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Public Lecture by Professor Paul Ekins, UCL Energy Institute

26 Mar 2010

As part of the Ken Green Memorial Symposium on Innovation and Sustainable Consumption


Paul Ekins, Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy
UCL Energy Institute, University College London
A Nine Billion-Strong Consumer Society. Navigating the Waters Between the Consumerist Rock and the Hard Place of Sustainability or If Consumer Society is Titanic, is Sustainability the Iceberg?

Western consumer lifestyles have become the dominant aspiration for societies, and almost all people, worldwide.

  • Is it conceivable that nine billion people could live like Americans do now?
  • If so, how can current environmental challenges be addressed in that context?
  • If not, how do lifestyles and aspirations need to change, and how could such changes be brought about?
  • And how can and should concerns about sustainability be related to issues of equity and inequality?
  • What is the meaning and purpose of consumer society anyway, or is this not a question worth asking?

This lecture will explore this territory, considering different aspects of the issues of innovation and sustainable consumption to which Ken Green devoted so much of his highly productive academic life. 

The session will be chaired by Professor Rod Coombs, Vice President, Research and Innovation.

Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, will provide a response.

The lecture will take place in G6 Manchester Business School West at 3.30pm on Thursday 22 April 2010, followed by a drinks reception.