Front Matter

This book examines lived experiences and perceptions of climate change, changing consumption practices, and intra- and intergenerational justice with urban residents in China, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. The book draws on an interdisciplinary research programme called INTERSECTION, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2014 to 2017. INTERSECTION was an innovative, cross-national programme that employed participatory arts and social research methods with urban residents in three cities: Jinja in Uganda, Nanjing in China, and Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Drawing together a unique dataset from these three cities -- which are very differently positioned in relation to global networks of production and consumption, (de)industrialisation and vulnerability to climate change -- the research demonstrates how people engage selectively with the ‘global storm’ and the ‘intergenerational storm’ of climate change.  The research reveals a ‘human sense of climate’ that clouds its framing as an issue of either international and intergenerational justice. Its chapters focus on the global and intergenerational dimensions of climate change, local narratives of climate change, moral geographies of climate change, intergenerational perspectives on sustainable consumption, and imaging alternative futures through community based and creative research practices.

Climate Change, Consumption and Intergenerational Justice

Lived Experiences in China, Uganda and the UK


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  • List of Figures and Photographs iv

  • Notes on the Authors vi

  • Acknowledgements viii

  1. oneIntroduction 1
  2. twoA Global and Intergenerational Storm 13
  3. threeLocal Narratives of Climate Change 39
  4. fourMoral Geographies of Climate Change 71
  5. fiveIntergenerational Perspectives on Sustainable Consumption 103
  6. sixImagining Alternative Futures 129

List of Figures and Photographs


  1. 3.1How often have you thought about climate change? 55
  2. 3.2To what extent is climate change having an impact on you personally? 55
  3. 4.1Which of the following things do you think cause climate change? 74
  4. 4.2To what extent do these organizations and individuals have a role to play in protecting the environment? 75
  5. 4.3Countries that produce more pollution, like the UK and China, owe a debt to poorer countries for contributing to climate change there 97
  6. 4.4Countries that have historically contributed the most to climate change have a bigger responsibility to act today 97
  7. 5.1Our environment suffers because the younger generation is more materialistic than previous generations 108


  1. 1Nanjing residents discuss their consumer habits and environmental concerns Photo credit: Chen Liu 66
  2. 2Nanjing residents workshopping ideas for a play called ‘Supershop’ Photo credit: Chen Liu 66
  3. 3Jinja residents perform the Kingfisher play as part of a waste action intervention day Photo credit: Katie McQuaid 67
  4. 4Older residents perform ‘We Are the Foundations’ at a workshop with Jinja Municipal Council Photo credit: Katie McQuaid 67
  5. 5Intergenerational discussion at a workshop in Sheffield Photo credit: Kristina Diprose 68
  6. 6A Sheffield resident who took part in the Write About Time workshop reads the finished pieces Photo credit: Ian M. Spooner Photography 68
  7. 7Head of the Sustainability Dancer sculpture Photo credit: Anthony Bennett 69
  8. 8Detail on the Sustainability Dancer sculpture Photo credit: Anthony Bennett 69

Notes on the Authors

Kristina Diprose is a research associate in the University of Sheffield’s Urban Institute. She is interested in social research, knowledge coproduction and creative practice towards the creation of ‘just’ cities, with a particular focus on climate change and sustainability.

Chen Liu is a lecturer in Cultural Geography at the School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University. Her research interests include food consumption, popular culture and everyday life in urban China. She has published more than 15 articles and book chapters in both English and Chinese.

Katie McQuaid is a senior research fellow in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, local perspectives on climate change, (inter)generational relations in informal urban African settings, and the intersection of applied arts and feminist methodologies in action research with marginalized communities.

Gill Valentine is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. Her key areas of research include equality, diversity and inclusion; childhood, parenting and family life; and urban cultures and consumption. She is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and has published 15 books and over 150 articles.

Robert M. Vanderbeck is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Leeds, with particular expertise in childhood, youth and intergenerational relationships; sexuality and religion in the public sphere; and contemporary processes of social inclusion and exclusion. He is the author of Law, religion and homosexuality (with Paul Johnson, Routledge, 2014) and co-editor of Intergenerational space (with Nancy Worth, Routledge, 2014).


This book draws on some material from previously published articles, but crucially brings research data from three cities together for the first time with original synthesis of research findings. We acknowledge the following team publications that have contributed to the development of this book, with material reprinted with permission from: ‘Building common cause towards sustainable consumption: A cross-generational perspective’ (Diprose et al, 2019a); ‘Caring for the future: Climate change and intergenerational responsibility in China and the UK’ (Diprose et al, 2019b); ‘Placing “sustainability’’ in context: Narratives of sustainable consumption in Nanjing, China’ (Liu et al, 2018a); ‘Intergenerational community-based research and creative practice: Promoting environmental sustainability in Jinja, Uganda’ (McQuaid et al, 2017); and ‘Urban climate change, livelihood vulnerability and narratives of generational responsibility in Jinja, Uganda’ (McQuaid et al, 2018).

We would like to thank the following people for their contributions to the INTERSECTION research programme: co-investigators Dr Lily Chen and Dr Mei Zhang from the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield; intergenerational theatre lead Professor Jane Plastow at the Leeds University Centre for African Studies; theatre co-facilitators Baron Oron in Jinja, Ping Chen, Ziyi Li and Kai Yu in Nanjing, and Matthew Elliot in Sheffield; local collaborators We Are Walukuba, Passages Theatre Group, Sheffield College Performing Arts, and Nanjing Arts Institute; and Gravel & Sugar filmmakers Valentina Tschismarov, Matylda Wierietielny and Will Nyerere. Thanks also to Sheffield sculptor Anthony Bennett for his work on the Sustainability Dancer, to Helen Mort for facilitating the Write About Time workshop, to former INTERSECTION research staff Catherine Harris and Lucy Jackson, and to the INTERSECTION Advisory Board: Ade Sofola (formerly Children England), Antony Mason (Intergenerational Foundation), Elaine Willis (formerly Beth Johnson Foundation), Fiona Matthews (Earth Champions Foundation), Frances Babbage, Maria Grasso and Matt Watson (University of Sheffield), Luisa Golob (Ignite Imaginations), Peter Hopkins (Newcastle University) and Sue Mayo (Magic Me).

Select photos from INTERSECTION discussion groups, intergenerational theatre workshop events and of the public artwork Sustainability Dancer are included in the photo spread between Chapters Three and Four.

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