Friday, 5 June 2009

A Positive Post Carbon Society?

A bit of thinking has been going on at Lighter Footprints about how to positively visualise a "Post Carbon Society". How can people can visualise themselves living and working in a low carbon economy? How will it affect lifestyles? What will people actually be doing (rather than not doing)? What will we be taking on (not giving up)?

A book not specifically on "post carbon living" but with some linked propositions is

Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. London: Penguin Books.

Google books link here.

Review link here.

Other more specific thinking on the Post Carbon Society can be found in journals like 'Future'.Some articles with abstracts below.

Low-mobility: The future of transport

Moriarty, Patrick; Honnery, Damon

Futures, Volume 40, Issue 10, December 2008, Pages 865-872


Nearly all researchers into the future of global passenger transport assume that both car-ownership and overall vehicular travel will continue to rise. But they also increasingly acknowledge the environmental and resource problems facing vehicular transport, particularly global climate change and oil depletion. In order to meet these challenges, researchers propose a variety of technological solutions, including greatly improved vehicular fuel efficiency, alternative fuels and propulsion systems, and carbon capture and storage. In this paper we question whether these optimistic solutions can be developed and widely deployed in the limited time frame available, and argue instead that not only are ever-rising vehicular mobility levels unlikely to occur, but that the human costs of continuing this approach are also too great. Instead we argue that because transport is a derived demand, we must first articulate a preferred vision of the future, then design an appropriate, sustainable transport system. Finally, we briefly outline what such a low-mobility future transport system would look like, using our own city, Melbourne, Australia, as a case study.

What foresight! Understanding Australia's housing future

Burke, Terry; Hulse, Kath

Futures, Volume 41, Issue 5, June 2009, Pages 325-333


Futures analysis has been little used to inform housing policy debate, despite the fact that historical precedent is becoming increasingly limited as a guide for policy direction. This paper examines the potential utility of ‘strategic foresight’ in considering possible housing futures for Australia. It examines the particular foresight methods employed, and processes used, to develop possible housing futures in the year 2025 and their policy implications. The paper concludes that foresight analysis, although not without its problems, creates the opportunity to move beyond current thinking and ‘path dependent’ policy parameters, enabling discussion of housing futures in a way that prompts critical discussion of the institutional arrangements and policies that shape housing policy in the present.

Future images of meat consumption in 2030

Vinnari, Markus; Tapio, Petri

Futures, Volume 41, Issue 5, June 2009, Pages 269-278


The issue of meat consumption has been a subject of interest that has been looked at from environmental, animal and human perspectives. This paper contributes to the discussion by clarifying the diversity of views with regard to the future of meat consumption. Two round Delphi expert interviews and a consumer survey were conducted in order to collect information. Five coherent future images were constructed: Traditional Approach, Business as Usual, Humans First, Wellness and Vegetarian Society. The discussion part of the paper presents possible ways of influencing meat consumption according to the holders of these different images of the future.

How would you like to see a "Positive Post Carbon Society"? What aspects of society are the most important to keep positive? What would your community look like? Do you have any research or readings to contribute on the topic?
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