So much so, that in our homes we no longer really feel them - the earth is covered over and built on, fire is boxed up in boilers, water travels through pipes, and the air is often messed about with by conditioners, humidifiers, and any number of interventions. In many modern offices you can't actually open the windows.
This sense of disconnection is also true of our energy usage. Anyone living little more than 100 years ago would be astonished at our steady supply of energy in the form of electricity and gas, and the assumption that we can have it exactly when needed, instantaneously, on demand, invisibly driving everything that heats, powers, and makes our home work. Faraday was indeed a genius.
Before the oil and coal revolution, fetching fuel (usually wood), and water, was an integral and time consuming part of survival. And, of course, two-thirds of the current world's population are in this position. It has been calculated that on average, today, an African living in a rural location spends 2 hours per day simply fetching water. So.... glad to be out of that, we think. Fine, as long as we continue to be aware of and value where our resources come from now, and how much we consume. But most of the time we are oblivious of this, because the process is invisible.
If this is true of the home, it is even more true of our workplaces, given that we are not usually responsible for the bills. 3 years ago, Mark Crutchley and Maria Price of the then TN Energy Group, invited the BBC locally to record on camera apparent energy wasteage late at night in Norwich - this ranged from office block lights left on, to car sales showrooms and shops with very large outputs of lighting on at 11.00 p.m. It featured as an item on BBC Look East and clearly the media team thought this was a striking and newsworthy piece.
This great idea is now being re-shaped and formed as our very own Energy Look Out initiative. So now, everyone has a chance to report us examples of energy waste - or indeed any kind of resource waste ( what about those constantly running taps in some of the cafe chains?) - and members of the Look Out team will contact the retailer or company concerned. See this month's bulletin.
However, unlike the mainstream media approach, we are not out to 'name and shame', but to firstly alert the company, and suggest ways they could save energy - and money. We will then publish the companies where positive change has been evidenced.
Research shows that in comparing companies that have adopted carbon and energy-saving measures, with those that have not, the latter group, when asked 'why not?', simply did not believe any significant savings could be made. Given some of the first group managed savings of 20% and more, this was yet another example of the need to change behaviours, assumptions and attitudes. So right on the transition agenda then!
Keep those reportings and sightings coming, and thanks to those who have already written to us.
Report your concern by e-mailing here . We will also be meeting informally at Take 5, Tombland, Norwich on December 12th 6.30 p.m. to further develop this initiative