THE ENERGY AND RESOURCES GROUP SPRING 2015 (ER295) COLLOQUIUM SERIES PRESENTS:
PhD Candidate – Energy and Resources Group
It’s About Time: Linking Happiness and the Pursuit of Sustainability
A growing body of research supports the claim that reductions in the materiality of life can yield personal and social benefits along with environmental ones. However, the popular and persistent article of faith that any contraction of individual or household consumption necessarily leads to a decrease in quality of life poses a significant challenge to efforts to promote more sustainable lifestyles. Engaging the consumption question in terms of spending time rather than spending money may offer a way to link sustainability with the pursuit of happiness, but work is needed to develop compelling examples, language, and narratives. I report the findings of two studies that examine the connections amongst time use, sustainability, and well-being. In the first, I use detailed time-diary information about daily activities from the American Time Use Survey to investigate the role of two forms of wealth – one material, one temporal – in promoting individual well-being. I find quantitative support for the argument that time affluence a substantial determinant of experienced well-being, and add depth to the concept of time poverty. With the second study, I develop a time-use perspective on energy use and carbon emissions.
Looking specifically at non-work time, I combine data from time-use diaries, consumer expenditure studies, and economic input-output tables to quantify the energy and carbon footprints of various day-to-day activities. I find substantial variation in both the energy and carbon intensities of routine time uses, with time dedicated to transportation being an important determinant of relative intensity. Together, these studies provide some initial guidance on how to think and talk about how to live sustainably on 24 hours day.
Joe’s teaching and research are focused on the social and technical aspects of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the role of individuals and households in supporting and accelerating movement toward a more sustainable
economy. Before beginning graduate studies at ERG, Joe was an assistant gentleman-farmer in British Columbia.
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