How can young people affect the world they will inherit? Why should they try? Our actions will determine how we live tomorrow: this can be a good thing: it means we can leave gifts for future generations – be they great works of art, ideas or technology. But what about the things that future generations won’t thank us for?
It is now clear that man-made climate change threatens all of us with natural disasters, drought, famine and a potentially catastrophic loss of biodiversity. Regardless of our age or where we live, we all bear some responsibility for what will happen in the future, through the impact of our lifestyles – what we do, the things we buy and the things we throw away.
Some people think that it’s up to governments and big business to sort it out, but Cooler Living asks: what about the rest of us? All over the world, ordinary people are seeking solutions and asking how they can reduce their impact on the planet to make the world a cleaner, safer place. Many people feel that the solutions really are in our hands or our pockets, if only we would use them. We talk about consumer power, ethical shopping, eco-design and sustainable consumption. Even big business and political parties now want to appear green. But what do these ideas really mean? Are they just ways to sell us more products? Or are they important ways of taking responsibility for our personal environmental footprint?
One thing is for sure: they are powerful, popular ideas that need to be discussed. And this is what Cooler Living is about: debating and exploring what it means to be a consumer and concerned about the environment.
Is shopping the new politics? Can young people really take responsibility for climate change? Will celebrity culture turn green? We hope you will help us find the answers.
Over the next year, chinadialogue will be hosting an online forum to investigate these questions. From the ethics of the Live Earth concerts to the carbon emissions of politicians who claim to represent us, we will be looking at what impact our lifestyles have on a warming planet, and we want to hear your opinions.
Should governments try to change our consumption habits? Should people in rich countries give up more than people in developing countries? Can universities become “carbon neutral”? What things can we do without? And what will you not give up? Let the Cooler Living debate begin.