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From consumer kids to sustainable childhood Trine S. Jensen, PhD, senior researcher 15 November, 2012 Project authors: Trine S. Jensen Eirini Glyki Alexandra.

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Presentation on theme: "From consumer kids to sustainable childhood Trine S. Jensen, PhD, senior researcher 15 November, 2012 Project authors: Trine S. Jensen Eirini Glyki Alexandra."— Presentation transcript:

1 From consumer kids to sustainable childhood Trine S. Jensen, PhD, senior researcher 15 November, 2012 Project authors: Trine S. Jensen Eirini Glyki Alexandra Hayles Bo Normander It is urgent to realize that the process towards sustainable development lies in the capability of our children European Panel on Sustainable Development (2010)

2 How can children grow up to become guardians of sustainable living instead of learning to become dedicated consumers? Illustration: Alejandra Bize In this report we have addressed a fundamental question:

3 In 1992 the Brundtland report, Our Common Future, concluded that adopting sustainable lifestyles should become a key concern for all citizens in order to develop societies that “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Illustration: Alejandra Bize Sustainable development and family lifestyles

4 Earth carrying capacity

5 Det fundamentale problem 2030 Earth carrying capacity 2030

6 1. European family lifestyles - 6 thematic issues 2. Potentials for change - interviews with European families 3. Ideas on how to shift to more sustainable lifestyles From consumer kids to sustainable childhood Illustration: Alejandra Bize

7 Family lifestyle choices strongly depends on societal structures

8 European family structure: How they frame childhood sustainability Living as a couple with children is the dominant living arrangement (74%) among European families with children 80% of European families have 1 child (49%) or 2 children (39%) Since 2004 the consumption expenditure per person has increased by 18%. I n Europe, around 75% of the population lives in urban areas and this is expected to increase to about 80% by 2020 Some characteristics:

9 European family structure: How they frame childhood sustainability Reported data on self evaluation. Source: Eurostat 2010 The ‘blockbuster’ factor in a family’s well being is work-family time balance

10 European family structure: How they frame childhood sustainability The potential for change to more sustainable lifestyles Mrs. Cobos (Spain) expresses it like this: “Like to work less time. Work part time. Go and pick them at lunch time from school and eat together with them. And then again take them back to school and do activities at school with them.”

11 European family structure: How they frame childhood sustainability Limited access to safe green outdoor spaces Only 34% of children report undertaking sufficient physical activity Low physical activity is linked to overweight and obesity Increased health risk from traffic, i.e. increased risk of suffering from respiratory diseases, leukemia and road traffic injuries Childhood experiences in natural spaces are strong predictors of how they relate to the environment in adult life Living in cities Illustration: Alejandra Bize

12 Consumerism in Family Life How it affects the way children are being raised The games and toy industry is one of the strongest consumer industries worldwide. Electronic toys are a hit Marketing practices are constantly reinforcing the process of turning children into consumers, not citizens

13 Consumerism in Family Life How it affects the way children are being raised The increase of obesity among children has been connected to the marketing and promotion of unhealthy food

14 Consumerism in Family Life Transforming consumer culture Re-directing family activities Illustration: Alejandra Bize

15 Conclusion Any surprises? We know we overconsume, spend more time at work than with our loved ones, spend much time on electronic media – often watching meaningless TV programs or spend hours surfing the internet, urban life means disconnectedness with nature and we do not have the knowledge and tools to make more sustainable choices Consumer norms have been internalized into family lifestyles This study has identified a gap – a potential for change To progress the broader systems needs to change – schools, the government and community structures, business and family structures.

16 Contact: Worldwatch Institute Europe Strandgade 12B 1401 Copenhagen K, Denmark Trine S. Jensen E: It is urgent to realize that the process towards sustainable development lies in the capability of our children


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