Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Event: Myths and Realities: Sustainable Lifestyles: Great Theory, Impossible Practice

This was an event me and some of the MA Fashion Environment girls attended last night at the british libary. A bit exhausted now to write much in details about it but the jist of it was:

our unsustainable behaviour is formed by habits. These may seem deeply engrained but they do evolve and change.  These changes may be radically influenced by technology but in sometimes unpredictable ways e.g. mobile phones & texting. Technology cannot be seen as the solution to solve our sustainability problems, that would be a 'mission impossible' as Ian Christie called it; social innovations however would make it a 'mission not quite impossible'. These innovations would include changing the framework and social structures which underpin our habits. Just trying to change individual habits is not effective with the current socio-technological infrastructures & cultural conventions.

I also found the different definitions of habit interesting (quite relevant to a 'shoe addiction' project we're working on with Prof. Helen Storey). Habits can be split into 'addicition' or 'routine'. The unsustainable consumption habit has been put into the 'addiction' bracket. Professor Dale Southerton stated that this is very unhelpful in addressing sustainability as it puts emphasis on the individual and views the habits as pathological. Whereas viewing the habit as a routine means the behaviour is the problem but is also the solution.

Cartoon as presented by Ian Christie & found again on this website

The Chair was Drs Astrid Wissenburg, Director of Partnerships and Communications, ESRC and the speakers  Ian Christie, Research Fellow and Coordinator, Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey and Professor Dale Southerton, Director Sustainable Practices Research Group, University of Manchester.

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