Articles in the special issue analyze the environmental impact of consumption and U.S. house size, diet change, work time reduction, time use, product life spans and the quality of life. Articles also examine consumption at the household, city and national levels.
"This special issue demonstrates the power of industrial ecology," says Reid Lifset, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. "Techniques that lie at the core of this field, such as materials flow analysis, life-cycle assessment, and input-output analysis, help us to understand much better the pivotal role consumption plays in shaping the quality of our environment."
This special issue includes evaluation of water use in China, energy use in Sweden, the "export" of environmental impacts via Dutch consumption, and risks from exposure to scented consumer products. Articles consider the strategies advocacy groups use to influence global production and consumption, and explore the role of the "rebound effect"--the possibility that reduced purchase of one set of products can, by saving the consumer money, lead to increased consumption of other goods and services with their attendant environmental effects.
The research represents a broadening of the scope of environmental concern that has traditionally focused on the impact of production-related activities such as emissions from factory smokestacks. It brings systematic analysis of the role of consumption in environmental management to a new and higher level. Questions addressed include: how big is the footprint of households taken as a whole, and which activities a
Contact: Reid Lifset