ABSTRACT

This chapter questions if and how the changes induced by Covid-19 could help or impede a transition to sustainable lifestyles and consumption patterns. It sketches the history of consumerism: how it was created to foster business interests but also contributed to environmental problems and climate change. It discusses questions around why people consume and what drives consumption. The history includes policy responses at the global level through the UN, the Paris Agreement, and the papal Encyclical Laudato si'. It elaborates the relationships between economic growth, consumption, and climate change, and the necessity of complementing technological solutions with lifestyle changes. It shows that Covid-19 has led to widespread changes in behavior, but it is unclear if these changes will persist. It makes the point that Covid-19 has disclosed how important the role of government is to create conditions for sustainability through infrastructure development and regulations