Living Reference Work Entry

Geographies of Global Issues: Change and Threat

Volume 8 of the series Geographies of Children and Young People pp 1-20

Date: Latest Version

Living in the Future: Environmental Concerns, Parenting, and Low-Impact Lifestyles

  • Fiona ShiraniAffiliated withCardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University Email author 
  • , Christopher GrovesAffiliated withCardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • , Catherine ButlerAffiliated withGeography Department, University of Exeter
  • , Karen ParkhillAffiliated withEnvironment Department, University of York
  • , Karen HenwoodAffiliated withCardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • , Nick PidgeonAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Cardiff University


Existing work has demonstrated how the presence of children of different ages in families can impact on people’s ability to make imaginative connections to longer-term socio-environmental futures and maintain these links in the context of everyday pressures. This chapter explores such connections by presenting selected data extracts from residents of a low-impact ecovillage. The ecovillage represents a relatively unusual case site where people showed strong connections to the future, which had an impact on their present lifestyle choices. In particular, the way in which parents spoke about their children as central to their decision to live a low-impact rural lifestyle is highlighted. The ecovillage data is contextualized via an extended literature review covering issues regarding parenting, rural childhoods, low-impact living, and how these areas relate to a connection with the future. Drawing together these insights, the relevance of resilience is discussed as a concept for thinking about how particular visions of the future may create lifestyles that make possible flexibility and adaptability in the face of uncertainty. In summary, this chapter highlights how parents’ views of wider environmental futures can impact on the lifestyles they foster for children in the present.


Ecovillage Resilience Future Parenting Environment Rural