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Unplug and Plug In Launch

February 14th, 2010 by Thalia Kehoe Rowden

The average Kiwi watches 168 minutes of television each day. That’s the average. So Kiwis spend around 4,000,000,ooo (4 billion) hours a year watching tv.

In this mind-blowing article, Clay Shirky does the maths and works out that the free, online, user-generated encyclopedia, Wikipedia, probably took about 100,000,000 human thought hours to create – and it’s vast.

He then cross-indexes that with the amount of time people spend watching tv, and uses a ‘Wikipedia’ as a vast unit of human thought time. So that means that New Zealanders spend 40 Wikipedias’-worth of time and thought each year on watching television.

If every Kiwi watched 4.2 minutes less tv a day, that would free up enough time and thought to create a whole new Wikipedia – or something different we haven’t thought of yet.

If every church-going Kiwi stopped watching tv (assuming church-goers are average tv-watchers), we’d free up 8 Wikipedias’-worth of creativity to, I don’t know, meet our neighbours? Learn to cook? Get some rest? Play some sport? Do the filing you never get around to? Build the kingdom of God, say? Any of those would be better than sinking 3 precious hours a day into passive tv-watching that makes us feel worse about ourselves anyway.

So three Baptist churches in New Plymouth (Central, Northpoint and West) are taking on a Lent challenge of going screen-entertainment-free for the six weeks before Easter. Starting this Wednesday, that means!

Each household got a calendar at church today, with heaps of ideas of free, fun, easy ways to spend your time in more life-giving ways than tv-watching – the calendar even has stickers. Check out the Unplug and Plug In facebook page to share more ideas and photos of what you get up to.

Anyone’s welcome, so if you’re not part of these three churches, but would like some encouragement to change how you spend your time, sign up on the facebook page or contribute to comments on this site.

It’s gonna be great. We all deserve much better for those 168 minutes than Extreme Makeover: Toe Edition, America’s Next Top Rubbish Collector and Depressing Crime and Weather Reports at 6pm.

Let’s unplug from the screens and plug into life, yeah?


PS: If you think this could be for you, but you need a bit more convincing/encouraging/inspiring/convicting… check out the Clay Shirky article above, today’s sermon and/or The Story of Stuff, for starters.

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  • 1 A Tale of Two Texts: Jesus Has a Dream Feb 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    […] we’re all unplugging from screen-based entertainment this Lent, we have a great opportunity to plug into the life of Jesus, particularly in the biographies of him […]

  • 2 Unplug and Plug In: Day 33 Mar 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    […] week, as we head into the last third of the Unplug and Plug In challenge, I’d like to encourage all of us to be aware that people living by themselves sometimes need […]

  • […] And, wow, the time you save to use on something else when there’s no tv in the house! The average Kiwi watches over four hours a day. Which is enough to build a few Wikipedias between us each year. […]

  • […] And, wow, the time you save to use on something else when there’s no tv in the house! The average Kiwi watches over four hours a day. Which is enough to build a few Wikipedias between us each year. […]

  • […] designed to stand alone or go alongside any other things you want to do, like fast, go screen-free, or practise hospitality or generosity in a different […]