Lifestyle, social and cultural norms, decision making, and carbon impact

Each day, we all make decisions which impact our carbon footprint: in the ways we move, make, exchange, eat, join, and rest.  Our urban immersion workshop sought a meaningful term, or vocabulary, to be used as a cultural currency to influence climate change impacts.  We approached this question from a variety of perspectives: land use, public health, art and communication, ecology, and design. 

As we participated in, explored, and observed a variety of behaviors, the idea of “connection” and what that means continually resurfaced: connection between human and natural, between “people like us” and outsiders, between adults and children, between climate and food.  We explored potential relationships between carbon footprint and decision-making in a search for causes and proxies.  Are we happier when we live a low-carbon life?  Do we feel more connected?  Are we healthier? 

 Why do we act the way we do, what impacts our decisions on an every day basis? 


  •  Pleasure---benefit
  • Cost---convenience
  • Security---independence
  •  Community---connectedness---privacy
  • Health---well-being
  • Belief system---status---responsibility


Through these experiences, I feel as if, at this moment in time, we have lost the perception of connections, between differing lifestyles, between people and the earth, between my drive to work and my neighbor’s health.  Do we rely on each other the way we rely on the limited resources of our planet?  Can we envision healed connections, relationships that are mutually beneficial?  Can we trust in an intentional reliance on each other?  Is diversity of species, of culture, of life choices something that makes us stronger, more adaptable, that improves resilience and capacity to change?  Do we have the motivation?

I believe that internalizing those connections, and their benefit, at both an individual and cultural level, is essential to motivate behavioral change around carbon impacts.  My interest is propagating this idea of intertwined success through various efforts.  We seek life satisfaction, and an abundance of culture, of health, of tradition, of connection -- which also brings about a shift in actions.

This image explores the potential patterns or connections, reported on real time basis during the Pause, between individual:


  • Happiness or satisfaction
  • Reduction of carbon impact
  • Low monetary consumption
  •   Diversity experience