It’s a cliché to say that British people drink a lot of tea. But it’s a cliché that’s true — so much so that, according to The Guardian, kettles account for a full 4 percent of household emissions in the United Kingdom. Four percent! Just to boil water to pour over some dried leaves! It’s this sort of thing that makes you bang your head against the table and figure we should all just give up and move to Antarctica, because, surely, the planet is going to heat up beyond recognition. Surely, there must be a better way.
And, as it turns out, there is a better way! It’s fairly simple: Bring back the kettle whistle.
It turns out that British people who want a cup of tea boil the necessary water on average 2.4 times, i.e. 1.4 times more often than necessary. This is in part because not all electric tea kettles have the same annoying-as-hell whistle that good old-fashioned metal kettles do. The Guardian says that bringing back the whistle could rein in emissions:
Amazingly, studies show that the single biggest innovation to tackle inefficient use and behaviour would be the good-old whistle. Removing whistles in the move from gas hob to electric counter-top instantly eliminated the need for an audible prompt that it was time for tea.
OK, so maybe the world’s not over after all. Bring the whistle back, and maybe British people will boil their tea water, oh, 1.5 times per cup. Maybe the average will even creep closer to one time per cup. And, amazingly, that simple fix could make a real dent in the country’s carbon emissions.
- Sustainable behaviour by design, The Guardian
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