The Japanese government, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and severe electricity shortage launched a “Warm Biz” Campaign today. It’s asking workers to wear sweaters and dress appropriately as the country continues to face the possibility of electric outages.
During this past summer the government launched a similar “Super Cool Biz” campaign, encouraging and pushing employees to wear Hawaiian shirts, T-shirts and sandals to keep cool and save electricity!
With the “Warm Biz” campaign, the government is asking businesses and homeowners to set the temperature at a maximum of 20 degrees C (68 F). Ads are using a cartoon ninja character to model the wearing of scarves, gloves and leg warmers, the AFP reports. The environment ministry suggests putting on scarves, gloves and leg warmers during the day and an extra layer after the evening bath, or wearing a towel around the neck in bed. As with the Cool Biz campaign, businesses are looking to benefit this time around, by providing items like thermal wear and knitwear!
Other practical recommendations from the ministry include,
“You can lower the heat if you enjoy ‘nabe’ (Japanese hot pot) with your family and friends, making both bodies and the room warm. The temperature will feel higher than it actually is thanks to steam from the pot,” the ministry website says.
Eating root vegetables and ginger will help to “warm the body up”, it says, adding that getting off the train a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way to work will boost circulation.
The Summer Super Cool Biz Campaign
With the ‘Super Cool Biz’ campaign, the government wanted everyone to “chill out” literally, without turning the air-conditioning up!
Under the campaign banner the government suggested that people arrive at work earlier, before the sun beats down, eat icy desserts and most notably asking workers to wear sandals and shorts and Hawaiian shirts–to work!
Ryu Matsumoto, the current environment minister, had said at that time,
“This is not just a temporary measure to survive this summer, this is going to be a big event to change the way of life in Japan and people’s lifestyles.”
The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan said on Sept. 16 that the Cool Biz drive cut demand by about 210 million kilowatt-hours, equal to 79,000 tons of Co2 in June, July and August. Warm Biz may help to reduce even more pollution. With active participation and encouragement from the government, this can lead to a cultural change that fosters long-term sustainable behaviour that is simply more effective than green fads and fashions, adequately showing that cultural changes can lower energy use as much as technological ones.
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