Sustainable Lifestyles in Germany and India

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The role sustainable lifestyles can play in achieving a paradigm shift towards sustainability is acknowledged in both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement of 2015. They are essential complements to technology and policy solutions, which alone cannot bring the necessary changes.

Sustainable lifestyles are emerging in entirely different socio-economic and cultural circumstances in India and Germany. Urban middle classes in both countries are exploring very different practices. As the Indian ecological footprint is way smaller than the German, many of the suggestions for sustainable practices for India include sticking to good or making smarter choices – while in Germany, real big changes will be needed for alternative lifestyles and greener and healthier lives.

As sustainable lifestyles are no fast-selling item yet, the full breadth of drivers for more sustainable lifestyles needs to be mobilised: e. g. information and communication, citizen empowerment, eco design and social standards, innovation as well as policy, regulations and other supportive interventions.

This paper contains first findings from a joint project on sustainable lifestyles conducted by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) India. It is a living document that will be revised in the course of the project. The authors welcome comments and suggestions in order to further improve the paper.