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- Consumption and environmental sustainability
- Newton, Peter W.
- A critical challenge for members of high income societies is how to wind back their currently unsustainable levels of resource consumption. Changing contemporary patterns of behaviour---to what some refer to as sustainable consumption---represents one of the key pathways towards achieving sustainable development. Other pathways are on the supply side and include: transition to sustainable production; introduction of new eco-efficient urban infrastructure technologies; and eco-city transitions involving application of sustainable urban design principles, all of which hold promise for a significant reduction in environmental impact. However, household behaviour change holds the prospect for a much faster rate of transformation, and the extent to which it can occur voluntarily would facilitate the transition to a more sustainable future. This book explores the prospects for significantly reducing levels of household resource consumption in Australia: a quintessential high income--high consumption society. Australia's current level of consumption as measured by its Ecological Footprint (EF) is three times the global average and is due to the significant contributions that each of the sectors of urban living makes to overall resource consumption. Australia also features highly on global indexes of liveability (e.g. Economist Intelligence Unit 2009)---typically in the top decile. When graphed against consumption, however it is clear that the liveability of Australian cities is currently being achieved through high levels of consumption of resources: by their built environments and by the patterns of living of their residents. Given the significance of the liveability of cities from both a social and economic perspective, the challenge becomes one of identifying the most prospective points for intervention to reduce their underlying resource consumption. A global market awaits the development of implementable solutions to these challenges.
- Publication type
- Book chapter
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences. Institute for Social Research
- Urban consumption / Peter W. Newton (ed.), Chapter 1, pp. 1-25
- Publication year
- Australian capital cities; Consumption; Ecological footprint; Environmental sustainability; High income societies; Intention-action gap; Sustainable urban development; Urban resource consumption
- CSIRO Publishing
- 9780643096875, 0643096876
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2011. The published version of this book chapter is reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher for non-commercial purposes only. No further re-use is permitted.
- Full text
- Peer reviewed