Families, relationships and ‘environment': (Un)sustainability, climate change and biodiversity loss

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Few of the many social science researchers writing about personal life are simultaneously addressing the cluster of issues sometimes referred to by the shorthand ‘environment’ – sustainability, climate change, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources. This article argues for much more effort in this direction, suggesting agendas for new research, and advocating knowledge exchange engagement with activists and policy-makers. A theoretical and empirical case is made for seeing families and personal relationships as multiply engaged in producing or inhibiting the possibilities of a more sustainable and equitable planet. For sustainable development to be a global reality, there must be very significant reduction of high carbon footprint and resource-depleting consumption in the rich regions of the world, here referred to as the ‘minority worlds’ (Punch and Tisdall 2012).Researchers studying families and relationships, whether within or across national contexts, are well placed to engage their work with policy, practice and activist discussions of the needed shift towards more sustainable practices, pro-environmental dispositions and a collective politics of change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335–355
Number of pages20
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • biodiversity
  • climate change
  • environment
  • personal life
  • sustainability
  • unsustainability


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