The NYT had a piece this weekend on the ancient European practice of simply shutting everything down for the winter:
Economists and bureaucrats who ventured out into the countryside after the [French] Revolution were horrified to find that the work force disappeared between fall and spring… Villages and even small towns were silent, with barely a column of smoke to reveal a human presence. As soon as the weather turned cold, people all over France shut themselves away and practiced the forgotten art of doing nothing at all for months on end… In 1900, The British Medical Journal reported that peasants of the Pskov region in northwestern Russia “adopt the economical expedient” of spending one-half of the year in sleep: “At the first fall of snow the whole family gathers round the stove, lies down, ceases to wrestle with the problems of human existence, and quietly goes to sleep.”
The article goes on to suggest that if French president Nicolas Sarkozy is serious about conservation, he should “consider introducing tax incentives for hibernation… There has never been a better time to stay in bed.” (But in Maine, many elderly people do not have families to snuggle up to.)
What do you think… when it comes to conservation and general sanity, would we be better off just dialing it way down for the winter? Shorter workweeks? No alarm clocks? Three-dog nights?