Institutions and actors

Authored by: Gabriela Kütting

Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Print publication date:  September  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415694209
eBook ISBN: 9780203799055
Adobe ISBN: 9781135090517


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Consumption is an economic and social activity that can be analyzed as being at the end of the production chain but also as a political and economic institution. The world consumes at a rate that exceeds the planet’s capacity to regenerate itself. This is why consumption is such an important topic and at the heart of the global environmental politics concern. Academics who study consumption address the type of economic system we have and its ability to deal with climate change and environmental problems in general. They also analyze the behavioral habits of the “consuming classes”. This chapter will provide an overview of consumption in global environmental politics. It is organized in the following way: First, the consumption will be outlined in a historical context. Then the political institutions of consumption in a global framework will be analyzed. Finally, the chapter will critically analyze consumption as a social activity and explore the role of the individual, in the process exploring the notion of “sustainable consumption”.

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