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Disconnected futures: Exploring notions of ethical responsibility in energy practices

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Publication details

JournalLocal Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
DatePublished - Apr 2013
Issue number4
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)455-468
Original languageEnglish


This article aims to explore people's connections to or disconnections from the future and the implications of this for their perspectives on equity, justice and ethical issues related to energy consumption. Everything people do is embedded and extended in time across the modalities of past, present and future, making time an inescapable aspect of our existence, yet one that often remains invisible and intangible. Debates about energy and environmental equity have raised questions about the extent to which people today should bear responsibility for the consequences of their behaviour for future generations. Seemingly intractable difficulties have been identified, however, in people's abilities to connect their present actions with their potential future consequences and thus take on such responsibilities. Drawing on data from interviews about energy consumption practices, this article explores whether people's living temporal extensions through younger generations of their families influence their views and practices around energy use in both the present and anticipated future. Through exploring these issues we offer a contribution to the ethical debate around responsibility for future generations.

    Research areas

  • energy, ethics, future, parenting, time

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