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consumer responsibility and climate action

Learning about the global ecological crisis has led many of us to try and change our day to day habits so that our local and consumer actions will have an overall global effect. From an individual perspective, the use of statistics that divide national emissions by population make it seem like we are each personally responsible for climate change. This is not wrong, but is not the whole picture, either. In this session we will discuss how the political framing of climate change as an ‘individual consumption’ problem has sometimes prevented meaningful change, and how to reframe our responsibility as people and members of a global community in taking climate action. We will explore why our consumer choices don’t have as much impact as we would like them to, by learning a bit about the role of the finance sector in the global economy and the rules that define global trade in goods and services. And we will talk about how we understand change itself, our responsibility to be part of changing our impact on the world we are a part of, and how that might redefine what climate action means to us.


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Shaun Sellers is a PhD student in the Leadership for the Ecozoic program (L4E) at McGill University, She has a MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA (Hons) in Business Management from Antioch University. She has worked in sustainability consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations in Ontario, and has started her own businesses: a fair trade & organic chocolate company in Maple Leaf, Ontario, and before that, a second-hand bookstore cafe in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Her master’s thesis explored power structures, institutions, and philosophy relevant to envisioning trade policy through an ecological lens, and her current research is in social ecological trade theory. She likes books, her dog, and being in the woods.


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