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Sustainable Consumption Institute

Climate change protest.

The politics of unsustainability

Climate change requires a global response, both culturally and politically. Tackling its root causes – the unsustainable extraction, use and waste of scarce resources – will require a radical worldwide transformation.

Unfair distributions of wealth, unjust divisions of labour and unreasonably short timescales for decision-making are just three factors contributing to the unsustainability crisis that is threatening most modern societies.

Our research uses social scientific tools to understand environmental problems as social problems.

Our aims

Central to such investigations is questioning how:

  • a wide range of actors and agents interact across production and consumption systems
  • sustainability discourses are framed and relate to everyday practices.

We explore the social relationships that hinder change, as well as those that might enable the transition to greater sustainability.

Underpinning such analyses is the recognition that greater environmental sustainability requires improved social justice and increased democratic participation.