Challenges and Dilemmas in Everyday Life
Retirement is a lifecycle transition with implications for sustainability as people change their work, consumption and often residential practices. The move out of the paid workforce has implications for household sustainability and the specific dilemmas discussed in other chapters. In this chapter we concentrate on three specific changes of the transition to retirement: in consumption patterns, dwellings and time. The retiree population in most affluent Western societies is also in transition, from depression-era babies to baby-boomers. Current retirees who were born between the two world wars and retired at the end of the twentieth century often have a strong heritage of living frugally, and provide a bench- mark of ‘making do’. Those born after World War II – the ‘baby-boomer’ generation, now coming into retirement – have grown up in more affluent circumstances. They are also living longer, with expectations of an active retirement. We trace this second transition through the examples of frugality, driving and retirement migration. The two transitions operate together to frame the sustainability dilemmas and environmental implications of an ageing population. An increasing population of healthy retirees provides a resource, for example through environmental volunteerism. There is also a set of specific environmental impacts, such as those associated with new migration patterns, a changing built environment (Nelson 2010) and increased health care requirements. An emerging research agenda around these issues (see Davies and James 2011, Pillemer et al. 2011 and Scarfo 2011 for recent reviews) indicates that much more work on the environmental impacts of ageing will need to be done over the coming decades.
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