Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice
Edited by Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer
Unless you are one of the people called ‘climate change sceptics’ – actually ‘deniers’, in that they reject rather than evaluate the obvious empirical evidence that human activities are changing the global climate – you recognize that human society needs to rethink the way we live and the economic activities that support our way of life. As an engineer, I have some understanding of how far technological developments can reduce the environmental impacts of consumption and I am sure that behavioural change is at least as important as technological change if we are to find the phantom called Sustainability. My engineering perspective also tells me that analysis, whether of global climate change or of consumer behaviour, is not enough: we need to go beyond understanding how individuals behave and what influences behaviour in different societies and contexts, to apply that understanding to promote behavioural change. The contribution of this book lies in this difficult area. It brings together analyses and case studies from different countries and disciplinary perspectives – psychological, sociological and economic – to provide an understanding of consumer behaviour and the barriers and inertia that constrain behavioural change, but goes further to inform policy and actions at all levels: local, national and supranational.