Find out more about the Beacon approach and solutions.
The following publications serve as background and inspiration for the Beacon for Sustainable Living.
1.5 Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints
Michael Lettenmeier, Lewis Akenji, Ryu Koide, Aryanie Amellina, and Viivi Toivio (IGES et al., 2019).
Changes in consumption patterns and dominant lifestyles are a critical and integral part of the solutions package to addressing climate change. The report fills a gap in the existing research by establishing global targets for lifestyle carbon footprints, examining current consumption patterns and their impacts on footprints, and evaluating potential reduction impacts of low-carbon lifestyle options. The results of the analysis are striking, showing in some cases the need for reductions of over 80% in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050 from today’s intensity of lifestyles. Reductions will be necessary not only for developed countries; several developing countries will also need to reduce their average per capita emissions from current levels – a significant challenge where the basic needs of large parts of their populations are often still not met. However, as also identified in the report, there are clear opportunities for much needed changes, and these would require that actions start as soon as possible. Download the pdf.
Fostering and Communicating Sustainable Lifestyles: Principles and Emerging Practices
Philip J. Vergragt and Halina Szejnwald Brown (SCORAI – Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative), Vanessa Timmer, Dagmar Timmer, Dwayne A. Appleby (One Earth), Cara Pike, Sutton Eaves, Rebecca McNeil (Climate Access), and John Stutz (Tellus Institute) (United Nations Environment, 2016).
This report sets out a strategy roadmap for fostering and communicating sustainable lifestyles, illustrated by 16 initiatives and campaigns from around the world. The report details eight operating principles and tips on how to apply them. The ultimate goal is to create tangible changes in the way people live their daily lives. The full report includes concluding reflections; details on the principles; a workshop summary; and suggested additional resources. Cases explore how sustainable lifestyle campaigns intersect with key aspects of meeting core domain needs around food, shelter, mobility, leisure time, and human connections. The report uses the principles to interpret and evaluate these cases and offers insights on how to apply key learnings. Download the PDF.
A Framework for Shaping Sustainable Lifestyles: Determinants and Strategies
Akenji, L, H. Chen et al. (United Nations Environment, 2016).
People make hundreds of thousands of decisions during the course of their lives. For the lucky among us, those decisions will vary widely. No matter how we choose, the lifestyles we end up living – or, in some cases, are forced to live – have a profound impact on our planet, affecting everything from how our economies run to the health of our environment. How we choose to live as a society and as individuals – what houses we choose and build, what food we eat and grow, how we spend our spare time, and what type of transport we use – will have an enormous impact on the trajectory of human history. This publication will help policymakers, individuals and other stakeholders understand what a holistic approach to lifestyle means and how different contexts require different lifestyle solutions. This publication does not set out to define what “the” sustainable lifestyle looks like. Instead, it can help guide a range of initiatives that enable lifestyle choices that contribute to sustainability. Download the PDF.
Sustainable Lifestyles: Options & Opportunities
Authors: Dagmar Timmer, Dwayne Appleby, Vanessa Timmer (One Earth); Contributors: Garrette Clark, Mari Nishimura, Ajith Francis, Alexia Legrand, Nanaki Vij, Mateo Ledesma, Sarah Yvonne Harper (United Nations Environment) (United Nations Environment, 2018).
This publication offers proven actions for creating and inspiring more sustainable lifestyles. Informed by international advisors including in Bogota and Marrakech, it is a tool for groups with limited resources who want maximum impact. Globally, people are weaving sustainability into their daily lives – meeting needs and pursuing wellbeing and aspirations through building community; reducing meat and dairy consumption; wasting less food and using leftovers; reusing, repairing, recycling, sharing and borrowing goods; and enjoying the things that matter most, such as friends, experiences and nature. This is impressive since aspirations of ‘the good life’ continue to be strongly influenced by pro-consumption messaging and because people who are aware may not have more sustainable options available. Yet, taken together these actions are piecemeal and do not capture the full potential that holistic sustainable living initiatives can offer. This publication addresses this gap. It provides a sample of proven lifestyles options and opportunities including in the areas of food, mobility, housing, consumer goods, and leisure and general sustainable lifestyles. The audience is people running campaigns and initiatives with limited resources who want maximum impact. Explore these opportunities and create initiatives that work in your context – because what works in Brazil is different from what works in Morocco. Join us in advancing sustainable living in more effective ways. Download the PDF.
Prof. William E. Rees
Inventor of the ecological footprint approach; one of five co-founders of One Earth; Professor emeritus, University of British Columbia
Writing and insights including:
- The Earth Is Telling Us We Must Rethink Our Growth Society:
Why COVID-19 previews a larger crash. What we must do to save ourselves.
- Don’t Call Me a Pessimist on Climate Change. I Am a Realist:
To see our fate clearly, we must face these hard facts about energy, growth and governance.
- Memo from a Climate Crisis Realist: The Choice Before Us:
If we don’t take these 11 key steps, we’re kidding ourselves.