9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN05 Sociology of Consumption

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Conditions of Sustainable Consumption Building II, C5.02

Educating for sustainable consumption

Many authors are convinced that modern consumption is the human activity that is most detrimental to sustainability, followed by population growth and the growth of production. Changing unsustainable consumption patterns into sustainable ones is necessary for a sustainable future. However, changing consumption patterns inevitably assumes changing consumers? value systems ? and this is a rather long-term goal. One possible way to attain this goal is through the education system ? at least this is what majority of governments and ministries of education assume when implementing the elements of sustainable development into the education systems and school curricula. Author will argue that adopting documents and action plans on implementation of sustainable development will not suffice for moving towards sustainability. Knowing does not equate changing and transferring knowledge does not necessarily imply transforming unsustainable consumer practices into (more) sustainable ones. In the paper the main focus will be on reorienting education towards sustainability within the Slovene school curriculum. Results of the empirical research that was conducted among Slovene students and their teachers will be presented. One of the goals of the study was to investigate the perception of the presence of the themes of sustainable consumption and sustainable development in the existing school curriculum. It can be concluded from the research that students' perception of responsibility at the market place is limited to the issues regarding spending their money or getting 'value for money' and to some aspects dealing with safety or health issues (e. g., dangerous additives, waste pollution). This kind of responsibility could be classified as egocentric consumer responsibility where responsibility is limited to those aspects of their consumer behaviour which they can understand to have a direct influence on their well-being. This finding is in line with other findings of the research which will be presented in the paper as well.