Sustainable Lifestyles: Addressing Climate Change & Social Inequity

Date & Time: Tue, April 7 at 6:00PM
Venue: Zoom Webinar (details will be provided after registration)
Eventbrite Registration Page:

To address climate change, we need to get at people’s seemingly insatiable desire for more stuff and our economy’s relentless demands for growth. Real carbon reductions, while maintaining our well-being, will only happen when we make deep changes — attitudinal, behavioral, and institutional — towards less material and energy-intensive lifestyles. It’s a big topic and we’re excited to tackle it in partnership with SCORAI and co-sponsor SERC at U Mass Boston.

Philip Vergragt, Halina Brown and Vesela Veleva of SCORAI will lead us through their insights and discuss what it takes to live a sustainable lifestyle and enjoy sustainable well-being. They will remind us about the various “actors” in our system, what role they play, and what they can do to contribute to this transformation. Most importantly, they have brought along Box Save, Lime, Fix-It Clinic Newton, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA to demonstrate how they are doing it through new business models, grassroots innovations, policy initiatives, or other actions. They will tell us how they wrestle with making changes in people’s lifestyles while keeping an eye on the bigger picture – a systemic transformation to a post-consumerist economy and culture.

In this event, we will:

  • Introduce SCORAI, the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative
  • Ask each other what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle or enjoy sustainable wellbeing
  • Touch on tactical means to achieve those ends like driving less and differently, living in smaller houses, and owning less stuff.
  • Set the stage for the different types of actors (e.g. individuals, businesses, civil society organizations, interest groups, policy makers, governments etc.) and how they can contribute to a transformation to sustainable lifestyles and sustainable wellbeing.

Our Presenters:

Philip Vergragt, PhD. Philip is one of the founders of SCORAI. He is an Associate Fellow at Tellus Institute, Cambridge, MA, and a Research Professor at Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester, MA. Before his retirement, he was a Professor of Technology Assessment at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He is also a local climate activist in Newton, MA. His main research interests are visioning and backcasting; sustainable technological and social innovations in transportation, energy, and housing; grassroots innovations; socio-technical transitions; sustainable consumption and production; sustainable cities; and technology assessment of emerging technologies. He has co-authored more than 100 scientific publications and four books. Philip holds a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, in 1976.

Halina Brown, PhD. Halina is Professor Emerita of Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University. Her recent academic research has focused on the interface between culture, technology and policy in facilitating a transition beyond the current consumer society. Prior to joining Clark University Brown was the chief scientist at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection where she was responsible for the agency’s public health policy. She is a co-founder and board member of SCORAI and chairs the Citizens Commission on Energy in Newton. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the International Society for Risk Analysis. Halina holds a doctoral degree in chemistry from New York University and has authored 80+ articles and four books, most recently “Social Change and the Coming of Post-Consumer Society (2017, with Maurie Cohen and Philip Vergragt).

Vesela Veleva, ScD. Vesela is senior lecturer in management, MBA Program Director, and co-director of SERC at UMass Boston. Her research focuses on sustainable production and consumption, the role of entrepreneurs in advancing the circular economy, green chemistry, environmental health and safety, and clean energy. Vesela has published over 25 peer reviewed articles and business cases as well as a book entitled: “Business, Environment and Society: Themes and Cases”. Vesela has a doctorate in Cleaner Production and Pollution Prevention from UMass Lowell, M.S. in Pollution and Environmental Control from the University of Manchester, UK, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Varna, Bulgaria.

With Guests:

  • Doran Donovan (Box Save)
  • Susan Legere, PhD. (Fix-It Clinic, Newton)
  • Anna Wyner (Lime)
  • Monica Nakielski (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts)


SCORAI, founded in 2009, is an international knowledge network of 1200+ researchers and practitioners committed to building a flourishing and ecologically-sound society by changing the way we consume. It advances research, disseminates knowledge, impacts policies and supports campaigns. From June 10-12, 2020, SCORAI is organizing its 4th Bi-annual Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative Conference together with, and hosted by, Northeastern University at its campus.

ABOUT SERC at UMass Boston:

The mission of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) at UMass Boston is to foster a transition to a clean, sustainable, and prosperous economy. It leverages interdisciplinary expertise and engages in collaborations among businesses, universities, and policymakers to advance research, education, and innovative solutions for business sustainability and regional competitiveness.

A limited number of sponsorships is available for partners in the businesses sector and other institutions whose work aligns with SCORAI’s values.