The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living
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The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living

Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice

Edited by Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer

This unique book illustrates that in order to address the growing urgency of issues around environmental and resource limits, it is clear that we need to develop effective policies to promote durable changes in behaviour and transform how we view and consume goods and services. It suggests that in order to develop effective policies in this area, it is necessary to move beyond a narrow understanding of ‘how individuals behave’, and to incorporate a more nuanced approach that encompasses behavioural influences in different societies, contexts and settings.
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Chapter 7: Collaborative (and sustainable) behaviours: grassroots innovation, social change and enabling strategies

Ezio Manzini


In 1973 Ivan Illich organized a seminar in the Centre for Intercultural Documentation (CIDOC), which he had founded in Cuernavaca in Mexico. In his book Tools for Conviviality, which grew out of this event, he proposes an original vision of technology and the tools it offers, or rather, that technology could offer if it were more intelligent than it is currently: ‘Give people tools that guarantee their right to work with independent efficiency’ and that ‘allow the user to express his meaning in action’ (Illich, 1973, p. 35). This idea, which focuses on technology as a tool to give people independence in both making things and creating meanings, is the basis of Illich’s proposal for a convivial society. That is, a society that would be ‘the result of social arrangements that guarantee for each member the most ample and free access to the tools of the community and limit this freedom only in favor of another member’s freedom’ (Illich, 1973, p. 25). There are several reasons why, today, Illich’s reflections should be rediscovered and discussed in light of the way in which society has changed and is presently changing. To this end this chapter considers emerging collaborative (sustainable) behaviours, and the enabling strategies capable of supporting them towards the achievement of mainstream status, as opposed to their current status as predominantly active minorities.

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