The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Task Force has put together a valuable report that can be used as a resource for anyone working on sustainable lifestyles and behaviour change, and as members of the Celsias community, that probably includes anyone reading this.
Concluding the report, the Task Force says there are encouraging links between innovative groups of people in different places and countries to drive change forward. However they’re quick to point out that there’s still a lot of work to be done in proving the benefits of sustainable lifestyles, exploring new perspectives and development paths, and motivating policy-makers, civil society organisations, scientists, the business sector and every one of us to take part.
As part of the report, the Task Force conducted a global survey to assess people’s attitudes to sustainable lifestyles. The project tested a series of future scenarios to see what people found most attractive. The respondents also shared what they know about sustainability, design and their aspirations for the future.
Four key findings were generated from the survey:
1. People are most concerned about poverty and the environment
Poverty and environmental challenges are identified as the most important global priorities among young adults.
2. People value quality of life and empowerment
For all, quality of life and a sense of empowerment are strong aspirations for the future. Unfortunately, sustainability is not always seen as a way to reach these aspirations. However, when survey respondents were presented with scenarios of sustainable living they reacted very positively, both rationally and creatively.
3. Infrastructure changes are needed
The scenarios focused on mobility, food and housekeeping. Those surveyed were very clear that well adapted policies and infrastructure were needed to make these scenarios real.
4. The opportunity to harness passive demand
Passively, people want sustainability solutions. Harnessing this demand is a big opportunity. To do this well, young people need to be empowered and educated on the knowledge and tools they will need to fully participate in the design of sustainable societies.
Work on sustainable lifestyles should be designed to tap into this passive demand and get people excited about the huge opportunities community action presents.
It’s a big report, but well laid-out and packed with useful findings and strategies for promoting sustainable lifestyles. To download the report, click here.
The Task Force on Sustainable Lifestyles was set up in 2005 by the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, as part of the Marrakech Process. The Task Force finished at the end of 2009. Its role was to explore ways to change lifestyles and behaviour with a focus on how sustainable lifestyles can be enabled by actors such as governments and business, and how consumers can be encouraged to make sustainable choices. The findings, ongoing and off-shoot projects of the Task Force will be continued under the Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living .