Sustainable Consumption, pro environmental behaviour and lifestyles - 1st semester


Part of the environmental problems that contemporary societies face are the result of unsustainable consumption patterns that are widespread in most developed countries. This situation will worsen with the growth of the middle classes in emerging economies, which tend to copy the behavior and consumption paterns of the middle classes of the developed countries. The lifestyle and the typical consumption patterns of North America and Europe will spread gobaly in the twenty-first century, which is not sustainable and implies a necessary process of change.

It is intended that students understand and critically discuss:
a) The relationship between consumption, lifestyles and sustainable development;
b) the ethical, social, economical and environmental impacts of consumerism;
c) the relationship between consumption, waste production, equity, food security and happiness;
d) the processes of change towards more sustainable lifestyles and barriers that affect them.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Iva Miranda Pires


Weekly - 2

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Assadourian, Erik (2010) The Rise and Fall of Consumer Cultures, in Transforming Cultures From Consumerism to Sustainability, Worldwatch Institute, pp3-20
Baudrillard J.(2008) A Sociedade do Consumo. Lisboa: Edições 70
Bauman, Z. (2007) Consuming life. Cambridge: Polity Press
Bedford, T. (et all) (2010). Motivations for Pro-environmental Behaviour: A report to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. London.
Eilam, E. & Trop, T. (2012). Environmental Attitudes and Environmental Behavior—Which Is the Horse and Which Is the Cart?, Sustainability, 4, 2210-2246.
Featherstone, M. (2007). Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. Londres: Sage Publications
Jackson, T. (2007). Sustainable Consumption, in Atkinson, G (et all) Handbook of Sustainable Development. London: E. Elgar
Lipovetsky, G. (2009). A Felicidade Paradoxal. Ensaio sobre a Sociedade do Hiperconsumo. Lisboa: Edições 70
Urry, J. (2010). Consuming the planet to excess, Theory, Culture & Society, 27 (2-3), 191-212.

Teaching method

A mix teaching methodology will be used, combining the presentation of topics by the teacher, with collective discussion sessions, guided by the teacher, of papers on the topics of this curricular unit starting with a brief presentation of the issue by one of the students.

Evaluation method

The assessment will be based on a written research essay, contributing 80% for the final grade, on a topic agreed with the teacher to be the subject of an oral presentation and discussion, involving all students on the problem definition, methodology and main findings.
Each student will be asked to make a critical review of other colleague’s essay (contributing 20% to the final grade).

Subject matter

I. Introduction

Core concepts of Consumer Society, Life Styles and Sustainable Development presentation and critical discussion

II. Economic, Social, Environmental and Ethical Impacts of Consumption
1. The idea of the Earth limits
2. Consumption and Waste
3. Consumption and Equity
4. Consumption, Food Waste and Food Security
5. Consumption and Happiness

III. Sustainable Consumption
1. What is Sustainable Consumption?
2. Policies and Actions for Sustainable Consumption
3. Motivating Sustainable Consumption and Sustainable Life Styles


Programs where the course is taught: