Using, choosing or creating the future? : proceedings of the first international conference of The Consumer Citizenship Network, Paris 2004
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The results of the first year of cooperation amongst the partners of the Consumer Citizenship Network are reflected in this selection of some of the papers which were presented at the first annual conference of the Consumer Citizenship Network (CCN) March 2004. The Consumer Citizenship Network is a thematic network whose goal is to stimulate dialogue between researchers, educators and civil society as well as strengthen cooperation in relation to value education, civic training, and environmental and consumer education. The CCN is an interdisciplinary network of educators and researchers from 29 countries, and includes cooperation with UNESCO, UNEP and international citizenship and consumer organizations. The papers published here represent a wide diversity of approaches to the issues which constitute consumer citizenship. As with environmental topics, consumer citizenship issues can be seen from three distinct perspectives: fact-based, normative and pluralistic. Despite differences of perspective, there is a common theme running through all the papers in this compilation. This is the recognition of the need to prepare for the future not only by observing trends but also by making conscientious choices and contributing to the creation of solutions to the challenges mankind is facing. There was a general consensus at the CCN conference that while the events of the present manifest the consequences of what we do and do not do, time s transformations need not be the result of a deterministic classical mechanics. They can be new structures, new systems, and new solutions emerging from the seemingly chaotic encounter of numerous conflicting elements. Even without being able to recognize the complete image of the future, we can identify the parameters of visions of preferred tomorrows. Even without being entirely confident of the outcomes of our endeavours, many of the participants at the conference expressed the conviction that we can contribute to modifications which will influence the direction development will take. The conference and this compilation of the proceedings Responsible lifestyle choices, increased ecological awareness and just distribution of resources were central topics at the conference which was hosted by UNESCO in Paris, France. Participants from 33 countries came together to look more closely at how the individual in his/her role as a consumer as well as a citizen, can contribute to global solidarity and sustainable consumption. The main focus points of the conference were: * Rethinking extravagance ---consumption patterns in light of global disparities * Revising responsibilities ---value-based education as a tool * Reviewing accountability ---participatory democracy in a commercialized world * Reshaping cooperation ---co-producing and sharing of teaching materials and learning methods in a global network. Presentations and discussions at the conference emphasized the need for a comprehensive review of the fundamental values directing lifestyle choices. What do individuals want and why? What does improved life quality mean and how can this be achieved with reduced use of resources? The presentations and discussions concurred as to the pressing need for changes in present consumption patterns in light of global disparities and environmental impacts. Such changes require accurate and accessible information, alternative products, and the ability and willingness to withstand commercial pressure. Systematic, cohesive value-based education was recommended as one of several necessary tools for helping individuals better understand their responsibilities as consumer citizens. During the conference a variety of methods such as service learning, scenarios, cases, and future workshops were discussed.
The results of the first year of cooperation amongst the partners of the Consumer Citizenship Network are reflected in this selection of some of the papers which were presented at the first annual conference of the Consumer Citizenship Network (CCN) March 2004.