(pp.297-337) N. E. Lynch ‘Gendered applications of the carbon footprint: the use of carbon management tools to highlight the effect of gender on sustainable lifestyles’, WJSTSD, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2011
Nolana E. Lynch, Environmental and Sustainability Consultant, Trinidad and Tobago
Abstract: Discussion on the phenomenon of climate change has bombarded our society within recent times. Scientists are consistently doing research, which indicates that many decades of development has resulted in a rapid increase of greenhouse gases existing in the Earth’s atmosphere. This has exacerbated the natural Global warming effect and climatic variability provides evidence that the Earth’s climatic cycle is in fact being altered. In an attempt to reduce the percentage of greenhouse gases emitted, the concept of Carbon Management and the Carbon Footprint has been established. These tools are being introduced to promote more sustainable resource consumption patterns but in order to successfully initiate and sustain any new pattern of behaviour within a society, gender differences should be considered. The first and second waves of feminist theories have resulted in “gender” being given consideration in public policies and programmes in developed countries. Developing countries are slowly following. Even though gender equality is still a controversial issue, there is great need for gender to be included in all decision-making processes to ensure that sustainable development is achieved. For this study, a gender analysis was conducted on carbon footprint data to identify whether there is a difference in the response to sustainable lifestyles. The strengths and weaknesses within each sub-group were analysed. Emphasis was placed on how the socially-accepted behaviours of each gender affected their energy usage, consumption and waste management practices. The detailed findings can be used to develop public awareness campaigns and programmes specially designed to fit the needs of each gender, thereby promoting equal development opportunities and ensuring that national sustainable development objectives are achieved in a shorter period.
Keywords: Sustainable Lifestyles; Gender Analysis; Carbon Footprints; Consumption; Efficient; Energy Usage; Carbon Management; Carbon Neutrality