Imaginative Approaches to Combating Climate Change Locally
Edited by Michael Peters, Shane Fudge and Tim Jackson
Chapter 1: Community Engagement and Social Organization: Introducing Concepts, Policy and Practical Applications
1. Community engagement and social organization: introducing concepts, policy and practical applications Michael Peters INTRODUCTION Community efforts to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions hold the potential, in principle, to benefit from a greater emphasis on collective expediency; that is, accomplishing more by acting together rather than alone, with broader motivational impacts in terms of encouraging positive beliefs and actions (Walker and Devine-Wright, 2008; DECC, 2009). The involvement of households in this drive needs to be a core feature of attempts by policy makers seeking to address climate change locally and nationally. In the UK, for example, homes are responsible for 27 per cent of total CO2 emissions nationally (House of Commons, 2009) and the energy used by households for water and space heating accounts for 13 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions (DECC, 2009). For some time now there has been a growing consensus amongst policy makers that projects rooted in bottom-up social, cultural and economic arrangements hold the potential to be more effective than topdown solutions by a) enabling individuals to recognize their own role in contributing to more sustainable energy use and b) providing greater encouragement to citizens to engage more fully in the wider political debate on sustainable living (Long, 1998; Jordan, 2006; Fudge and Peters, 2009). The role of local government in tackling climate change in the UK (including the stimulation of individual and collective household action) is increasingly identified as a key component of a concerted national effort to curb carbon emissions...
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