By Zoe Holliday

Well we’re still in the thick of pantomime season, and I’m going to make a confession: unlike most children, I used to dread going to the panto. There were two reasons for this: 

  1. After watching Peter Pan one year, I had recurring nightmares for months about pirates kidnapping my parents, and
  2. I always felt awkward about audience participation. My father, supportive chap that he is, would nudge me every time that I was supposed to be shouting or singing, just to compound my embarrassment.

Thinking about it now, had pirates kidnapped my parents, it would probably have solved my problems, as my dad wouldn’t have been able to embarrass me, and I probably wouldn’t have had to go to the panto anyway. 

But that’s an aside. It strikes me that there are some lessons that can be learnt from pantomimes that are relevant to the world of energy saving. For example, the two halves of the pantomime horse show us that if we don’t all work together in an effective manner (and make sure we’re heading in the same direction) we won’t get anywhere. 

Just like the pantomime ‘dame’, things in the energy industry are not always what they seem. There are a lot of pervading myths in the energy sector, like the idea that leaving appliances/lights/heating on uses less energy than turning them on and off. So we need to share knowledge if we are going to succeed in reducing our emissions. 

And, of course, it’s always important to look behind you! There’s so much going on in the energy industry both in the UK and abroad and finding out what other people and organisations are doing is a great way to avoid making the same mistakes and to replicate successful ideas. Feed-in tariffs are a great example of how the Government has already succeeded in taking ideas that have worked elsewhere in the world and implementing them here. 

But I think most importantly, we can learn from watching my 6 year old self that the way to participate is not to sit awkwardly ignoring the nudges of others. If you want your voice to be heard (and for anyone to throw you the things you want) you’ve got to shout.  

In the energy world, that applies to participation in national campaigns to get the issues you think are important on the Government’s agenda, but also to having the courage to tell your family/partner/flatmate to turn the heating off and put a jumper on, or just to talk to your friends about the things you care about. 

Because unfortunately, it’s there the analogy ends;  there’s no fairy godmother waiting to magic all our carbon emissions away. So my new year’s resolution is to be braver and to speak out more about energy issues I think are important. Ohhhh yes it is.