chapter  1
22 Pages

From access to excess: consumerism, ‘compulsory’ consumption and behaviour change


Runaway consumerism has been identified as an important engine of global emissions, and has been treated in many discussions as an assumed opposite to the goal of sustainable consumption. Yet this consumerism is rarely defined, and is often assumed to be the outcome of individual decision-making. This assumption is highly questionable, and unsustainable individual behaviours usually occur within larger socio-technical systems that help shape, encourage and normalize the ‘excess’ in question.