The Ecocultures research consortium at the University of Essex explores the art and science of sustainable living. Communities designated as Ecocultures are distinguished by high levels of social and natural capital, resilience and a commitment to sustainable living.

Prof. Steffen Böhm (Essex Business School) leads a group of researchers from 7 University departments (Biological Sciences, Economics, Essex Business School, Government, Psychology, Sociology and Law). This multidisciplinary group examines the challenges faced by existing and emerging Ecocultures, and identifies ways in which they can contribute to a global transition to sustainability.

The work of the consortium addresses both ‘traditional’ and ‘emerging’ Ecocultures. Work on the former has included case studies on the Bajau, nomadic sea-gypsies in Indonesia, the rainforest aboriginals of Australia and hunting communities in north Greenland. These studies have explored how traditional communities have successfully organised their social, economic and cultural lives in ways that sustainably maintain resilience and wellbeing. Studies have also identified ways in which these communities are navigating the new and pervasive challenges posed by the spread of modernity, including landuse change, climate change and resource degradation.

Studies on ‘emerging’ Ecocultures identify the barriers and bridges to the emergence of alternative ways of living at community scale. They include studies of the UK Transition Movement, alternative agri-food networks and a study of Céu do Patriarca Ecovillage in southern Brazil.

The website of the Ecocultures programme hosts information on the programme’s research group, case studies and publications, an Ecocultures blog, and updates on upcoming events and initiatives. Updates can also be found on the programme’s acebook page and via witter.  For further information, please contact Prof. Böhm or Dr. Zareen Bharucha. Full contact details here.