The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes climate change and responsible consumption key priorities for both industrialized and emerging economies. Moving beyond the Global North, this book uses innovative cross-national and cross-generational research with urban residents in China and Uganda, as well as the UK, to illuminate international debates about building sustainable societies and to examine how different cultures think about past, present and future responsibility for climate change.
The authors explore to what extent different nations see climate change as a domestic issue, whilst looking at local explanatory and blame narratives to consider profound questions of justice between those nations that are more and less responsible for, and vulnerable to, climate change.
generational dialogue groups, with some case study material on creative practice in the final chapter. It draws on the co-authors’ expertise in social, cultural and intergenerational geographies and in anthropology, though it is intended for a wide readership across related environmental social research disciplines, and we hope will also be of use to policymakers and practitioners interested in public perceptions of climate change, creative public engagement and intergenerational practice. More information about INTERSECTION, including links to our other publications
When asking people across diverse geographical and cultural contexts about the impact of climate change on their lives, it is important to take into account how the idea of climate – and thus of climate change – may be differently conceptualised. This chapter explores urban residents’ perceptions of living with a changing climate, the cultural construction of climate change, and how it is conflated with local weather and high-visibility environmental problems such as air pollution, tree felling, industrial waste and changing land use. It discusses how local explanatory narratives differ in their treatment of climate change as remote in space and time or immediate and locally-rooted; and how this affects the extent to which people feel it has a direct impact on their lives. It argues that residents across Jinja, Nanjing and Sheffield were more or less anxious about climate change not only as a consequence of different levels of regional exposure, but also as a result of socioeconomic vulnerability to climate shocks, and the perceived physical deterioration or improvement of their immediate environment as a consequence of urban infrastructural change.
This chapter situates the INTERSECTION programme of research within wider international debates regarding the relationship between consumption and climate change. It explores how this relationship is addressed in arguments for environmental justice and sustainable development, and how it is reflected in international policy-making. This discussion highlights how climate change is typically cast as both an international and intergenerational injustice, or the convergence of a ‘global storm’ and an ‘intergenerational storm’. This chapter also situates the original contribution of the book within recent social science scholarship that explores how people live with a changing climate, advocating a ‘human sense’ of climate and social change, and outlines the main themes of the subsequent empirical chapters.