An integral investigation of the barriers to sustainable consumption: waste watching in Calgary, Canada

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One of the most evident indications of the dysfunctional relationship we have with the world around us is in the level of solid waste we produce. Alberta Environment has made waste reduction a priority for the period of 2002-2006. Understanding what inhibits waste reduction in Calgary is thus an important project. By means of a broad literature review, an in-depth interview study with the Waste Watchers group and a personal self-reflective study this thesis looks to identify the barriers to reducing, re-using and recycling in Calgary. The integral model developed by Ken Wilber is used to structure the findings and gives a comprehensive consideration of the problem. The integral approach looks to understand development of consciousness and culture and the relationship to social issues using a holistic framework. Within this framework we appreciate that individual behaviours are interconnected with personal, group/ cultural and social structural factors. The barriers are sorted into these categories and then further considered in relation to awareness, willingness and "ableness". Beyond the principle purpose of providing a typology of barriers and understanding them within the framework of the integral model, the research offers some interesting potentials for resolving the problem. My application of the integral approach suggests that sustainable consumption and waste reduction involves re-inserting the interior, "qualitative" dimensions into all aspects of life where they have been colonized by exterior, "quantitative" considerations under the dominant social paradigm. A focus on individual consciousness development is an important part of the integral approach, which also must ensure group / cultural beliefs and nonns are in line with the principles of sustainability and ensure that structures, regulations, technologies and facilities are available. This comprehensive approach presents a promising route to sustainability and ensuring individuals are aware, willing and able to change their behaviours.
Bibliography: p. 198-202
Owens, C. (2002). An integral investigation of the barriers to sustainable consumption: waste watching in Calgary, Canada (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/21163