Table of Contents

Low Carbon Communities

Low Carbon Communities

Imaginative Approaches to Combating Climate Change Locally

Edited by Michael Peters, Shane Fudge and Tim Jackson

Community action is a vital strategy in the fight against climate change and has increasingly informed government policy, academic inquiry and grassroots action since the start of this century. This timely and engaging volume explores both the promise of community-based action in tackling climate change and some of its limitations.

Chapter 2: Sustainable Communities: Neo-Tribalism between Modern Lifestyles and Social Change

David Evans

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental geography, environmental sociology, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, public policy


David Evans INTRODUCTION Community, as the eminent sociologist Zygmunt Bauman reminds us, is a word with a certain ‘feel’ (Bauman, 2003). By conjuring up a sense of warmth, belonging and comfort, community almost always feels like a good thing. This feeling rings true when it comes to thinking about and addressing the challenges of sustainable development. One need only think about the emergence and implementation of Local Agenda 21 strategies or the enduring idea of ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ to see this. Indeed, locality is the seemingly appropriate scale of implementation insofar as it implies a movement beyond atomization and individualism without recourse to the unmanageable complexities that would accompany global solutions to global problems. Of course, community is not the same thing as locality but it occupies a similar context and in doing so carries connotations of empowerment, participation and ownership which in turn lend support to the idea that it is ‘community’ that feels right when it comes to the implementation of sustainable development policies and initiatives. Moving away from the broad agendas of sustainable development, this chapter considers the significance of community in relation to the contemporary calls for persons in relatively affluent societies to adopt ways of living that are somehow more sustainable. Of course, if individuals are expected to move towards more ‘sustainable lifestyles’ one would be forgiven for thinking that community has been swept aside and that the possibility of social change rests on very privatized responses to environmental problems. By contrast, this chapter...

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