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 encourages experts on families and relationships to engage with other academics studying climate change, sustainability and environmental 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.
Publications and resources in this theme
Dr Bridget Bradley shares early findings from her ongoing project “Eco Worrier Eco Warrior”, which is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, and supported by her research team (Dr Rika Hirose, Hannah Fitchett and Eleonora Ranuzzi) Anxiety at Home: Exploring family experiences of eco-anxiety in Britain at a CRFR seminar on 10 June 2021
Ann Phoenix speaking about Climate Change, Children and Families: What's Intersectionality Got To Do With It? at CRFR international seminar, November 2020.
Jamieson, L. (2020). Sociologies of Personal Relationships and the Challenge of Climate Change. Sociology, 54(2), 219-236.
Families, Relationships and Society a journal for which CRFR Co-Director Professor Lynn Jamieson is Editor in Chief. A special issue in November 2016 focused on environmental issues and families.
'Growing Intimate PrivatePublics: Everyday utopia in the nature cultures of a young lesbian and bisexual women’s allotment’, Niamh Moore, Andrew Church, Jacqui Gabb, Claire Holmes, Amelia Lee, Neil Ravenscroft, Feminist Theory15(3):327-343. DOI: 10.1177/146470011454532
Projects in this theme
Climate Change and Parental Duties
This project, led by Dr Elizabeth Cripps, 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
Just World Institute (Blog) If having children is bad for the environment, what should parents do about it?
Gracemount Grow 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.