Leisure and sustainable development in Norway: part of the solution and the problem

Carlo Aall, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Agnes Brudvik Engeset, Silje Elisabeth Skuland and Eli Støa


The article presents the results of two succeeding Norwegian studies on the environmental impacts of leisure consumption. The first study presents data on the total consumption of leisure products and services by Norwegians, showing that leisure consumption increases more than everyday consumption, the most energy-intensive leisure activities increase the most, leisure activities have become more dependent on transportation and that leisure activities are to an increasing extent based on more material consumption. The second study consists of case studies from four leisure activities in Norway that have experienced the greatest increases in consumption over the last two decades: outdoor recreation clothing, cabins, leisure boating and leisure transportation.

The case studies show that the problems connected with reducing the environmental impacts of leisure consumption are numerous and complex, and cannot be solved alone by technological improvements in leisure products and services. We conclude that new policies have to be developed which can on a short-term basis promote changes of leisure consumer habits in a more environmentally friendly direction, and on a long-term basis alter the existing strong links between economic growth and leisure consumption.

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