September 3-17, 2020 | Climate Change

Sustainable Lifestyles and Consumption: International Action in this Moment of Crisis

Invitation Only

Over the first half of 2020, policy action–through health mandates and economic support–have been critical to supporting individual behaviors that have reduced infections and saved lives. In terms of climate action, this experience has shown that impact from choices made by individuals alone cannot bring about fundamental change without changing the systems and infrastructure which undergird our current ways of life, which are designed by policy. 

At the same time, social disruption has allowed people the space to imagine alternative lifestyles, as the systems which kept things running before have fallen away, at least temporarily. Disruption to everyday life could prove an optimal time for policymakers to examine what life could look like in a 1.5C world, one that delivers reduced consumption, but also improves health, wellbeing, and social justice. Beyond the opportunity to broach an important but often verboten topic, the moment is urgent because economic recovery packages and plans for returning to social life–even if rolled out in fits and starts–will begin to lock-in unsustainable and inequitable systems if alternative and demonstrably effective policy agendas are not offered. Sustainable lifestyles and consumption also pose many climate justice challenges that are increasingly being taken on by a new wave of social movements.

This workshop aims to identify frameworks to support policymakers in understanding sustainable lifestyles with practical actions and interventions from both top-down and bottom-up efforts. The conversation will take place via a virtual roundtable spread across two sessions: September 3rd and 10th, followed by a short 1-hour discussion on September 17th to reflect on outcomes.


Mark Conway

Program Officer
Climate Change