Reflecting on Citizen Sustainability
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  • This module has sought to explore the role of the individual in practising sustainability. What role should the individual play in attempting to realise sustainable behaviours? What broader societal and political trends are encouraging a focus on the individual? What obstacles and opportunities exist to help or hinder individual action, and how do individuals themselves manage the tensions between living a generally accepted high consumption, high polluting, unsustainable existence, and a desire to live more sustainably? As we have seen, there are perhaps three elements driving a concern with the individual in relation to sustainable behaviour.
  • Drawing on this approach to the individual and sustainable behaviour this module has required you to become an auto-ethnographer, an autobiographer, to write the story of your approach to environmentalism and sustainable development. To reflect on your positioning, philosophy and action in relation to these issues, and throughout the module, write reflective pieces that document, critique and reflect on the material you engage with (be it academic, policy, or from the media) and any actions they may move you to take in your everyday life. Through doing so it has sought to wrangle with the questions that face us all in relation to sustainability in the (post)modern world: What motivates sustainable behaviour, why do people do what they do (either in a green or non-green way), what obstacles are in our path, what makes it difficult (in terms of lifestyle, money, relationships, broader culture etc)? How do personal experiences, and reflections on them connect (if at all) to the policy and academic ideas associated with sustainability? These ideas and broader societal structures are meant to change the world, so how effective are they in changing ours? Through autoethnography we can use ourselves as a research resource and get some evidence to answer this question. So this module has not been about finding out ‘how green are we?’, but more about the problems, obstacles, opportunities, reflections and critiques of engaging with the tensions that are perhaps inevitable between trying to be green in the society we live in.
  • This module requires you to become an auto-ethnographer, an autobiographer, to write the story of your approach to environmentalism and sustainable development, reflect on your positioning, philosophy and action in relation to these issues, and throughout the module, write reflective pieces that document, critique and reflect on the material you engage with (be it academic, policy, or from the media) and any actions they may move you to take in your everyday life. What motivates you to act in an sustainable way, to bring the ideas you come across in this SPEP course into practice, why do you do what you do (either in a green or non-green way), what obstacles are in your path, what makes it difficult (in terms of lifestyle, money, relationships, broader culture etc)? This module is interested in these personal experiences, in your reflecting on them and connecting them to the more policy and academic ideas that are more traditionally associated with postgraduate study. These ideas and broader societal structures are meant to change the world, so how effective are they in changing yours? Through autoethnography we can use ourselves as a research resource and get some evidence to answer this question. Important to note that although you will be marked on these reflective diary pieces, you will not be marked on how green you are. It will be possible to be really unsustainable in your actions – that is not way to get a good or bad grade in this module, how green you are is up to you – what is important is how you reflect, critique, identify problems that you encounter, or solutions you come with. Indeed, one of the things we want you to engage with are the tensions that are perhaps inevitable between trying to be green and the structures that impede this in the society we live in.
  • Focus Group Break outs Discussion Themes: Carbon Permits at the Level of the Individual Reflection on module, reflective diaries etc
  • Usually when you pay for a fuel such as petrol the cost reflects a number of things such as the cost involved in extracting it from the ground, the cost of treating it to the required standard, payment of employees and the cost of transporting it to where it is needed. The cost of the fuel does not reflect the cost of the damage caused by climate change. This includes the costs of sea level rises, flooding and storms etc which are predicted to occur more as result of global warming. A climate change tax would add to the price of fuels to reflect these costs. The idea of a carbon tax is to increase the cost of fuels which emit carbon dioxide when burned. This would be done to: Encourage us to be less wasteful of energy Encourage us to choose forms of energy which have less or no carbon dioxide The rate of tax per unit of fuel is fixed. If you use less fuel that cause climate change then you would pay less overall tax.
  • This is John- What a good looking fella he is- ho ho ... John lives in a modest house etc… If the rate of Carbon tax is £25 per tone of tax then John would pay £75…. You can use the information you have in your packs on your own carbon footprint to figure out how much you would have to pay per year in climate change tax on gas and electricity and travel (tonnes CO2) X £25
  • Sash has a fairly large carbon footprint of 13 tonnes CO2 per year because…….
  • Even though Sasha would pay more carbon tax than John, because John is on a much lower income the tax he pays would account for a greater proportion of his income – 0.8%. Additionally, as John has less money this may impact on him more than Sasha who could better afford the extra cost.
  • Carbon Tax: a good idea? What should money be spent on? Give it back to some groups? Public transport? Investment? R&D? Socially regressive? Effective in switching behaviour? Effective in reducing emissions? Has higher prices of gas/elect/petrol made you think about how you use it? Would you vote for it?
  • Why? To encourage you to reduce emissions so that you: Either avoid buying additional permits Or so that you can sell spare permits for money
  • Everyone has different sized carbon footprints due to different circumstances and life styles Everyone is given the same sized allowance of permits for free This level is determined through considering what level of emissions needs to be achieved. The allowances size is reduced over time in line with national targets for emission reductions. In some cases people will have more permits than emissions. Others will have more emissions than permits. Those with less emissions than permits like this person could increase emissions (without needing to buy more) or they can sell their extra permits for money. Those with more emissions than permits must either reduce their emissions or buy additional permits. Some people will have equal amounts of emissions and permits so they do not need to buy of sell. Though if they can reduce their emissions further they would be able to sell the extra.
  • Carbon Permits & Trading: a good idea? What should money be spent on? Give it back to some groups? Public transport? Investment? R&D? Socially regressive? Effective in switching behaviour? Effective in reducing emissions? Has higher prices of gas/elect/petrol made you think about how you use it? Would you vote for it? Cost of set up?
  • This module requires you to become an auto-ethnographer, an autobiographer, to write the story of your approach to environmentalism and sustainable development, reflect on your positioning, philosophy and action in relation to these issues, and throughout the module, write reflective pieces that document, critique and reflect on the material you engage with (be it academic, policy, or from the media) and any actions they may move you to take in your everyday life. What motivates you to act in an sustainable way, to bring the ideas you come across in this SPEP course into practice, why do you do what you do (either in a green or non-green way), what obstacles are in your path, what makes it difficult (in terms of lifestyle, money, relationships, broader culture etc)? This module is interested in these personal experiences, in your reflecting on them and connecting them to the more policy and academic ideas that are more traditionally associated with postgraduate study. These ideas and broader societal structures are meant to change the world, so how effective are they in changing yours? Through autoethnography we can use ourselves as a research resource and get some evidence to answer this question. Important to note that although you will be marked on these reflective diary pieces, you will not be marked on how green you are. It will be possible to be really unsustainable in your actions – that is not way to get a good or bad grade in this module, how green you are is up to you – what is important is how you reflect, critique, identify problems that you encounter, or solutions you come with. Indeed, one of the things we want you to engage with are the tensions that are perhaps inevitable between trying to be green and the structures that impede this in the society we live in.
  • This module requires you to become an auto-ethnographer, an autobiographer, to write the story of your approach to environmentalism and sustainable development, reflect on your positioning, philosophy and action in relation to these issues, and throughout the module, write reflective pieces that document, critique and reflect on the material you engage with (be it academic, policy, or from the media) and any actions they may move you to take in your everyday life. What motivates you to act in an sustainable way, to bring the ideas you come across in this SPEP course into practice, why do you do what you do (either in a green or non-green way), what obstacles are in your path, what makes it difficult (in terms of lifestyle, money, relationships, broader culture etc)? This module is interested in these personal experiences, in your reflecting on them and connecting them to the more policy and academic ideas that are more traditionally associated with postgraduate study. These ideas and broader societal structures are meant to change the world, so how effective are they in changing yours? Through autoethnography we can use ourselves as a research resource and get some evidence to answer this question. Important to note that although you will be marked on these reflective diary pieces, you will not be marked on how green you are. It will be possible to be really unsustainable in your actions – that is not way to get a good or bad grade in this module, how green you are is up to you – what is important is how you reflect, critique, identify problems that you encounter, or solutions you come with. Indeed, one of the things we want you to engage with are the tensions that are perhaps inevitable between trying to be green and the structures that impede this in the society we live in.

Transcript

  • 1. Sustainability in Practice: The Role of the Individual in Sustainable Development John Anderson & Richard Cowell
  • 2. A central concern with individual action to promote sustainability
    • Functional reasons: individuals and their consumption, travel, etc, seen as a major cause of un sustainability
    • Theoretical reasons: sociologists contend that society has become increasingly individualised (Beck), anxious and reflexive
    • Political reasons: ideologies of neo-liberalism place increased responsibility for welfare and achieving societal goals on the individual
  • 3. The Role of the Individual in Sustainable Practice
    • Auto-biography / Auto-ethnography
    • What motivates sustainable behaviour?
    • Why do we do what we do?
    • What structures encourage sustainability, what impede it?
      • lifestyle, money, relationships, broader culture etc
    • Tensions between personal experiences and policy/academic debates?
  • 4. Thoughts on the reflective journal RC
    • Devote greatest coverage to what YOU are doing/not doing, thinking about/ignoring, and why you think that is.
    • Demonstrate evidence of responsiveness to a range of different challenges, stimuli, dilemmas and publications
    • Describe situations succinctly, but think about why they exist, or persist?
  • 5. Carbon Gym / Carbon Permits
    • Individually Different Carbon Footprints
      • Range
    • How realistic for everyone to have the same?
      • Carbon Tax
      • Carbon Permits
  • 6. Carbon Tax Government places a tax on all purchases of energy which are contributing to climate change:
    • Electricity
    • Gas
    • Petrol/Diesel
    • Heating oil or coal
    • Costs would also feed into the price of other goods
  • 7. Only uses his car occasionally Has a modest home Is careful about gas bills He goes on holiday in Europe once every 1 or two years Pays: £75 in carbon tax per year John Has a footprint of 3 tonnes CO 2
  • 8. Drives a sports car most days Has a large house Lots of air conditioning Goes on holiday in exotic places once or twice a year Pays: £325 carbon tax Sasha She has a footprint of 13 tonnes of CO 2 per year
  • 9. Pays: £325 carbon tax Income:£60,000 = 0.5% of income Sasha John Pays: £75 in carbon tax per year Income: £10,000 = 0.8% of income
  • 10. Carbon Tax: A good idea?
    • What should money be spent on?
      • R&D? Tax breaks for low polluters? Low income? Public transport? Admin?
    • Socially regressive?
    • Effective in switching behaviour?
    • Effective in reducing emissions?
    • Has higher prices of gas/elect/petrol made you think about how you use it?
    • Would you vote for it?
  • 11. Carbon Trading: Individual Permits
    • When you buy (fossil) energy, or goods which consume fossil energy, you would have to hand over some ‘carbon permits’
    • Permits – entitle you to emit a certain amount of carbon
    • Every adult in the UK is given an equal amount of permits for free
  • 12. The Trade
    • If you do not have enough permits for a purchase you will need to buy additional ones
    • If you do not use all your allowance of permits you can sell them for money
  • 13. Carbon Footprint Per Year
  • 14. Carbon Permits & Trading: a good idea?
    • What should money be spent on?
      • R&D? Tax breaks for low polluters? Low income? Public transport? Admin?
    • Socially regressive?
    • Effective in switching behaviour?
    • Effective in reducing emissions?
    • Has higher prices of gas/elect/petrol made you think about how you use it?
    • Would you vote for it?
  • 15. Sustainability in Practice JA
    • Engage with the tensions that are perhaps inevitable when trying to be green
      • “ environmentalists lead lives of contradiction” (Thomashow, 1995:161)
  • 16. For information on Personal Carbon Trading:
    • Go to the webpages of the RSA (Royal Society for Arts), www.rsacarbonlimited.org