Sustainable lifestyle and it's impact on New Zealand society : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University
Sustainable lifestyles are based on the belief that people in developed countries (predominantly) need to start making lifestyle decisions on the basis of the impact of those decisions upon the people and environment of the world. It is a lifestyle that thinks about the future and future generations and recognises that people and countries around the world are interconnected. As a term 'sustainable lifestyles' is not original to this thesis. Many writings have alluded to actions such as 'sustainable livelihoods' and 'living simply' and 'world citizens' but few have acknowledged the term sustainable lifestyles and it's out workings to any major degree. This thesis seeks to give parameters to the term 'sustainable lifestyle' and to evaluate to what degree sustainable lifestyle values and actions are impacting the way New Zealanders live. Chapter one will introduce the purpose and methodologies of the thesis while chapter two sets out how the concept of sustainable lifestyles evolved and what exactly a sustainable lifestyle is. From a basis of sustainable development that focused on the environmental impacts of development in the developing world, wider aspects of development arose. The social, economic and cultural aspects of development began to take higher precedence. The focus also shifted from the developing world to include the developed world and the role the developed world played in bringing equitable and sustainable development. Chapters three to seven will focus on five areas of New Zealand society. These chapters will seek to determine to what degree sustainable lifestyle is impacting New Zealand society. These areas are production and consumption and policies, economics, environment, values, and education. Each of these is used because they provide a form of measurement in determining the impact of sustainable values. They are also key aspects that contribute to New Zealand functioning well as a society. Chapter eight will evaluate a Sustainable Lifestyle survey that was carried out among 50 people. The purpose of the survey was to determine the understanding and actions of individual New Zealanders in the area of sustainable lifestyles. This survey revealed a general understanding that sustainable lifestyle was about the need for people to live in way that others can also share in that lifestyle. However many responses focused on being able to provide for oneself and to be able to maintain one's present lifestyle. It also revealed that most people had no practical outworking of sustainability in their lives. Chapter nine will draw all the conclusions and evaluations together to provide an overall sense to what degree sustainable lifestyles are understood and enacted in New Zealand society.