Socio-economic trends and personal choices shape people’s lifestyles and play a large role in explaining people’s use of ecosystem services. Lifestyle trends in Western societies are driven by emerging values and aspirations, including that of living a greener life. Such aspirations influence preferences regarding food, housing, transportation, or holiday plans, with implications for the use of resources and ecosystem services. It is unclear how big this role of lifestyle is in explaining ecosystem services use, and what are the consequences on ecosystems far away from the consumer’s location. In an increasingly telecoupled world, there is an increasing need to account for distal impacts of consumption and lifestyle changes, but there are few tools or indicators for doing so. This research project focuses on key aspects of lifestyles where changes are already being observed in Western societies. Current and alternative lifestyles are translated into differences in consumer demand for key ecosystem services. Particular attention is given to the socio-ecological systems that enable the provision of ecosystem services and the potential impacts on communities living in the service-providing areas. Mismatches between demand and supply of ecosystem services, and trade-offs between global and local impacts of service use, are studied in order to assess the sustainability of current and alternative lifestyles.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.