marriage?” Dr. Liz Hale.
We should also care about the physical environment we are leaving for our kids and we are not doing a good job on that front. As James Gustave Speth indicates in his memoir Angels by the River “The world is firmly on the path to a ruined planet in the lives of today’s children.”
With this in mind, we should “Do it for the kids.”
Our current, technocentric world is not providing us with full satisfaction. Daniel Crockett suggests that there is a modern malaise, “Something is amiss and we can't quite put our finger on what. It seems that the further our society progresses, the more disenfranchised we feel.”
“For many people, this 'image of separateness' is permanent. The idea that they could be connected to a wider environment is completely entrenched. Technology, we seem to believe, remains the solution.“
Overwork is also impacting us negatively:
“Have a look at the lifestyle section of any major newspaper and you’ll find a host of articles on how to stay well in a life that’s too busy to live in. But the facts are plainer than we’re being led to believe. Many of us simply work too much to really be well.”
Sex can be undertaken in an environmentally responsible manner. Sophia Breen in Greatist, indicates “15 Science-Backed Reasons to Have More Sex.” Nicole McDermott builds on these reason to emphasize environmentally responsible sex:
“Sex is a great activity for tons of reasons, including the fact that it’s easier on the environment than other ways to pass the time — like say, jet-skiing for example. But, a quickie (or a long-y) can have negative environmental consequences because of chemicals found in sex toys, the process of making a condom, or even how long you leave the water running when doing the dirty in the shower.”
MIT’s recent climate action plan suggests: “improving understanding of climate change and advancing novel, targeted mitigation and adaptation solutions….sharing knowledge about climate change, and learning from others around the world; and using the MIT community as a “test bed” for change.” Yes, more ‘test beds’ are needed!
The song “Baby it’s Cold Outside” intones some of the energy saving mentality: “I can’t really stay.. But baby it’s cold outside.” (written by Frank Loesser (1944). See it in films: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFJ7ie_yGU) So stay in, stay warm, and save some energy.
In “Nothing Compares to You,” Prince wrote, “I go out all night and sleep all day.” Prince was great, but such practices do not take advantage of natural light. Rather, we should embrace the dark: Here is a song I wrote suggesting some benefits of “turning the lights down low:” https://soundcloud.com/perry-grossman/lights-down-low.”
We can liberate ourselves through sensuous activities. “[Herbert Marcuse] contends that Freud's argument that repression is needed by civilization to persist is mistaken, as Eros is liberating and constructive.”
“Freud claimed that a clash between Eros and civilization results in the history of humanity being one of his repression: 'Our civilization is, generally speaking, founded on the suppression of instincts.' Sex produces the energy, and it is repressed so the energy can be channeled into progress - but the price of progress is the prevalence of guilt instead of happiness. "Progress", for Marcuse, is a concept that provides the explanation and excuse of why the system has to continue; it is the reason the happiness of people is sacrificed (see also pleasure principle).”
A quick search of bedtimes in the US and the UK indicate an average bedtime of around 11pm, this varies by community.
“The county that stays up the latest is Brooklyn, New York (Kings County), with an average bedtime of 12:07 a.m., while the earliest to bed counties are Maui and Kauai in Hawaii, hitting the hay at 10:31 and 10:33, respectively”
In the US, 11pm seems to be the average. “Kern County's average bedtime was discovered to be 11:14 p.m. and the average sleep cycle was 6.9 hours according to the study.”
A UK study indicated the following: “North East 11:10pm – time average person in North East goes to bed. Average person gets 6hrs 30 minutes of sleep per night 18% have used alcohol as a remedy to help them get to sleep 50% of people say that worry/stress keeps them awake at night.
Sexual activity varies among demographic groups so targeting and impact assessments will need to consider that. “Ten percent of African Americans and Hispanics reported having sex almost every night, compared with 4 percent of whites and 1 percent of Asians.”
A customer segmentation model such as that developed by the Shelton Group and Fiveworx could also help targeted messaging to different groups, such as Cautious Conservatives, Concerned Parents, True Believers, and Working Class Realists:
If we could move bedtimes from 11 to 9 pm that would be 2 hours with reduced or no use of lights, TVs, radios, phones, or computers. Ron Swanson, from Parks and Recreation, might not be the best guide on all fronts, but the suggestion of dinner, a drink, and vigorous love-making for two hours and falling asleep by 8:30 is certainly less carbon intensive than his wife’s suggestion of a honeymoon in Europe:
Actions and Impacts:
To summarize, for the US, there is an estimated reduction of 263,071,016,565 pounds CO2 per year, which, based on an estimated $3 million dollar advertising campaign, works out to savings of 87,690 CO2 (lbs.) per year per dollar spent.
An electricity bill of An electricity bill of $100 per month could result in 7,350 lbs. CO2 per year. 00 per month could result in 7,350 lbs. CO2 per year.
Reducing the bill to $95 per month would reduce CO2 to 6982.5 lbs. CO2 per year.If people stayed in 50 more nights per year. (50 nights is 13.70% of a year) we could reduce CO2 output by 0.22 tons per year or 285 pounds CO2 per year.
10miles (5 each way)
0.22Tonnes CO2/year by staying in 50 extra nights a year.
An alternate calculation with the same parameters is:
497 lbs of CO2 per year.
(1 metric ton is 2204.62 pounds so the numbers are close)
Lighting:“Estimates suggest that almost half of our carbon footprint is due to electricity and 17% is due to lightinghttp://www.myledlightingguide.com/how-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint
Here are estimates for CO2 reductions (tons) for incandescent and LED lights based 2 fewer hours of use per day (by single lamp and by house):
See my blog for details:
(It would be great to get help on the numbers. I don't have time to investigate further)
(It is too hard to paste tables here)
Who will take these actions?
Where will these actions be taken?
These actions can be undertaken anywhere private. Given limited time, I have typically cited US sources in this proposal. I encourage other to get involved and make this a global movement.
Sex can help reduce work-related stress, which studies have shown to be very costly.
Hopefully, people will also start accepting their bodies and using less makeup, as suggested in “Take it off” by Alex Chilton. Alex Chilton suggests something similar in “My Baby Just Cares For Me.”
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
To summarize, for the US, there is an estimated benefit of 263,071,016,565 pounds CO2 per year, which, based on a $3 million dollar advertising campaign, works out to savings of 87,690 CO2 (lbs.) per year per dollar spent.
Reduction in CO2 lbs/year
Per Home Lights 1533
Per Home TV 146
Per Home Reduced Driving 285
Per Home CO2 savings(lbs.)/home/year1,964
US Households (2014)133,957,180
US CO2 savings(lbs.)/year 263,071,016,565
USAd campaign (estimate) 3,000,000
Per Home Campaign Cost/home 0.02
US CO2 savings(lbs.)/year/$87,690
See the table at:
What are other key benefits?
There are many additional benefits to this proposal. Hilda Hutcherson, M.D. in Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve” suggests that great sex “makes us feel good physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.
In addition to reducing electricity use at night, sex can reduce stress, over consumption, and carbon-intensive activities. By focusing on interpersonal connections with a low carbon footprint; people will likely reduce their involvement in other carbon-intensive activities such as monster truck driving, video games, and driving around town looking for parking when out dining, going to baseball games, or clubbing.
Reduced stress would result in lower healthcare costs.
"Seventy-five percent of health-care costs are associated with chronic illnesses," said Anderson. "What's a key driver of chronic illnesses? Stress." American Psychological Association (APA) CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD
What are the proposal’s costs?
A very high level estimate for an advertising campaign might be $3 million dollars.
A private and public service campaign could be initiated to develop the proposal. Production costs could be high, especially if advertising firms are used:
“Although the space and time for PSAs are free, production is not, and the cost can vary, depending on whether you pay an advertising agency to produce a campaign for you, whether you get them to do it pro bono, or whether you have the radio station produce the spot.”
Lower cost options could include student competitions for developing the PSAs.
See also these resources on PSAs:
And social media campaigns:
The are some potential downsides (costs) to more sex:
Increased pregnancies, which would increase environmental impact.
Indeed, Denmark did a public campaign to increase sexual activity and births:
Unwanted pregnancies could be reduced by an increased focus on birth control, as suggested by Melinda Gates:
Risk of STDs
Longer life, which would increase carbon footprint: One negative climate consideration is that men who have more orgasms tend to live longer:
“Mortality risk was 50% lower in the group with high orgasmic frequency than in the group with low orgasmic frequency, with evidence of a dose-response relation across the groups.”
“Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study”
BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7123.1641 (Published 20 December 1997)
This proposal would have short term, medium term, and long term actions. People would need to keep at it!
Great environmental thinker, James Gustave Speth:
An excerpt from James Gustave Speth’s memoir “Angels by the River.”
On the problem of over-consumption:
A TED talk: Sex as pizza versus baseball. Focus on internal satisfaction with sex; not competition:
Birth control is important: 1 billion couples will have sex in a given year.
It’s cold outside; so stay in:
UBC: Glow in the dark condoms.
“Personal action is the first step towards systemic change."
Sex is a culture war; our current capitalist system sells sexuality; but restrains sex. Similar climate is a culture war: See Andrew Hoffman on climate science as a culture war:
“Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study.”BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7123.1641
(Published 20 December 1997)
Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1641
Klein shows the war of capitalism on the climate:
Naomi Klein. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. Simon and Schuster. 2014.
“There’s a culture agreement that privileges people’s discomfort if it’s about sexuality....Uncomfortable about sex? You’re a civic leader.”
Marty Klein, Ph.D. “America’s War on Sex.” Praeger.2006.
(certified sex therapist and public policy analyst)
(with a foreword by Nadine Stossen, President, ACLU)
“[Herbert Marcuse] contends that Freud's argument that repression is needed by civilization to persist is mistaken, as Eros is liberating and constructive.”
“Brown offers a radical analysis and critique of the work of Sigmund Freud, tries to provide a theoretical rationale for a nonrepressive civilization”
“....refusal to accept the boundaries that define the normal (or average) sense of reality."
Quite controversial; but an interesting investigation of sexual repression:
"....a call for the liberation of the Dionysian id"