(pp.331-341) N. E. Lynch ‘Gendered applications of the carbon footprint’, World Sustainable Development Outlook, 2010
NOLANA E. LYNCH, UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Abstract: Discussion on the phenomenon of climate change has bombarded our society within recent times. Scientists are consistently doing research, which shows that many decades of development have caused a rapid increase of greenhouse gases within the Earth’s atmosphere. This has exacerbated the natural global warming effect and supports claims that the Earth’s climatic cycle is being altered. In an attempt to reduce the percentage of greenhouse gases being emitted in the atmosphere, the concept of Carbon Management and the Carbon Footprint were established. These tools are used to promote more sustainable resource consumption patterns. In order to effectively promote any new pattern of behaviour, however, gender differences should be considered. Due to the first and second waves of feminist theories, gender has been given consideration in public policies and programmes in developed countries. Developing countries are gradually including gender at such levels. Even though gender equality is still a controversial issue, there is the need for gender considerations 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 sustainable practices between the male and female gender. 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, hence promoting equal development opportunities and ensuring that national sustainable development objectives are achieved in a shorter timeframe.
Keywords: sustainable lifestyles; gender analysis; carbon footprint; consumption; energy efficiency; carbon management; carbon neutrality.