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Individualization: Plant a Tree, Buy a Bike, Save the World?

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Abstract

An increasingly dominant, largely American response to the contemporary environmental crisis understands environmental degradation as the product of individual shortcomings and finds solutions in enlightened, uncoordinated consumer choice. Several forces promote this process of individualization, including the historical baggage of mainstream environmentalism, the core tenets of liberalism, the dynamic ability of capitalism to commodify dissent, and the relatively recent rise of global environmental threats to human prosperity. The result is to narrow our collective ability to imagine and pursue a variety of productive responses to the environmental problems before us. When responsibility for environmental problems is individualized, there is little room to ponder institutions, the nature and exercise of political power, or ways of collectively changing the distribution of power and influence in society. Confronting consumption requires individuals to understand themselves not primarily as consumers but rather as citizens in a participatory democracy, working together to change broader policy and larger social institutions. It also requires linking explorations of consumption to politically charged issues that challenge the political imagination. Copyright (c) 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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... In this regard, system-change and transformation are often placed in opposition to an individualizedlifestyle-solution approach to climate change. To concentrate on laypeople's everyday choices about consumption, transportation, eating patterns, and energy use is seen by some, at best, as promoting insignificant actions within the system and, at worst, as contributing to upholding unsustainable societal structures [4,5]. Others argue, however, that changes are needed at all levels of society, the micro, meso, and macro levels, and that every societal actor, therefore, needs to become involved [6,7]. ...
... This approach, however, has been criticized by researchers, not least in sociology, who argue that this focus on everyday behaviors and barriers is a kind of 'governed responsibilization' in which structural political problems are transformed into individualized life-style issues, based on a neo-liberal view of people as consumers rather than citizens [5,25]. This is also true for children and young people [26,27]. ...
... People should make the 'right' consumer choices, but not necessarily question deeper structural and political problems. This criticism implies that the lifestyle choices people make in everyday life are not only unimportant but could even be dangerous since they keep people from questioning the real forces that maintain the unsustainable society [4,5]. The conclusion is that one ought to focus on overarching political and economic change instead and help young people retrieve a critical consciousness to be able to challenge power structures and provide opportunities to be collectively engaged [4]. ...
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If we are going to be able to fight climate change in an effective way there is a need for a profound sustainability transformation of society. The question is how everyday pro-environmental behavior such as climate-friendly food choices should be looked upon in this context: as something that hides the need for structural change, or as a starting point for a profound transformation? The aim is to discuss how emotions related to conflicts encountered when trying to make everyday climate-friendly food choices in a society that is not always sustainable can be used to promote transformational learning. Interviews were performed with 15 adolescents. Emotions felt in relation to conflicts and how the youth cope were explored. The results show that the youth mainly felt individualized emotions of guilt, helplessness, and irritation and that they coped primarily by distancing themselves from emotions felt, but also sometimes in a problem-focused way and through positive reappraisal. Results are discussed in relation to theories about critical emotional awareness and prefigurative politics. It is argued that by taking account of emotional aspects related to everyday conflicts in a critical manner, issues such as justice could be brought to the surface and transformative learning could be enhanced.
... However, the rethinking and criticism of the 'green choice' policy shows that the latter exaggerates the impact of individual action on the environmental agenda. It shifts a large share of the responsibility for market failures and environmental policy decisions to individuals (Maniates 2001;Evans et al. 2017). The 'green choice' is a responsibilization mechanism, but it should be actively supported by the state. ...
... It is worth noting that the empowerment revealed in the interviews is not entirely straightforward, as young people still express contradictory attitudes towards ecological engagement. This stems from the fact that environmental responsibility has to be shared among social actors, while the 'politics of choice' approach exaggerates the reflexivity and autonomy of individual actors (Maniates 2001;Welch and Warde 2015). ...
Book
The Ambivalence of Power in the Twenty-First Century Economy contributes to the understanding of the ambivalent nature of power, oscillating between conflict and cooperation, public and private, global and local, formal and informal, and does so from an empirical perspective. It offers a collection of country-based cases, as well as critically assesses the existing conceptions of power from a cross-disciplinary perspective. The diverse analyses of power at the macro, meso or micro levels allow the volume to highlight the complexity of political economy in the twenty-first century. Each chapter addresses key elements of that political economy (from the ambivalence of the cases of former communist countries that do not conform with the grand narratives about democracy and markets, to the dual utility of new technologies such as face-recognition), thus providing mounting evidence for the centrality of an understanding of ambivalence in the analysis of power, especially in the modern state power-driven capitalism. Anchored in economic sociology and political economy, this volume aims to make ‘visible’ the dimensions of power embedded in economic practices. The chapters are predominantly based on post-communist practices, but this divergent experience is relevant to comparative studies of how power and economy are interrelated.
... A strong barrier to transformation presented by the Slow Money model lies in how responsibility is individualized, because it does not adequately consider power relations in making systemic change. This is a common pitfall in the mainstream environmental movement that is otherwise known as the "individualization of responsibility" (Maneates, 2001). The individualization of responsibility renders power limited and diffuse as individuals are not effective leverage points; relying on them to change their behaviour for systemic impact is often futile. ...
... These types of initiatives are likely to lead to weak rather than strong sustainability outcomes as they rely solely on consumer goodwill and thus remain small in scale. By relying on consumers to buy their way towards a sustainable future, they individualize responsibility which avoids addressing larger power dynamics and fits nicely into the "current neoliberal ideology of self-help" (Lawrence, 2017;Maneates, 2001). ...
Thesis
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The scholarly literature demonstrates that dominant financial investment patterns tend to contribute to unsustainable outcomes in the food system. Mainstream lending hurts prospects for building more sustainable food systems as it tends to favour large-scale industrial food and farming businesses. Mainstream finance tends to under-resource alternative food systems by not providing them with the capital they need to grow and thrive. Further, financialization, which can be understood as the growing share of financial rather than productive activities in the economy, shapes the broad contours of the food system and also exacerbates unsustainability. Despite the powerful dynamics exerted by finance on food systems, there is room in the alternative food systems literature for an analysis of the role of finance in supporting transitions towards more sustainable food systems. Social finance is a growing investment approach that aims to reorient finance for greater sustainability outcomes and some believe that it holds promise for addressing the problems with mainstream finance in the food system. This dissertation contributes a novel perspective to the literature on alternative food systems. It asks: (1) What explains the rise of social finance initiatives that target food systems?; (2) Which characteristics of the initiatives support or inhibit transitions towards more sustainable food systems? (3) What broader lessons arise regarding the design and implementation of these initiatives for scholars and practitioners interested in food system change? To answer these questions, this qualitative study provides analysis that draws on semi-structured interviews with 34 participants in Canada, United States and the Netherlands related to social financing funds that are geared towards food system change, as well as primary documents such as impact investment reports and fund websites and a review of the grey and scholarly literatures.The analysis is spread across four main empirical chapters, each of which answer the above research questions in different ways, and taken together, contribute to advancing the arguments that arise from this work. First, the rise of social finance initiatives that target food systems emerged through a combination of factors including: i) the unsustainability of the dominant industrial food system; ii) the increased financialization of the food system; iii) the lack of financial capital available to alternative food systems; and iv) growing interest in alternative financing mechanisms after the 2008 financial crisis. Second, these initiatives show varying degrees of transformative potential, depending on their investment ethos and the version of sustainability (weak or strong) to which they subscribe. The primary hurdles that are holding these initiatives back relate to their reliance on individuals to make change, small scale, inability to consistently ensure accountability of their impacts to investors and the misalignment between the time horizons of investments compared to those required to make meaningful social and environmental impact. Finally, the findings point to broader lessons about the role that social finance can play in sustainability transitions. I do not consider social finance, in its current form, a robust or radical enough approach to encourage profound sustainability transitions but it could be a helpful tool as part of a larger innovation ecosystem to support sustainable food systems.
... Plastic pollution is a global challenge characterised by regional variations in how the problem is defined, which in turn shapes policy responses (Liboiron 2016). Plastic packaging has largely been defined as a waste management problem, with a focus on post-consumer household waste streams that individualises responsibility (Maniates 2001). This emphasis on plastic waste and recycling has been critiqued, firstly, by marine scientists who see the issue of single use plastic as a distraction that limits radical action on issues such as climate change (Stafford and Jones 2019). ...
... I'm like 'But you are making the earth dirty, don't litter' And they're like 'no man' [don't be silly]. So, I think people are not cautious or conscious about littering, it's almost like, for them it's just like, ' ok, job creation, yes.' (Cape Town, 9 January 2020) The way Andile describes packaging changes from 'plastic' to ' dirt' to 'litter' which are terms associated with individualising responsibility (Maniates 2001). In contrast, Andile's peers see contaminated plastic as the responsibility of government to collect regardless of whether it is in a bin or on the ground. ...
Article
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Recycling has come to be seen as a key strategy for tackling plastic pollution in South Africa, enabled by the rising popularity of circular economy policies globally. This paper explains how recycling operates discursively, positioning waste as an economic opportunity, with the effect of making it plausible to ignore the multi-scaler inequitable dynamics of waste that have been well documented by critical waste scholars. Quantitative and qualitative data was gathered over 13 months as part of the Valuing Plastic Project in Cape Town. Research involved establishing and evaluating a small-scale recycling scheme at Eluvukweni Church in the township of Crossroads on the outskirts of Cape Town. The methodology combined elements of participatory action research and discourse analysis to understand how ideas circulate in a way that perpetuates the status quo. This paper argues that the discursive power of recycling is enabled by concepts of circular economy and waste entrepreneurship, which position waste as a resource that unlocks job opportunities for people in poverty. As a consequence, environmental groups’ resistance to recycling as the solution to plastic pollution in South Africa continues to be constrained by the assumption that plastic waste is valuable, and that the plastic industry is able to regulate itself.
... Solche Klimaschutz-Ausreden folgen verschiedenen Argumentationsmustern, die teilweise bereits in der Literatur identifiziert wurden. So spielen oft radikaler Individualismus (Maniates, 2001), Greenwashing (Sheehan, 2018), unbedingter Fortschrittsglaube (Peeters et al., 2016) oder die Überbetonung von Kosten eine zentrale Rolle in Argumenten gegen schnelle und effektive Klimapolitik (Bohr, 2016;Jacques & Knox, 2016). Diese Muster wurden bereits vielfach mittels Umfragen und in BürgerInnen-Versammlungen beobachtet (Bickerstaff & Walker, 2002;Norgaard, 2011), aber auch in Medienberichten (Bohr, 2016;Jacques & Knox, 2016;Peeters et al., 2016;Sheehan, 2018) und anderen politischen Diskursen (Bache et al., 2015;Gillard, 2016;McKie, 2019). ...
Chapter
Die Klimakrise spitzt sich zu, der Klimawandel wird immer stärker spürbar. Warum gelingt es vielfach trotzdem nicht, dringend notwendige Eindämmungsmaßnahmen einzuleiten und zu handeln? Die Autorinnen und Autoren beleuchten aus psychologischer und interdisziplinärer Sicht die Hindernisse, die einer produktiven Auseinandersetzung mit der Krise im Wege stehen. Sie bieten Inspirationen für den Umgang mit den Herausforderungen des Klimawandels und stellen Grundideen für ein konstruktives und kollektives Handeln dar. Dabei denken sie individuelles Handeln auf gesellschaftlicher Ebene und zeigen, dass jede*r in der Klimakrise wirksam werden und dabei gesund bleiben kann. Mit Beiträgen von Markus Barth, Katharina Beyerl, Julian Bleh, Helmut Born, Hans-Joachim Busch, Andreas Büttgen, Stuart Capstick, Parissa Chokrai, Felix Creutzig, Trevor Culhane, Aram de Bruyn-Ouboter, Katja Diehl, Lea Dohm, Immo Fritsche, Erhard Georg, Robert Goldbach, Tobias Gralke, Delaram Habibi-Kohlen, Gregor Hagedorn, Karen Hamann, Markus Hener, Nicole Herzog, Karolin Heyne, Sandra Hieke, David Hiss, Remo Klinger, Jan-Ole Komm, Ebba Laing, William F. Lamb, Helen Landmann, Odette Lassonczyk, Sebastian Levi, Giulio Mattioli, Jan C. Minx, Finn Müller-Hansen, Felix Peter, David J. Petersen, Kay Rabe von Kühlewein, Gerhard Reese, Toni Raimond, Anne-Kristin Römpke, Kaossara Sani, Christin Schörk, Mareike Schulze, Sara Schurmann, Benedikt Seger, Katharina Simons, Maximilian Soos, Julia K. Steinberger, J. Timmons Roberts, Nisha Toussaint-Teachout, Katharina van Bronswijk, Marlis Wullenkord und Ingo Zobel.
... Le principe du pollueur-payeur devient alors la pierre angulaire de la gestion du climat dans les textes internationaux. Ce faisant, il conditionne à la fois la conception des outils de coordination entre pays (taxe et marché carbone), celle des approches réglementaires pour les autorités publiques (normes, fiscalité) (Moroncini, 1998), et introduit une responsabilisation individuelle des pollueurs ou « utilisateurs » de la pollution (Maniates, 2001). Or cette représentation n'est pas sans implications. ...
... Sometimes, they are dyed and thus add a color pattern against a differently colored background. Nevertheless, the presence of microplastics in personal care products (PCPs) has led to many cautionary voices coming from scientists and policymakers alike [22] ...
Article
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In order to find out whether any toothpastes commercially available in theUnited Arab Emirates (UAE) carry microplastic content in form of plasticmicrobeads, the filterable solid contents of 31 toothpastes from UAE marketsand 2 toothpastes imported from Syria were analyzed. FT-IR studies of thesolids revealed that the major solid components were hydrated silica and cal-cium carbonate, where the individual toothpaste product exhibited either oneor the other as the dominant constituent. Titrimetric analysis of the alkalinityof the ash of the toothpastes was carried out. The solids, ashed at 600 ̊C weresubjected to FT-IR and EDS (energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopic) analysis.The ash of some of the products was shown to have TiO2 and Ca3(PO4)2 asminor components. Mostly organic dyes were used as colorants; however,iron oxide (Fe2O3) was also found. Importantly, none of the toothpastes car-ried any solid microplastic particles. Only 3 toothpastes carried microbeads atall, which were made of either silica or microcrystalline cellulose. This findingindicates that toothpastes, at least in the UAE, are no longer a significantsource of microplastic in the environment. The results were compared to atoothpaste bought through the internet with a formulation from 2014, whichexhibited polythene microplastic at 1.31 ± 0.39 w% of the filterable solid con-tent.
... Meanwhile, sustainable consumption and lifestyle politics continued to flourish as more and more individuals wanted to take responsibility in their everyday lives (de Moor and Balsiger 2019; Thörn and Svenberg 2016; for critiques of this development see e.g. Maniates 2001). Individuals were found to increasingly focus on sustainable consumption and lifestyle politics (Stolle and Micheletti 2013)especially those most skeptical about the state's ability to address environmental challenges (de Moor, Marien, and Hooghe 2017). ...
... Conversely, traceability could be critiqued for encouraging more consumption through a rebound effect where people buy more products because they are seen as sustainable ( Dauvergne, 2020 ;Schulz et al., 2019 ). Yet arguably this turns the focus of research and intervention back onto consumers and their behaviours ( Hobson et al., 2021 ) which misses the point that systemic change required for a more CE must be a collective responsibility ( Maniates, 2001 ;Korhonen et al., 2018b ). Arguably, we need further research on the responsibilities of business and organisations within that system ( Murray et al., 2017 ) because the ontological shift required to see waste packaging as an asset requires an overhaul of infrastructure and innovation in supply chains ( Lieder and Rashid, 2016 ). ...
Article
Information and communication technologies are recognised to be sufficiently mature to support traceability for reusable packaging at large scale, however, issues of data management, data integration, trust and collaboration in this complex ecosystem remain under-explored. We suggest that Digital Passports and mandatory reporting could provide a way to audit and incentivise reuse of packaging, allowing governments to focus on prevention and framing packaging as an asset, rather than inevitably turning into waste after a short single-use cycle. Digital Passports can address business’ concerns (or excuses) for not investing in reusable packaging from helping with determining affordability through measuring packaging lifespans; meeting health and safety standards through batch coding and evidencing cleaning checks; addressing reputational concerns through clear documentation on the environmental impact of reusable items; and making reusable packaging competitive through waste taxation that actually measures reuse and not weight. We explore Digital Passports, not simply as a technical intervention but as boundary objects that are useful in supporting collaboration, identifying points of miscommunication between key actors along the value change, from misconceptions of health and safety regulations to a distinction between retailers and manufacturing brands appetite for investing in reuse. Thus, we provide a solid foundation for future research on Digital Passports, the digital circular economy and reusable packaging to build.
... Nevertheless, views have long been divided on the significance of behaviour change relative to other drivers of emissions trajectories, and how best to apportion responsibility for emissions when agency to address them is so uneven (Akenji, 2014;Maniates, 2001). In empirical terms, there is little doubt that behaviour is a key site for potential change, both in terms of direct and indirect effects on emissions from households' consumer choices, where according to some estimates, they are responsible for up to 72% of GHG emissions (Hertwich & Peters, 2009). ...
Article
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Non-technical summary. Scaling sustainable behaviour change means addressing politics, power and social justice to tackle the uneven distribution of responsibility and agency for climate action, within and between societies. This requires a holistic understanding of behaviour that bridges the 'individual' and 'systemic', and acknowledges the need for absolute emissions reductions, especially by high-consuming groups, and in key 'hotspots' of polluting activity, namely, travel, diet and housing. It counters the dominant focus on individuals and households, in favour of a differentiated, but collective approach, driven by bold climate governance and social mobilisation to reorient institutions and behaviour towards just transitions, sufficiency and wellbeing. Technical summary. Sustainable behaviour change has been rising up the climate policy agenda as it becomes increasingly clear that far-reaching changes in lifestyles will be required, alongside shifts in policy, service provision and technological innovation, if we are to avoid dangerous levels of global heating. In this paper, we review different approaches to behaviour change from economics, psychology, sociology and political economy, to explore the neglected question of scalability, and identify critical points of leverage that challenge the dominant emphasis on individual responsibility. Although politically contentious and challenging to implement, in order to achieve the ambitious target of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees, we propose urgent structural interventions are necessary at all points within an ecosystem of transformation, and highlight five key spheres for action: a 'strong' sustainability pathway; pursuing just transitions (via changes to work, income and infrastructure); rebalancing political institutions to expand spaces for citizens vis-à-vis elite incumbents; focusing on high polluting actors and activities; and supporting social mobilisation. We call for a move away from linear and 'shallow' understandings of behaviour change, dominated by traditional behavioural and mainstreaming approaches, towards a 'deep', contextualised and dynamic view of scaling as a transformative process of multiple feedbacks and learning loops between individuals and systems, engaged in a mutually reinforcing 'spiral of sustainability'. Social media summary box. Scaling behaviour change means addressing power and politics: challenging polluter elites and providing affordable and sustainable services for all. © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
... On the one hand, changing consumption alone is not enough to achieve the depth of transformation necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. It has been demonstrated time and time again that focusing on individuals to change their habits and adopt more sustainable practices does not work, in part because citizens and consumers evolve in a system that precludes them from consuming the way they might want to (Maniates, 2001). And indeed, trying to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in a non-sustainable society tends to involve a lot of work, time, and energy. ...
Article
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In Western countries, moving toward more sustainable lifestyles often involves the disruption of well-established routines and habits in relation to consumption domains such as food, washing and cleaning, heating and cooling, transportation, and managing “stuff” more generally. These activities are deeply embedded in our everyday lives and often tied to care, which is the work invested in maintaining the well-being of oneself and others. In this paper, we are interested in the ways sustainable consumption and care interlock within the household, how they relate to gender inequalities, and how change toward more sustainable lifestyles can both impact and be impacted by these inequalities. With this in mind, we conducted a critical review of the academic literature by analyzing a corpus of 75 papers on household consumption and sustainability, paying particular attention to the role authors attribute to care and gender. The analysis shines light on the relational character of care and consumption, emphasizing the ways sustainable consumption is dependent on relationships within and outside the home. We suggest that care often acts as a barrier to the establishment of more sustainable consumption practice. Care work, per definition, upholds routines and habits while mobilizing the very resources that are needed to transform them. This insight invites us to rethink the role of households as a site for change. We suggest that the transition toward more sustainable consumption practices within the home relies on reducing and redistributing care work, transforming the world of work, and actively promoting an ethos of care that includes people, other beings, the material world and the planet.
... The danger of these perspectives is that they put the responsibility for successful cross-cultural adaptation on the individual without acknowledging that the extent to which people are able to acquire the 'right' skills, do the 'right' things and make the 'right' choices is constrained by social structures. Consequently, when people fail to succeed, these individualizing perspectives-either inadvertently or intentionally-blame individuals for their situations (for more on individual responsibility, see Maniates, 2001). There needs to be a recognition that social systems create inequities across individuals and groups and how these inequities influence migrants' capacity to achieve positive outcomes. ...
Article
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Although it is widely accepted that acculturative processes are influenced by social systems, most studies focus on individual level determinants of acculturation (e.g., behaviours, psychological mechanisms, interpersonal/intergroup processes) in isolation from the social conditions of people’s lives. In this article, first I provide a critical analysis of individualizing perspectives using the example of ageing and life course accumulation of disadvantage among migrants. Following this, I offer an alternative approach to studying the determinants of acculturative processes and adaptation. Borrowing from the public health literature, I introduce social determinants of health, also known as the causes of the causes. I highlight that deeply entrenched inequities in societies create the conditions for acculturation. Social structures pattern how migrants acculturate, whether they achieve positive outcomes, and the relationship between acculturative processes and cross-cultural adaptation. Finally, I offer some thoughts on advancing our empirical approach to acculturation by incorporating social determinants, such as inequities in socioeconomic position, along with individual level determinants into our models and interpretations.
... Actors Involved Considers the individual as the main agent of sustainable consumption Evans and Leighton (1989), Maniates (2001) Presents a systemic perspective in which different actors and aspects are involved in achieving true change Lorek et al, (2015), Vergragt et al. (2014) Assigns a burden and contradictory role to the individual: maintaining economic growth while driving the system towards sustainable models Akenji (2014) Consumption behavioral changes are dependent on consumer plus on highly interdependent sociotechnical networks or systems of provision, including several actors in the value chain, regulators, and other stakeholders as well, like NGOs [1] and IGOs [2] Akenji (2014), Chappells and Shove (2005), Fuchs and Lorek (2005) - ...
Article
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The concept of sustainable consumption has been described in the literature from different perspectives, but few have focused on defining the consumer perspective and strategies to appropriate this knowledge and behaviors in the classroom, which becomes a major challenge in times of Covid 19 and confinement. This article proposes an approach to the concept by university students from the implementation of a pedagogical strategy, which involved the implementation of a virtual learning community and the evaluation of the understanding of this concept through the use of mind maps (pre and post). Through the mind maps, data were collected to evaluate the understanding of the concept, the analysis of semantic richness and systemic complexity. The results show the associations established by the students, proposing a categorization system arising from the data and the previous literature review. The study concludes that the students broadened their vision of sustainable consumption in terms of the actors involved, consumption decisions and the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability.
... On this note, some argue that the individualization of the reduction of CO 2 emissions has been a deliberate move by certain industries (Supran & Oreskes, 2021). Furthermore, the individualization of responsibility to act in line with sustainability goals limits the citizen to the role of the consumer and lets governments and businesses off the hook (Maniates, 2001). This criticism of individualization of responsibility is not further discussed within this working paper. ...
Research
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This working paper summarizes some behavioral (change) models that could be connected to sustainability transition themes. The intention was to provide this short overview as a starting point for researchers who do not have a background in behavioral science, but who aim to include behavioral science perspectives to sustainability transition research, including the energy transition.
... The propagation of a neoliberal and consumption-focused DSP has had several consequences with regard to the welfare of humans and nature. Deregulation combined with the focus on freedom and individualism has led to use of nature as a mere source of resources without sufficient legal protection against overexploitation, and the individualization of responsibility in which the consumer is often ultimately held responsible for environmental problems (Maniates 2001). The goal of the economic system is to increase markets and economic growth and, thus, an increase in overall consumption and profits (Morales et al. 2014, Barnhart andMish 2017). ...
Article
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How a society relates to nature is shaped by the dominant social paradigm (DSP): a society’s collective view on social, economic, political, and environmental issues. The characteristics of the DSP have important consequences for natural systems and their conservation. Based on a synthesis of academic literature, we provide a new gradient of 12 types of human-nature relationships synthesized from scientific literature, and an analysis of where the DSP of industrialized, and more specifically, neoliberal societies fit on that gradient. We aim to answer how the industrialized DSP relates to nature, i.e., what types of human-nature relationships this DSP incorporates, and what the consequences of these relationships are for nature conservation and a sustainable future. The gradient of human-nature relationships is based on three defining characteristics: (1) a nature-culture divide, (2) core values, and (3) being anthropocentric or ecocentric. We argue that the industrialized DSP includes elements of the anthropocentric relationships of mastery, utilization, detachment, and stewardship. It therefore regards nature and culture as separate, is mainly driven by instrumental values, and drives detachment from and commodification of nature. Consequently, most green initiatives and policies driven by an industrializedand neoliberal DSP are based on economic incentives and economic growth, without recognition of the needs and limits of natural systems. This leads to environmental degradation and social inequality, obstructing the path to a truly sustainable society. To reach a more ecocentric DSP, systemic changes, in addition to individual changes, in the political and economic structures of the industrialized
... In slight tension with the overall message that politicians should take responsibility, the youngest protesters are the most likely to articulate solutions that emphasize individual responsibility. It is not clear whether to interpret this as a preference for 'Do-It-Ourselves' politics (Pickard, 2019), the result of neoliberal governmentality (Kyroglou & Henn, 2020), or a product of school curricula that stress individual lifestyle choices to address environmental problems (Maniates, 2001). Somewhat surprisingly, higher education shows no significant effect on prognostic framing. ...
Article
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Since August 2018, Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future have captured the attention of the world by mobilizing millions of young students as well as adults to join their climate strikes. The movement has stressed the urgency of global warming and urged politicians to listen to science and take action. The collective action framing has thus been broad and inclusive, but correspondingly vague in terms of its demands. It is therefore pertinent to explore what climate strikers believe should be done to address climate change. By analysing responses to an open survey question posed to participants in the climate strikes in March and September 2019 from Stockholm, Malmö, Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Florence and Brussels, this article uses a mixed-methods approach to investigate prognostic framing in the European climate movement. Distinguishing between two dimensions of projected change—its character and its main agents—this study re-conceptualizes the common distinction between institutionalist and anti-institutionalist approaches as a split between top-down and bottom-up as well as the system change and system development types of prognostic framing. While top-down change within the current system is identified as the most common prognostic frame, considerable numbers of survey respondents instead stress individual lifestyle changes. A bottom-up change of the system to address global warming is somewhat surprisingly more likely to be articulated by middle-aged respondents than by youths. The latter frame also receives disproportionate support from the most left-leaning participants, which demonstrates the continued relevance of the left–right dimension in green politics.
... Engaging in everyday environmentally friendly behaviour, even at the collective level, has been interpreted by some scholars as a form of depoliticisation (Thörn and Svenberg 2016;Blühdorn 2017), while others have stressed the deeply political nature of such actions (Schlosberg 2019). The debate surrounding the individualisation of responsibility as an effect of neoliberalism and as a threat to successful environmental action (Maniates 2001) has echoes in the climate justice movement itself (de Moor, Catney and Doherty 2021). ...
... Of course, "the world's population" will not live climate-neutral overnight, but the student's statement could reflect the wish to act in a social community instead of feeling bad because of individual climate-damaging behavior. These findings gain importance in light of the previous literature, which suggest that environmental education has been limited to promoting individualistic behavior lifestyle changes [43,84,85]. In this regard, Niebert [40] argued that ESD has to focus on fostering political education and "relieve educators from approaches aiming-usually unsuccessfully-at changes in behaviour" [40] (p. ...
Article
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Climate change education (CCE) can play an essential role in pushing forward a climate-just transition. However, educational institutions seem to be challenged to equip students and their prospective teachers with what is necessary for them to become multipliers for climate action. This study aims to provide actionable insights on how to harness the untapped potential of CCE, overcome obstacles, and draw conclusions on which adaptations are necessary to improve current CCE settings. We conducted a qualitative questionnaire study using the example of 80 secondary school students (grade 12) and 18 pre-service teachers (PSTs). The results indicated that both cohorts feel inadequately prepared for their role as possible “change agents”, stating that climate change as a topic is given too little time, engagement with practical examples on taking climate action is inadequate, and a superficial examination of the topic takes place. Students as well as PSTs as change agents are not sufficiently supported by educational institutions to exercise their transformative potential due to numerous identified challenges that have to be confronted at a systemic level. Results indicate that especially teacher training programs need to increasingly focus on the professional development of educators in this field.
... 94. Si les deux premiers arguments -à supposer que les sacs en papier remplacent les sacs en plastique au taux de 1 pour 1 -sont effectivement vrais, ce dernier argument mis en avant par les industriels peut, lui, vraiment prêter à sourire... » 95 (Maniates, 2001). Troisième axe enfin, le recyclage est régulièrement mis en avant grâce à des campagnes de publicité, au détriment des stratégies de réduction. ...
Thesis
Cette thèse étudie les liens entre la finance et le dérèglement climatique. La première partie s’intéresse aux risques financiers induit par le changement climatique et les façons de s’y adapter. Ces risques sont désormais classiquement divisés en deux catégories : les risques physiques et de transition. C’est à ce dernier en particulier que nous nous intéressons. Nous verrons dans une première partie que la stratégie largement préconisée à intention des institutions financières aujourd’hui, l’établissement de scénarios, présente certains écueils difficilement surmontables dans leur mise en pratique. Ces scénarios sont en effet généralement globaux, souffrent d’incertitudes radicales et reposent de surcroît sur des hypothèses qui impliquent des modifications (réglementaires, légales, de comportement…) qui dépassent les institutions financières. Une fois cette première analyse menée, nous émettons ensuite une hypothèse quant aux hypothèses sous-jacentes qui ont pu donner lieu à ces recommandations. Dans une seconde partie, nous proposons une autre approche, fondée sur l’analyse risque-pays, qui prend en compte les dimensions sociologiques, géopolitique et technique de la transition. Deux études de cas sont menées pour illustrer notre propos, dont les conclusions sont ensuite généralisées.Enfin, nous étudions la façon dont les régulateurs pourraient s’emparer de notre proposition, et discuterons les autres possibilités de régulation aujourd’hui dans le débat public.La seconde partie s’intéresse au financement de la transition. Après un rapide survol des différentes estimations des besoins aujourd’hui disponible, nous présentons une proposition originale de garanties publiques internationales dont le but est de réorienter à grande échelle les flux financiers vers les besoins en investissements bas carbone. Enfin, nous présentons les instruments de la finance durable privée aujourd’hui disponibles, et soulignons l’importance des processus de certification aux moyens d’un modèle.
... While this starts by acknowledging that "obesity prevalence is highest amongst the most deprived groups in society", expressing concerns about ethnic inequalities and recognising environmental factors in the form of the advertising and marketing of unhealthy food (Department of Health and Social Care 2020), the headline of the campaign is the offer of tools to provide individuals with advice on how to lose weight. In neo liberal societies the tendency for sustainability initiatives to focus on individual behaviour change rather than the structural factors which constrain or facilitate sustainable living is well rehearsed (Maniates 2001;Shove 2010), but is particularly easy to spot in the example of healthy eating. ...
Article
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Fast food seems unequivocally at odds with any moves towards more sustainable food consumption. It is identified as a major contributor to obesity, health inequalities, and to environmental impacts through its production and distribution. However, this problematisation of fast food ignores its contribution to understandings of “living well”, particularly for young people. This paper draws on data from an international project which explores how young people understand what makes for living well in cities. We focus on research with young people in Lambeth, London, exploring the role of food – specifically fast food practices – in their constructions of living well. Drawing on focus group interviews and photo diaries with young people aged 12–24, we highlight the enthusiasm inherent in discussions of fast food whereby it is constructed as easily accessible, inexpensive and attractive, whilst affording young people a degree of autonomy and agency. Fast food outlets are regarded as friendly, convenient, and safe social spaces, in a context where austerity cuts have reduced access to spaces specifically for young people. Further, consumption of fast food facilitates and legitimises young people’s use of local streets and green spaces. Thus practices of fast food consumption might be understood to contribute to the ability to “live well” from the perspective of young residents. Making fast food less accessible to young people may be part of obesity and sustainable food strategies, but a broader wellbeing strategy is needed which is informed by understanding the valued social practices fast food currently affords young people.
... Though some blowback was anticipated before the pandemic, expert opinion was divided on how great a threat the public's reaction might pose to successful intervention. Nevertheless, there is no reason to limit collective action to institutions, as non-state actors can work outside of conventional systems to offer coordinated responses, and there is at least some reason to believe that a well-coordinated response will still fare better at achieving desired outcomes than the more haphazard response that is demanded by conscious consumerist efforts (Brownstein et al., 2021;Hale, 2020;Maniates, 2001. ...
Article
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Recent work in applied ethics has advanced a raft of arguments regarding individual responsibilities to address collective challenges like climate change or the welfare and environmental impacts of meat production. Frequently, such arguments suggest that individual actors have a responsibility to be more conscientious with their consumption decisions, that they can and should harness the power of the market to bring about a desired outcome. A common response to these arguments, and a challenge in particular to act-consequentialist reasoning, is that it “makes no difference” if one takes conscious consumption action or not – that one is “causally impotent” to change an outcome. In this paper, I break causal impotence objections into three distinct lines of argument and present causal indeterminacy as a third, unexplored variation of much more common causal impotence lines. I suggest that the causal indeterminacy argument presents additional challenges to consequentialist moral theory because it acknowledges that individual actions can have an impact on outcome, but suggests instead that the outcome can neither be known nor secured by the action itself.
... "It's not how much carbon you use," he writes, "but what you do with it that counts." Huber (2017) also criticizes a focus on the emissions of individuals (see, also, Maniates, 2001). Employing a Marxist lens, he takes the critique in a different direction, however, suggesting that scrutiny of individual (and implicitly, by extension, institutional) consumption frames people as atomized consumers, thus undermining a needed, collective and confrontational struggle with capital. ...
Article
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From “flight shame” or flying consciousness to Stay Grounded and FlyingLess, calls for, and organized efforts to achieve, a marked decrease in flying in response to intensifying climate crisis abound. Of particular concern are frequent flyers, among whom are many in academia, especially in the high-income parts of the world. One manifestation is the proliferation of scholarship that critically analyzes academic flying while advocating for slower forms of travel, new forms of research and collaboration, and a low-greenhouse-gas-emitting academy more broadly. This conceptual article builds on that scholarship by engaging the growing literature calling for the decolonization of higher education institutions and the broader world. In doing so, and by attempting to bring into conversation two currently disconnected streams of literature, it explores how academic air travel both reflects and helps to reproduce patterns of colonial relations. Relatedly, the article considers how flying less contributes to the decolonization of higher education—especially in relation to “nature” and the appropriation of “the commons.” By insisting on the inextricable entanglement of society and nature, it thus illuminates how aeromobility-related consumption both arises from and reproduces persistent inequities born of imperialism and coloniality. On this basis, the article pushes advocates of reduced flying and of decolonization to engage one another in a common project to challenge disparities between peoples and places, as well as interspecies ones, as they relate to aeromobility, consumption, and political ecology.
... Additionally, many studies in the literature have questioned the efficacy of these food redistribution and food recycling solutions in improving the overall sustainability of food systems [61,62]. It is argued that these solutions result in the individualization of responsibility that depoliticizes food loss and waste issues and takes focus away from overconsumption and institutional thinking, subsequently undermining our ability to react effectively to these issues [63][64][65]. ...
Article
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Given that about 40% of the total food produced globally is lost or wasted, there is an urgent need to understand what, where, why and how much food waste is generated. In this study, we collected the much-needed primary empirical data from the restaurants, hotels and caterers of Lahore, Pakistan through surveys and live tracking/diaries. Specifically, two key performance indicators, waste per customer (g) and percentage waste per day (%), were measured. Waste per customer was found to be 79.9 g (survey) and 73.4 g (live tracking) for restaurants, 138.4 g for hotels and 140.0 g for caterers. Similarly, the percentage of waste per day (%) was found to be 15% (survey) and 17% (live tracking) for restaurants. Results revealed that customer plate leftovers were reported to be the primary source of food waste, followed by inaccurate customer forecasting. Given the food waste levels identified in this study, the development and adoption of a national goal and target aimed at food waste reduction could usefully guide the efforts of all stakeholders. To achieve this, we need to build the capacity of all the relevant stakeholders on food loss and waste measurements and ensure national food waste reporting.
... Neo-Foucauldian in approach, this scholarship has focused on the ways that ethical consumer discourses 'responsibilise' action on social justice and environmental concerns, and are broadly illustrative of a neoliberal governmentality that has limited our ability to imagine remedies beyond consumer behaviour nudges. Analyses of environmentalism (Maniates 2001), recycling (Jones 2010), plastic bag bans (Hawkins 2009), food activism (Guthman 2009), locavores (Blue 2009) and many other ethical consumer trends, have examined how we, as individuals, are constantly called upon to care for the planet and to take personal responsibility for our unsustainable lifestyles and destructive consumer choices. In this study, I move from the more familiar ethical consumer terrain of plastic bags, sweatshop labour and factory farming to a seemingly very different domain-the consumption of art, popular culture and commercial media. ...
Article
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We are witnessing an era of increased intensity of consumer activism (and its discontents) within the arts, cultural and media industries. Ethical, radical, activist and even ‘woke’ consumer interests are now actively catered to across almost all goods and services, from food, fashion and fast-moving consumer goods to tourism, transport and finance. The aim of this paper is to analyse another field where these practices have recently focussed – the media and cultural industries. Drawing on interviews with 20 self-identified feminist and ethical consumers, this article examines how hyperconscious ethical consumption of cultural and media content is lived out and experienced as careful consumption. How are these careful audience activities described, rationalised and understood by the interview participants? What deliberative processes do they undertake and how does that guide them to certain conclusions about what media, art and culture they are willing to watch or not, where they draw the line, and why? This article shows how perceptions of consumer choice, responsibility and culpability are being channelled into an aspirational ethics, involving forms of self-improvement, self-care and self-control such as screening and filtering content, ‘cancelling’ and boycotting media, and attempts to correct, optimise and diversify our tastes and interests.
... In der Soziologie und darüber hinaus existieren einige Stimmen, die öffentliche Debatten um Umweltbewusstsein und Umwelthandeln sowie entsprechende Forschung zu diesen Themen kritisch kommentieren. Hierbei wird hauptsächlich argumentiert, dass der Ruf nach umweltgerechterem Denken und Handeln in der Bevölkerung dazu führt, dass die Verantwortung für Umweltschutz und Umweltzerstörung von Industrie und Politik auf Bürger*innen verlagert wird und sich Industrie und Politik so teilweise argumentativ von der Last dieser Verantwortung befreien (Maniates 2001). Die Problematik nicht nachhaltiger Wirtschaftsstrukturen und Politiken wird somit ausgeblendet. ...
Book
What role do patterns of thinking and consumption, innovations and infrastructures play both in the emergence of environmental problems and in the way society deals with them? How do environmental attitudes and risk perceptions differ between social groups? And how does all this relate to the diagnosis that the relationship to nature in modern societies is not sustainable? Based on these questions, the introduction to environmental sociology explains what the ecological crisis means from a sociological perspective. It introduces the central questions and theories of environmental sociology and discusses what contribution the discipline can make to overcoming the challenges of the Anthropocene.
... Every year, trillions of plastics containing microbeads still continue to find their way into sewage treatment systems and from there to rivers, lakes, and oceans, ending up in zooplankton, coral, shellfish, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals (Browne et al. 2011;Eriksen et al. 2014;Desforges et al. 2015;Rochman et al. 2015). An implementation of a global legislation on microplastic in cosmetics was delayed (Maniates 2001;Dauvergne and Lister 2012;Borrelle et al. 2017;Raubenheimer and McIlgorm 2017;Simon 2016). Nevertheless, with the potential harms coming from microplastics, legislation has been put in place in some countries to partially or fully ban the primary production, sale, and use of plastic microbeads-containing products, with some levies raised, both nationally and regionally (Xanthos and Walker 2017). ...
Article
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Plastic microbeads in cosmetic products are considered one of the main contributors of primary microplastic pollution in aquatic environments. To assess the trends of microplastic usage in rinse-off cosmetic products over the last 3 years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 163 body scrub and face wash products were randomly selected and purchased from different UAE markets over a period of two (2019 and 2020) consecutive years as a continuation of our study of such products in 2018. Microbeads were extracted from the products and their composition was determined. The comparative analysis of the products revealed the presence of microplastic content in fewer products in 2019 and 2020 than to 2018. The results revealed that some of the products that contained microplastic in 2018 still have them in 2020. However, no new products were found on the market that contained microplastic. Overall, fewer products contained microbeads of any composition. Also, the consumer awareness, preferences, and behavior towards microplastic use in personal care products was assessed through a survey 2020 that complemented a survey carried out in 2018. An increasing awareness among the surveyed general public was noted regarding microplastic use in cosmetics and its adverse effects to the environment. The study indicates that an increasing global legislation is effective to curtail the use of microplastic containing microbeads in personal care products by replacing them with beads of alternative composition or avoiding the use of microbeads altogether. Nevertheless, products having microplastic content in the UAE were found to be imported or manufactured by companies based in countries where microplastic usage in personal care products has already been banned by law.
... There have been efforts in recent years to distinguish what is called "strong sustainable consumption" from other variants, whereby a weaker version would entail, for example, small acts of consumerism, such as buying greener products in a marketplace of possibilities (Fuchs and Lorek 2005;Lorek and Fuchs 2019). Such weaker approaches have been criticized as forms of consumer scapegoatism (Akenji 2014) or as overindividualizing responsibility via consumers (Maniates 2001). This relates to action-impact gaps and rebound effects: for the former, studies demonstrate that even if people are able to act on their best intentions when it comes to sustainable consumption, the actual outcomes of these efforts might be negligible in environmental terms. ...
Article
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As a salutogenic concept, “consumption corridors” aims to support what is necessary for sustainable wellbeing to be achieved in relation to the Earth system, with a deep consideration for justice and equity. Living in consumption corridors is a representation of everyday life whereby people live within limits, so that all people–now and in the future–can access what is needed to live a good life. In this special issue, a series of scholars and practitioners have come together to further develop the concept, engage with its methodological implications, and relate it to consumption domains and policy implications. We begin by introducing how the concept emerged, in relation to the complexity of grappling with the societal transformations required for achieving more sustainable forms of consumption. We then present the different contributions, which demonstrate the importance of considering both maximum and minimum consumption standards, the relevance of human-need theories, as well as the difference between achieving wellbeing and the means necessary for doing so. We conclude by opening up to areas that merit further deliberation: how to relate consumption corridors to everyday-life dynamics, but also to the critical question of power relations at play in implementing consumption corridors. © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the University of Geneva.
... Instead of reifying white-settler states as blameless, and entrenching identity-based inequalities along the lines of sexuality, race, gender, class, ability, and other subjectivities in environmental education (McLean 2013), adopting an anti-racist stance helps position students and educators alike with a more cohesive understanding of the system of racial capitalism. By highlighting the industries and structural forces that underpin many environmental problems, the "timid environmentalism" rooted in misguided tropes of individual responsibility for environmental harm (Fang 2021;Maniates 2001) can be replaced with a more activist-oriented, lucid, and ultimately impactful learning experience. ...
Article
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Many academic disciplines are presently striving to reveal and dismantle structures of domination by working to reform and reimagine their curricula, and the ethics and values that underpin classroom settings. This trend is impelled by momentum from the Black Lives Matter movement in tandem with a worldwide call from Indigenous scholars and their allies for more equality in research and epistemological plurality. We contribute to such efforts through applying perspective and analysis concerning anti-racist and decolonized approaches to teaching environmental studies and sciences (ESS). This article discusses the opportunities and challenges of embracing a decolonized and anti-racist approach with an emphasis on courses in higher education in North America. We conclude with guidance for educators about strategies for incorporating such approaches.
Chapter
Nudging and individual behavior change are among the most dominant approaches for addressing the climate crisis. This chapter reviews the literature on nudging and the climate crisis, pointing out the criticisms that have been made of the nudging approach. Rather than reject nudging, the chapter argues that nudging should be recognized as a theory of the importance of informal learning for addressing the climate crisis. To incorporate nudging into a broader model of education for radical social change, and retain its insights and advantages while challenging its more problematic elements, the chapter argues that it is helpful to link nudging with lessons from the critical sociology of education and the concept of the hidden curriculum, and from progressive education, that makes use of a wide hange of holistic, experiential and practical approaches to learning.
Article
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The concept of sustainable consumption is a much debated practice that has been seen as an outcome of the emergence of ecological citizenship —a concept that brings together the citizen and the environment in a framework that is underlined by social justice considerations and incorporates a vision of citizenship that involves both the private sphere and the public sphere of human activity. This study examines Canadian consumer awareness and uptake of certified sustainable seafood. We introduce the concepts ecological citizenship and sustainable consumption as a way of framing our research. Seafood ecolabels may be a valuable tool in translating general environmental concern about the marine environment into more sustainable fisheries practices. We conducted an on-site consumer survey in the Greater Toronto Area and a nearby city. Our findings showed that in contrast to high levels of awareness of the importance of the marine environment and the sustainability of seafood, consumers had a limited understanding about the meaning of sustainability in the case of seafood, and little knowledge about actual ecolabels found in the Canadian marketplace. Attitudes towards the marine environment and sustainable seafood, understanding of the meaning of seafood sustainability, and purchasing behaviors of sustainable seafood were significantly different by some socio-demographic characteristics. Positive attitudes towards the marine environment and sustainable seafood and better understanding of seafood sustainability were significantly associated with the increased purchasing of ecolabeled seafood. Lack of understanding of ecolabels, limited information about product sustainability, and lack of in-store guidance were identified as key barriers to purchasing ecolabeled seafood products.
Chapter
This chapter considers the central role of self interest in developing effective climate crisis education, a role that is all too often overlooked and avoided, not just in climate change education but in social justice education more generally. The chapter critiques the ways in which climate change education and action have often been shaped by post-political discourse and a “win-win” framing. It then turns to the work of Saul Alinsky and community organizing, democratic education and consciousness raising, and critical pedagogy as being vital and complementary traditions that each emphasize, in different ways, the importance of putting concerns with self interest at the center of social justice education and action projects.
Chapter
This chapter considers the significance of hope, fear and other emotions for developing effective climate crisis education. This includes examining both problems with invocations of climate hope; but also worries about the possible harmful effects that fear, panic and anxiety in relation to the climate crisis are claimed to have. The chapter suggest that one way out of these conflicts is to return to the theory and practice of a “pedagogy of hope,” that is most closely associated with Paulo Freire, but has a long history as a core component of education projects committed to radical social transformation among leftist, feminist and anti-racist activists and educators.
Chapter
Formal education is often associated with a “taking out of place.” Environmental education, by contrast, embraces place as pivotal to developing effective education that can address environmental degradation and crisis, including the global climate crisis. However, there is considerable disagreement on how exactly place is important in education, and how place should be addressed within educational practice. To develop an effective engagement with place in climate change education, there is a need not just to understand the arguments for why a focus on place in education is important; but also the critiques of invocations of place in educational theory and practice. Place can be pivotal in climate change education, but only when considered within broader political, historical and global geographical contexts, and when relationships of reciprocity between human practice and experience, and nature and the non-human, are carefully and critically interrogated.
Chapter
This chapter explores claims made about the potential of children and young people to change society to address the climate crisis. It argues that to think through the actual and potential roles that children and young people are playing and could play in climate change activism, there is a need to reflect critically on dominant ideologies of childhood and climate action or agency; and acknowledge both the possibilities and limitations of child and youth power in relation to broader social and economic structures. There is also a need to look beyond a focus on children and youth, and consider the relationships and roles that adults and older generations have developed in support of politically engaged children and young people.
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This paper draws on Deborah Britzman's conceptualisation of 'difficult knowledge' and Michael Rothberg's figure of 'the implicated subject' to advance a Social Ecology of Responsibility Framework (SERF) in relation to the climate crisis.This framework demonstrates the impossibility of disarticulating individual, private actions that contribute to the ecological crisis from state-corporate climate related harms. While not discounting differences of scale between individual actions and state-corporate crimes, the article highlights difficulties with binaristic approaches to climate responsibility which privilege either personal actions or macro-level norms, practices and ideologies. Foregrounding self-implication, the model serves as a basis for establishing transnational and transgenera-tional solidarity with human and other-than-human lifeforms who inhabit the Earth. The paper concludes with some examples of visual images and accompanying activities that can be used to prompt critical reflection on one's own positioning as an implicated subject and as a change agent who can contribute to the ameliora-tion of global warming.
Article
What are the cultural politics of what becomes recognised as sustainable consumption and consequently good environmental citizenship? And how does this contour who is able to participate in urban environmental politics? In this article, I draw on Bourdieusian theories of distinction to explore the links between (sustainable) consumption, moral authority and participation in environmental politics in Bangalore, India. I re-theorise the term performative environmentalism to argue that when the new middle classes successfully claim cultural authority over sustainable consumption, it obscures the daily environmental practices of the poor in a manner that further disenfranchises their already tenuous right to the city and its environments. This analysis connects the study of consumption practices to scholarship on just sustainabilities by exploring the relational poverty and class politics of sustainable consumption. By focusing on how sustainability and poverty discourses articulate with each other, I show that performative environmentalism exacerbates the exclusion of the working poor from participation in environmental politics by reinforcing class inequalities, restigmatising poverty and monopolising ecological legitimacy for higher status groups. Doing so, I connect cultural and practice-based studies of green consumption to broader questions about how inequality is reproduced in neoliberalising cities through everyday practices.
Article
Using techniques from big data to decode Big Oil’s climate change propaganda.
Technical Report
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Este ensayo se compone de dos capítulos sustantivos, además de una introducción y un capítulo de comentarios finales. En la sección 2 se problematiza la noción de consumo de bienes y servicios en la economía capitalista contemporánea, con el fin de proporcionar elementos para un análisis crítico de las prácticas actuales del consumo. Con este propósito, se busca integrar las prácticas del consumo a la cultura material y cotidiana de las sociedades, y los tiempos asociados. En la sección 3, más empírica, se plantea la complejidad de los objetivos de mitigación de los determinantes del cambio climático, como el límite planetario, que demanda la atención más urgente. Las responsabilidades individuales de los consumidores son contrapuestas a las responsabilidades colectivas de accionistas y directivos de las grandes corporaciones multinacionales. Finalmente, a la luz de las reflexiones de las secciones anteriores, se plantean algunas de las cuestiones relevantes para el consumo en un proyecto de transición hacia sociedades más justas, más solidarias y con políticas efectivas para salvaguardar las fuentes de vida del planeta.
Book
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ASC2021/FALL II. International Academician Studies Congress 22-24 Ekim/October 2021 Bildiriler/Proceedings
Book
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ASC2021/FALL II. International Academician Studies Congress 22-24 Ekim/October 2021 Bildiriler/Proceedings
Book
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This book follows the successful titles “The Colourful and the Green: Chapters on Voluntary Simplicity” and “The Half-Hearted and the Hesitant: Chapters on Ecological Luxury.” The author poses the question of why, at a time of continuing devastation of nature, people’s interest in nature conservation has been decreasing. Are the media to blame or is our numbness toward ecological problems rooted in our mental makeup that tends to supress unpleasant realities? The author also wants to find out why some people have remained faithful to nature. To get to the answers, she applies sociological, philosophical, psychological, and theological perspectives. An unexpected question that may surprise some readers then becomes: Actually, why should we protect nature when it can take care of itself? It is not weak; it is strong and cruel. Librová’s students Vojtěch Pelikán, Lucie Galčanová, and Lukáš Kala interview the children of “the Colourful,” too: have they inherited their parents’ modest lifestyle?
Article
Health promotion has long recognized the ecological determinants of health, underscoring the interconnections between planetary health, economic systems and human health. Despite calls for synergy across them, these domains are governed by fundamentally divergent paradigms leading to unaddressed conceptual and institutional gaps. Sustainability, meanwhile, is reduced to personal responsibility and behaviour change. This qualitative research explores ecological determinants through a focus on sustainable consumption in the under-researched context of the global south where rapid modernization has profoundly impacted the natural environment. The article uses the theoretical framework of ‘practice’—namely, the social routines, values, conventions and norms that drive consumption—to critically examine everyday household sustainable consumption in India’s southern state of Kerala. The findings show that in most households, sustainability is a health promotion practice. People practice sustainability fundamentally for its beneficial health outcomes. However, the institutional structures set up in favour of economic development continue to dominate society and is the paradigm that contextualizes everyday social life for consumers. The findings suggest that the practice of sustainable consumption is complex and caught in the space that is neither ‘upstream’ or ‘downstream’; instead, the focus on the ‘mid-stream’ reveals complex calculations that go into everyday negotiation of healthy living.
Article
During times of upheaval, supporting stability, health and wellbeing on all levels is essential. While literature regarding ‘therapeutic landscapes’ has burgeoned over the last 30 years, to date no studies have considered the therapeutic potential of embodied contemplative practices (CP), such as yoga and meditation, within the most accessible, ordinary environment – the body at home. Equally, the field of mobilities appears to have overlooked the spiritual and political nature of these deliberately immobilising acts of resistance. Our paper draws on narrative data collected over the course of three months of daily CP. We interpret the resulting autoethnography through thematic analysis. We conclude that within a fast-paced, hyper-connected world, CPs can be a therapeutic counterpoint, connecting health and place by nurturing an appreciation for the immaterial, interdependent aspects of life.
Article
Fossil fuel companies hold enormous political, economic, and knowledge production power. Recently, industry operators have pivoted from pushing climate denialism to campaigns aimed at individualizing responsibility for climate crisis. In this paper, we focus on one related outcome of such efforts – people’s experiences of complicity – here in the context of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) production. We ask: How do mobilized activists experience fossil fuel scapegoating, and what does it mean for their goals as they organize against UOG production? We show that even activists fighting UOG production feel complicit in fossil fuel production, and these feelings of complicity diminish their demands for UOG accountability. We argue that these outcomes have been especially pernicious in cultural contexts like that of the United States, where neoliberal ideologies are normalized, centering personal responsibility, individualization, and identification as consumers rather than citizens. We marshal an extensive qualitative dataset and advance a theory of complicity as a way to understand: a) how social movements intersect with neoliberalized patterns of life; b) how experiences of complicity affect activism; and c) how this may contribute to fossil fuel firms’ goals of undercutting organizing. We end by examining how a sub-set of activists works to dismantle this complicity narrative.
Article
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This paper argues that individuals in many high-income countries typically have moral reasons to limit their beef consumption and consume plant-based protein instead, given the negative effects of beef production and consumption. Beef production is a significant source of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts, high levels of beef consumption are associated with health risks, and some cattle production systems raise animal welfare concerns. These negative effects matter, from a variety of moral perspectives, and give us collective moral reasons to reduce beef production and consumption. But, as some ethicists have argued, we cannot draw a straight line from the ethics of production to the ethics of consumption: even if a production system is morally impermissible, this does not mean that any given individual has moral reasons to stop consuming the products of that system, given how miniscule one individual's contributions are. This paper considers how to connect those dots. We consider three distinct lines of argument in support of the conclusion that individuals have moral reasons to limit their beef consumption and shift to plant-based protein, and we consider objections to each argument. This argument applies to individuals in high beef-consuming and high greenhouse gas-emitting high-income countries, though we make this argument with a specific focus on the United States. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s41055-022-00100-8.
Article
Background: Human activities have changed the environment so profoundly over the past two centuries that human-induced climate change is now posing serious health-related threats to current and future generations. Rapid action from all scientific fields, including behavioral medicine, is needed to contribute to both mitigation of, and adaption to, climate change. Purpose: This article aims to identify potential bi-directional associations between climate change impacts and health-related behaviors, as well as a set of key actions for the behavioral medicine community. Methods: We synthesized the existing literature about (i) the impacts of rising temperatures, extreme weather events, air pollution, and rising sea level on individual behaviors (e.g., eating behaviors, physical activity, sleep, substance use, and preventive care) as well as the structural factors related to these behaviors (e.g., the food system); and (ii) the concurrent positive and negative roles that health-related behaviors can play in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Results: Based on this literature review, we propose a first conceptual model of climate change and health-related behavior feedback loops. Key actions are proposed, with particular consideration for health equity implications of future behavioral interventions. Actions to bridge the fields of behavioral medicine and climate sciences are also discussed. Conclusions: We contend that climate change is among the most urgent issues facing all scientists and should become a central priority for the behavioral medicine community.
Article
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The evolution of national environmental organizations over the past two decades is analyzed, with special attention given to the major organizations that engage in lobbying. The rapid growth experienced by the older organizations and the emergence and subsequent growth of several newer organizations are described. An overview of the activities of these national organizations (including a description of their relationships with one another) is given. Next, the high level of public support for their goals, the unique characteristics of environmental issues, and the efficacy of direct mail recruitment techniques are highlighted as key causes of the organizations’ growth and success. Finally, the organizational consequences of these trends, in the form of staff professionalization and bureaucratization, for the national organizations are examined in some detail.
Article
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Would halving total carbon emissions stop global warming? Policymakers are eager for scientists to give them definite answers to such questions, but many environmental problems are so complex that they preclude clear-cut answers. Environmentalists have urged policymakers to adhere to the 'precautionary principle' when addressing environmental problems with uncertain but potentially dire impacts. They have also lobbied for policies that make polluters pay for environmental cleanups. The '4P' approach proposed here shows how policymakers might deal with uncertainty by applying both the precautionary and the 'polluter pays' principles.
Article
Government subsidies toward activities like logging, mining, overfishing, and driving contribute to environmental problems ranging from deforestation to air and water pollution. The money ultimately comes from consumers and taxpayers, effectively increasing taxes on work, investment, and consumption that discourage these very activities, thus placing additional drag on economies. Yet governments rarely set out to degrade the environment and waste money when they create these subsidies. Rather, they usually justify them as stimulating economic development, protecting jobs, enhancing national security, or helping the poor. In practice, however, few of these subsidies do much good on their own terms and at reasonable cost. Most are obsolete, inefficient, ineffective, or even self-defeating. The case for comprehensive reform is thus compelling. It will make subsidies work better, cut taxes, result in cleaner air and water, and cause a shift from pollution- to labour-intensive industries.
Article
A recent history replete with compromise and capitulation has pushed a once promising and effective political movement to the brink of irrelevance.So states Mark Dowie in this provocative critique of the mainstream American environmental movement. Dowie, the prolific award-winning journalist who broke the stories on the Dalkon Shield and on the Ford Pinto, delivers an insightful, informative, and often damning account of the movement many historians and social commentators at one time expected to be this century's most significant. He unveils the inside stories behind American environmentalism's undeniable triumphs and its quite unnecessary failures.Dowie weaves a spellbinding tale, from the movement's conservationist origins as a handful of rich white men's hunting and fishing clubs, through its evolution in the 1960s and 1970s into a powerful political force that forged landmark environmental legislation, enforced with aggressive litigation, to the strategy of "third wave" political accommodation during the Reagan and Bush years that led to the evisceration of many earlier triumphs, up to today, where the first stirrings of a rejuvenated, angry, multicultural, and decidedly impolite movement for environmental justice provides new hope for the future. Dowie takes a fresh look at the formation of the American environmental imagination and examines its historical imperatives: the inspirations of Thoreau, the initiatives of John Muir and Bob Marshall, the enormous impact of Rachel Carson, the new ground broken by Earth Day in 1970, and the societal antagonists created in response that climaxed with the election of Ronald Reagan. He details the subsequent move toward polite, ineffectual activism by the mainstream environmental groups, characterized by successful fundraising efforts and wide public acceptance, and also by new alliances with corporate philanthropists and government bureaucrats, increased degradation of environmental quality, and alienation of grassroots support. Dowie concludes with an inspirational description of a noncompromising "fourth wave" of American environmentalism, which he predicts will crest early in the next century.
Article
"...[a] provocative and original account..." --NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS Originally published in 1993, Forcing the Spring was quickly recognized as a seminal work in the field of environmental history. The book links the environmental movement that emerged in the 1960s to earlier movements that had not previously been defined as environmental. It was the first to consider the importance of race, ethnicity, class, and gender issues in the history and evolution of environmentalism. This revised edition extends the groundbreaking history and analysis of Forcing the Spring into the present day. It updates the original with important new material that brings the book's themes and arguments into the 21st century, addressing topics such as: the controversy spawned by the original edition with regard to how environmentalism is, or should be, defined; new groups and movements that have formed in the past decade; change and development in the overall environmental movement from 1993 to 2004; the changing role of race, class, gender, and ethnicity in today's environmentalism; the impact of the 2004 presidential election; the emergence of "the next environmentalism." Forcing the Spring, Revised Edition considers environmentalism as a contemporary movement focused on "where we live, work, and play," touching on such hot-button topics as globalization, food, immigration, and sprawl. The book also describes the need for a "next environmentalism" that can address current challenges, and considers the barriers and opportunities associated with this new, more expansive approach. Forcing the Spring, Revised Edition is an important contribution for students and faculty in a wide variety of fields including history, sociology, political science, environmental studies, environmental history, and social movements. It also offers useful context and analysis for anyone concerned with environmental issues.
Article
Population is well understood and predictable. Consumption, however, is less studied and growing. Still, getting from more to enough is the key to a sustainable future.
Conference Paper
Video-based media spaces are designed to support casual interaction between intimate collaborators. Yet transmitting video is fraught with privacy concerns. Some researchers suggest that the video stream be filtered to mask out potentially sensitive ...
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