Community action is a vital strategy in the fight against climate change and has increasingly informed government policy, academic inquiry and grassroots action since the start of this century. This timely and engaging volume explores both the promise of community-based action in tackling climate change and some of its limitations. On the one hand, community-based action offers a meaningful way to achieve global targets and an avenue for renewing social relations at the local level. On the other, it challenges fundamental aspects of social organization in the modern economy and sometimes comes into conflict with wider structures and constraints.
Low Carbon Communities brings together theoretical and practical perspectives on community action to mobilize social change towards a sustainable, low carbon future. The opportunities and challenges are considered through a diverse range of models and case studies. Fresh conceptual insights are provided and new light is shed on the policy implications and practical ramifications of establishing effective community engagement in efforts to combat climate change locally. Low Carbon Communities will prove a stimulating read for academic researchers in the fields of climate change science, local and national level policy analysis and governance research. Local authorities, development agencies and policy makers seeking to understand and to influence the behaviours and practices of 'energy consumers' and the communities in which they live will also find much to inspire them.
"We are faced with the greatest challenge to public engagement since World War Two, and a new discourse of fear – not military invasion but climate change. At the same time most people cannot grasp the scale of the challenge nor what they are supposed to do about it. Good governance requires an informed citizenry who are much more than consumers and customers, but active participants in a new post-carbon politics. Low Carbon Communities helps to set out the political and cultural agenda for the first half of the twenty-first century and, ultimately, the imaginative approaches that are required now to address climate change."
– Michael Redclift, University of London, UK
"Few aspects of the transition to sustainability are more important than the search for effective means of enabling behaviour change, innovation and cooperation in local communities. This collection is a hugely valuable contribution to our understanding, and to the work of practitioners and policy makers alike."
– From the Foreword by Ian Christie, Associate, Green Alliance and Chair, RESOLVE Advisory Committee
Preface: The Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment (RESOLVE)
Foreword Ian Christie Introduction
PART I: FACILITATING THE LOW CARBON TRANSITION: THEORETICAL AND INTELLECTUAL UNDERSTANDINGS OF COMMUNITIES AND SOCIAL CHANGE
1. Community Engagement and Social Organization: Introducing Concepts, Policy and Practical Applications Michael Peters
2. Sustainable Communities: Neo-Tribalism between Modern Lifestyles and Social Change David Evans
3. The Social Dimensions of Behaviour Change: An Overview of Community-based Interventions to Encourage Pro-environmental Behaviours Wokje Abrahamse
PART II: CHALLENGES FOR LOCAL LEVEL CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY AND ALTERNATIVE MODELS FOR LOW CARBON COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE
4. Transforming the Nation-state through Environmentalism: Political Influences on a Multi-level Governance Framework in the UK Shane Fudge
5. The Role of Local Authorities in Galvanizing Action to Tackle Climate Change: A Practitioner's Perspective Simon Roberts
6. Mobilizing Sustainability: Partnership Working between a Pro-cycling NGO and Local Government in London Justin Spinney
7. Low Carbon Communities and the Currencies of Change Gill Seyfang
8. Decarbonizing Local Economies: A New Low Carbon, High Well-being Model of Local Economic Development Elizabeth Cox and Victoria Johnson
PART III: MODELS OF SUSTAINABLE AND LOW CARBON COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
9. The Community Carbon Reduction Programme Simon Gerrard
10. Global Action Plan's EcoTeams Programme Scott Davidson
11. Woking Borough Council: Working Towards a Low Carbon Community Lara Curran
12. Intentional Community Carbon Reduction and Climate Change Action: From Ecovillages to Transition Towns Joshua Lockyer
13. Energy Conscious Households in Action (ECHO Action) Elliot Bushay
14. The HadLOW CARBON Community: Behavioural Evolution in the Face of Climate Change Howard Lee and Julie Taylor
15. Empowering Farmers to React and to Act: From an Anti-golf Course Pressure Group to a Community-based Farmers' Cooperative Mario Cardona
Epilogue: Retrofitting Buildings Viewed as a Civil Engineering Project - Just Do It Michael Kelly
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