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What is Cooler Living?

Is shopping the new politics? Can young people really take responsibility for climate change? Will celebrity culture turn green? Sam Geall introduces a new debate on chinadialogue.

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How can young people affect the world they will inherit? Why should they try? Our actions will determine how we live tomorrow: this can be a good thing: it means we can leave gifts for future generations – be they great works of art, ideas or technology. But what about the things that future generations won’t thank us for? 

It is now clear that man-made climate change threatens all of us with natural disasters, drought, famine and a potentially catastrophic loss of biodiversity.  Regardless of our age or where we live, we all bear some responsibility for what will happen in the future, through the impact of our lifestyles – what we do, the things we buy and the things we throw away. 

Some people think that it’s up to governments and big business to sort it out, but Cooler Living asks: what about the rest of us? All over the world, ordinary people are seeking solutions and asking how they can reduce their impact on the planet to make the world a cleaner, safer place. Many people feel that the solutions really are in our hands or our pockets, if only we would use them. We talk about consumer power, ethical shopping, eco-design and sustainable consumption. Even big business and political parties now want to appear green. But what do these ideas really mean? Are they just ways to sell us more products? Or are they important ways of taking responsibility for our personal environmental footprint?

One thing is for sure: they are powerful, popular ideas that need to be discussed. And this is what Cooler Living is about: debating and exploring what it means to be a consumer and concerned about the environment.

Is shopping the new politics? Can young people really take responsibility for climate change? Will celebrity culture turn green? We hope you will help us find the answers. 

Over the next year, chinadialogue will be hosting an online forum to investigate these questions. From the ethics of the Live Earth concerts to the carbon emissions of politicians who claim to represent us, we will be looking at what impact our lifestyles have on a warming planet, and we want to hear your opinions.

Should governments try to change our consumption habits? Should people in rich countries give up more than people in developing countries? Can universities become “carbon neutral”? What things can we do without? And what will you not give up? Let the Cooler Living debate begin.

Now more than ever…

chinadialogue is at the heart of the battle for truth on climate change and its challenges at this critical time.

Our readers are valued by us and now, for the first time, we are asking for your support to help maintain the rigorous, honest reporting and analysis on climate change that you value in a 'post-truth' era.

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匿名 | Anonymous


你好,这是一个很棒的努力。我祝你们把这一项目办好,祝你们好运。我们全球的年轻人应该行动起来,来作出应有的改变。印度哥印拜陀的N.P. Radakrishnan


Dear Sir,

This is fantastic endeavour. I am wishing you best of luck with this enterprise. Young peoples around the world must take it upon ourselves to be the change we want to see.


N.P. Radakrishnan
Coimbatore, India

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



Looking forward to the forum

As a consumer, I can realise that personal effort is not enought to change the enviornment. What we need is not only to be strict with our behavior,but to require powerful pulic voices to wake up and direct us. I hope sincerely that "Cooler Living" can be one of the public voices.

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匿名 | Anonymous


好吧, 就说: 所谓“可持续的消耗”是真的存在吗? 要我们削减消耗,那不是一件残忍的事实吗 (这是一件商业或者政府都不能应对的讨论事项)? SL

Kicking this off....

Well, to start with: is there really such thing as 'sustainable consumption'? Isn't the painful truth that we need to reduce our consumption (something business or government cannot handle us discussing)?

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匿名 | Anonymous


酷冷生活论坛是个很棒的主意。作为你们这样杰出而创新的网站的忠实读者,我期待着这个新的辩论。不论我们生活在这个世界的任何地方,气候变化将会成为今天我们这一代年轻人生活中的重要因素之一。我们的付出和想法对于寻求怎样减小全球变暖带来的潜在破坏性影响的答案将会至关重要。所以,让我们现在行动起来。中国,你会怎么说呢?日益严重的气候变化将在我们的监控之下。---- Matthew

Let's start talking now

The Cooler Living forum is a great idea. As a regular reader of your excellent and innovative website, I look forward to the new debate. Climate change will be a major factor in the lives of we young people today, wherever we live in the world. Our input and ideas will be vital in the search for answers to how to reduce the potentially devastating impact of global warming. So, let's get started now. What do you say, China? The worst of climate change will come on our watch. -- Matthew

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匿名 | Anonymous



Wake up

Stop buying new shoes, ipods, cellphones, and stop driving so much. Americans, Brits, Chinese - you do not have a right to consume!

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous




uphill struggle

as a young person myself, i feel that we face an uphill struggle to become 'sustainable consumers' - we are encouraged by advertising and by celebrities to want more of everything all the time. who is going to make it 'cool' to say no??


Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous




Re: Wake up

I think we have all have a right to consume. After all, this encompasses our rights to food and shelter, which should be protected at all costs. But we do not have a right to consume excessively, regardless of who we are. And this can be regarded as universal. I don't think we'll get anywhere telling people they can't buy new shoes, when they actually need them... SL

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匿名 | Anonymous





Too many sneakers

Very interesting! But the kind of people who want to throw away their nearly-new sneakers in exchange for the BRAND NEW Nike sneakers don't care about the environment anyway. There are loads of people like this at my school; they think they are cool but they are definitely not.

How am I supposed to persuade them they don't need ANOTHER new pair of sneakers?

JC, Oakland CA

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匿名 | Anonymous




Role models?

JC of Oakland CA is right. This kind of consumption is one area in which celebrities could set a conscionable example for impressionable young people. How often have we read of athletes (such as some big-name professional football players) who wear a new pair of shoes for each match? And let's not forget the grim conditions in which some Asian workers (often including children) have laboured to manufacture this expensive, brand-name footwear. -- Matthew

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匿名 | Anonymous



Vote with your wallet

Shopping is politics and voting with your wallet very high on the agenda these days. The problem is that the most famous 'green' companies do most of the damage so could you publish a list of companies that are environmentally friendly (not in PR terms)?