Education is the key to cutting down on waste and heavy consumption, says a leading academic.
University of Cumbria lecturer in outdoor studies Dr Kate Rawles argues that the climate change debate needs refocusing and education is a key part in tackling the issue.
Speaking to MRW she said: Recycling plays a very critical part in addressing climate change but is only a small part of a bigger picture. We need to design products more intelligently so that we create less waste and use far less in the first place.
I am a big believer in education. If people really understand the ecological and social problems the current system has created, they will rise to the creative challenge of finding ways of increasing quality of life while reducing environmental impact.
The goal is to enable everybody in the world to enjoy quality of life with a lower carbon and ecological footprint. The problem we have is that some powerful voices in society are saying that technology can fix all our problems, which is fundamentally not true.
Rawles also believes that despite all the recent media attention climate change has received, there are many people who are not engaged with climate change and what they can do to prevent it.
She added: We would need three planets if everybody in the world lived the average western lifestyle. We have to move away from heavy consumption and the production of waste.
We need to have this debate with the public and say that climate change is a symptom of a deeper problem. Our western lifestyles are unsustainable because they are committed to indefinite growth on a finite planet. UN scientific reports have backed this up.
Image: Dr Kate Rawles on a bike in the North American Rockies.