Environment & Sustainability

Theme overview
Families and personal relationships can effect or resist social change in response to global environmental challenges, including climate change, decline in animal, bird and plant populations and key resources such as water, food and fuel. Personal relationships also influence our willingness to take political action and the types of action we are comfortable with. Our feelings about the natural world and animals are often shaped through childhood family experiences. Family practices can influence car use or walking and cycling and other practices of consuming, spending, wasting or saving, recycling and conserving
CRFR is encouraging experts on families and relationships to be engaged with other academics studying climate change, sustainability and environment issues and with voluntary organisations, policy makers and practitioners seeking ways of promoting life-styles that do not harm the future sustainability of the planet.
Contact Director: Lynn Jamieson
Current/recent Projects in this theme
Climate Change and Parental Duties
Dr Elizabeth CrippsThis project explores what it means to be a ‘good parent’ in a warming and imperfect world. There is a surprising dearth of philosophical literature on this question, given the plethora of scholarship both on climate change and moral duties, and on what parents, in general, owe to their own children. My core thesis is that parents have a moral duty to bring up children motivated and educated to respond to serious injustice, especially but not only climate change. This can be defended in several ways: as part of a general shared duty to the victims of global and intergenerational injustice; as part of a shared special duty that parents have to coordinate for effective action on climate change; as owed directly by parents to their own children, as part of bringing them up as fellow members of a global moral community; as negatively derived from the fact that parents, in adding people to the world, have contributed to environmental harm.


“Do Parents Have A Special Duty To Mitigate Climate Change?”
Politics, Philosophy & Economics 16 (3): 308-325

“Justice, Integrity and Moral Community: Do parents owe it to their children to bring them up as good global climate citizens?”
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (1): 41-59

Podcast  http://aristoteliansociety.org.uk/proceedings/mp3/cripps.mp3

Blog http://blogs.sps.ed.ac.uk/jwi/2017/09/20/if-having-children-is-bad-for-the-environment-what-should-parents-do-about-it/

Gracemount Grows Stronger
Grow Stronger is a project centred on a community garden growing on organic principles within Gracemount, Southhouse and Burdiehouse, Edinburgh. Transition Edinburgh South CIC (TES) first received funding for the project in 2013 and have since received funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, the Mushroom Trust, and Dunedin Canmore.  Gardeners work in partnership with Edinburgh Food Social (EFS), experts in teaching food skills.
In addition to developing Gracemount Community Garden, activities include gardening and cooking workshops for adults and for school children, community meals using garden produce hosted within the garden and adjacent community centre, support for growing vegetables in home gardens and school grounds and a range of other events.
The project reduces the carbon-footprint of food by displacing higher-carbon food with locally grown produce and through composting and eradicating food waste. It creates sites of sociability, skill sharing and collaboration, enhancing community cohesion, wellbeing and resilience of individuals and of families and relationships.
Lynn Jamieson visits the Grow Stronger project to conduct research alongside it.
You and the Environment: Views of Pupils in an Eco-School
Two surveys have been conducted in a secondary school in consultation with its active eco-committee, exploring pupils’ views of a range of environmental issues, and environmentally-consequential practices. The questions also explore the extent to which these topics are discussed with friends and family and whether pupils judge them to be issues that friends and family are interested in or not. The first report to the school is available here and other reports will follow.
CRFR Co-Director Professor Lynn Jamieson is Editor in Chief of the journal ‘Families, Relationships and Society’. A special issue in November 2016 focused on environmental issues and families.

Niamh Moore, Andrew Church, Jacqui Gabb, Claire Holmes, Amelia Lee, Neil Ravenscroft (2014) ‘Growing Intimate PrivatePublics: Everyday utopia in the naturecultures of a young lesbian and bisexual women’s allotment’, Feminist Theory15(3):327-343. DOI: 10.1177/146470011454532

Briefing: Twenty+ futures: recession, global threats and young people’s anticipated futures as partners and parents

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