So, running a little behind in the Future Learn course “Sustainability, Society and You” which is now in week four. I’m still back in week three and at 3.5 we are presented with a video of a first world kitchen which walks through the sustainability of elements of it.
I’m wholly disconnected with this video from the moment the guide makes a non-ironic comparison with microwaved food and tasty food. Clearly a life with bland food is not sustainable, and it reduces the value of the video. Further, he then notes the fridge has no energy label on it – what fridge would once it’s come home from the shop? Then he makes the error of stating in terms it was therefore not possible to estimate the energy consumption, when he could check the motor rating at the rear. Of course the actual measurement would be best, but the motor plate is more accurate than the energy label***. Leaving the door of the fridge open, he goes on to say one could place bottles of water into the fridge to maintain the temperature when it was less full. Of course, he is forgetting that these bottles would be in and out all the time, perhaps refilled from the tap (wasting water) and the bottles put into the fridge at ambient temperature would then take additional energy to bring their temperature down to fridge level, only to be taken out once the food was replenished. Total fail! I see the comment [in the course web page comments] has been well made about the conflation of sustainability and fair trade, so I will pass over that with a shrug.
What was missing was any conversation whatsoever about local food production, seasonal menus, or non-electrical food storage such as canning. Neither were freezers discussed, which would have given the opportunity to talk about upright as opposed to chest freezers (the latter holding the cold air in even when open). There were missed opportunities to talk about kitchen waste; segregation, composting and recycling, even of the tea bags. This was clearly a “kitchen corner” in a university building rather than a proper kitchen, and perhaps a proper kitchen would have been preferable to film in, as it would then have the potential for garden compost bins and the rest of the accoutrements of a domestic kitchen.
Meh, I hate to be grumpy, and perhaps this reaction was deliberately provoked by the course tutors – who knows. The course continues to be excellent, but this particular unit could have been so much better.
*** went a bit wrong here. Of course the energy rating label would reflect the amount of time the motor had to run for to maintain the temperature, while the motor plate would only give the electrical use while it was running. A more efficient fridge would run for fewer hours.