An imaginative, quirky solution to a challenge of our age. Podcast weekly on Mondays.
Give up shoes and go barefoot
Antony Gormley instructs us all to give up shoes and go barefoot. At a time of global warming, with naked feet you can actually feel it. He has gone barefoot for a year and says that if you dispense with shoes you can appreciate distinctions and negotiate your environment in a totally different way.
Photo: Footprints in sand (BBC)
Fast for one day a week!
Frances Ashcroft wants us to fast once a week. In the face of a global obesity epidemic with the resulting increase in diabetes, fasting would help us regulate our appetite and allow us to live longer. Fasting is cheap, simple and has a long tradition in many cultures. While it is important to check with our doctor before doing so, fasting one day a week would make us healthier, happier and longer lived.
Photo: Shan Pillay
Women to talk first
Silja Omarsdottir suggests that for one day a year, no man is allowed to talk in a meeting before having heard a woman's opinion first. Silja says that a woman tends to wait her turn to speak, but a man doesn‘t have these qualms, and will jump up right away and start talking, preventing her from having her say. If we could break this cycle then women's voices would be properly heard.
Photo credit: Geir Olafsson
Replace schoolbooks with objects
Underwater archaeologist Peter Campbell suggests getting rid of school books and instead giving students a Rosetta stone, a Roman spear, or moon rock. The most popular exhibits in the British Museum are those that allow people to touch historical artefacts. Interaction with objects allows us to put ourselves in other people's shoes, feel what is real, evaluate narratives, and it captures audience's attention longer than written texts.
Turn off the lights
There should be one day a year when everyone switches off all lights on earth to create complete darkness, suggests astronomer Anna Frebel. This would allow us to marvel at the wonder of the universe, appreciate the stars and the full splendour of the Milky Way.
Illustration: Shan Pillay
Structural Engineer Hanif Kara believes that if we could find a way of adapting the human body to sleep vertically, we would eliminate a lot of the world’s pressing problems. A single adult takes about 7 m2 of bedroom space to be comfortable, so 70 adults could stand shoulder to shoulder in the same volume. This reduction in footprint means less building, less cooling and less heating, even if all other areas of the home such as corridors and kitchens remain the same.
Photo: Shan Pillay