Analysing long-term changes of everyday life in an environmental perspective

Inge Røpke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The background of this paper is an interest in the ever growing consumption in the industrialized countries. The macro level growth rate changes over time, but most years it is positive and over the long run the increase is impressive – for instance, a growth rate of 2 percent implies a doubling time of 35 years. In spite of technologically induced reductions in the average environmental impact of each monetary unit spent on consumption, it is hard to keep up with the quantitative increase and, in particular, to cope with accumulated problems like the greenhouse effect and to make room for increasing consumption in developing countries. This problem of ever increasing quantities of consumption ought to be placed high on the sustainable development agenda, and it calls for research on the dynamics behind the growth to improve the possibilities for curbing it. A real challenge in relation to this issue is that the increases in consumption are imperceptible and that most people in the industrialized countries are preoccupied with managing their everyday lives and do not experience that they live in any kind of extreme luxury. Some years ago I wrote a paper dealing with this issue in general terms, trying to identify some trends that can explain why we do not become satiated. In the first part of this paper I summarize these ideas, and in the second part I try to take some steps further to discuss how changes in everyday life can be studied in more detail. This part relies heavily on the reading of Elizabeth Shove's new book on "Comfort, cleanliness and convenience". The paper must be seen as preliminary reflections, as this is really work in progress.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings. International Workshop on Driving Forces of and Barriers to Sustainable Consumption
    EditorsKlaus Hubacek, Atsushi Inaba, Sigrid Stagl
    PublisherLeeds Institute for Environmental Science and Management
    Publication date2004
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    EventInternational Workshop on Driving Forces of and Barriers to Sustainable Consumption - University of Leeds, UK
    Duration: 5 Nov 1829 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceInternational Workshop on Driving Forces of and Barriers to Sustainable Consumption
    CityUniversity of Leeds, UK
    Period05/11/1829 → …

    Cite this

    Røpke, I. (2004). Analysing long-term changes of everyday life in an environmental perspective. In K. H. A. I. S. S. (Ed.), Proceedings. International Workshop on Driving Forces of and Barriers to Sustainable Consumption Leeds Institute for Environmental Science and Management. http://www.ipl.dtu.dk/publikation/8416/dk/