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A time-use approach: high subjective wellbeing, low carbon leisure.

Druckman, Angela and Gatersleben, Birgitta (2019) A time-use approach: high subjective wellbeing, low carbon leisure. Journal of Public Mental Health, 18 (2). pp. 85-93.

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Purpose: This paper addresses the question: which leisure activities are relatively low carbon and conducive to high levels of subjective wellbeing? Underlying this question is the premise that to combat climate change, carbon emissions must be radically reduced. Technological change alone will not be sufficient: lifestyles must also change. Whereas mainstream strategies generally address the challenge of reducing carbon emissions through reviewing consumption, approaching it through the lens of how we use our time, in particular, leisure time, may be a promising complementary avenue.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper brings together three areas of research that are hitherto largely unlinked: subjective wellbeing/happiness studies, studies on how we use our time, and studies on low-carbon lifestyles.

Findings: The paper shows that low carbon leisure activities conducive to high subjective wellbeing include social activities such as spending time in the home with family and friends, and physical activities that involve challenge such as partaking in sports. However, depending how they are done, some such activities may induce high carbon emissions, especially through travel. Therefore appropriate local infrastructure, such as local sports and community centres are required, along with facilities for active travel. Policy-making developed from a time-use perspective would encourage investment to support this.

Originality/value: Win-win opportunities for spending leisure time engaged in activities conducive to high subjective wellbeing in low carbon ways are identified. This is done by bringing three research topics together in a novel way.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Centre for Environmental Strategy
Authors :
Date : 14 June 2019
DOI : 10.1108/JPMH-04-2018-0024
Copyright Disclaimer : © Angela Druckman and Birgitta Gatersleben 2019. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at
Uncontrolled Keywords : Leisure; Sustainability; Flow; Carbon emissions; Carbon footprint
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 18 Jan 2019 14:29
Last Modified : 20 Jun 2019 12:17

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