Consumers on the March, 1960s to 1990s


Project team at European Society for Environmental History conference

From 4-8 July 2022, the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) will host its international conference at the University of Bristol, UK. The conference, titled “Same planet, different worlds: environmental histories imagining anew” moves from the premise of an entangled world: a global pandemic, a shared ecological crisis and climate catastrophe, and considers the discipline of environmental history herein.

The Consumers on the March team will participate in various parts of the conference. Liesbeth van de Grift has organised the panel ‘Sustainable consumption: tracing its historical roots and evolution’, which aims to gain insight in the various framings of sustainable consumption – especially those ideas and practices that emerged before they were labelled as such. By examining a variety of case studies, ranging from the regulation of cosmetics in Canada to Greenpeace International’s position vis-à-vis consumption, this multidisciplinary panel, chaired by Koen van Zon, will begin to reconstruct the genealogy of sustainable consumption as both an idea and a body of regulatory practices.

Alessandra Schimmel and Koen van Zon have organised the panel ‘Green allies? Interest groups and environmental protection in post-war Europe’. As environmental protection became an increasingly important policy concern in Europe from the 1970s onwards, a range of societal actors played an active role in this development. In addition to environmental organisations, groups which represented other interests (such as corporations and consumer organisations) also engaged with environmental issues – a dynamic that has received little attention thus far. The panel aims to highlight the (changing) relation of established interest groups that engaged with environmentalism and its advocates, furthering our understanding of how and why environmental protection has gained salience since the 1970s.

Click here for more information and the conference programme in full.