Christina Yion Ting

Institute For Social Research, Swinburne University Of Technology

Christina Ting is a PhD candidate with the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Her research interest lies in understanding individuals’ behaviour towards sustainable living and resource consumption such as water and energy with particular reference to culturally and linguistically diverse groups in multicultural societies and Australian cities. With a background in Geography, Social Studies and Environmental Sciences, and having worked in educational and community outreach areas, she intends to pursue further in the area to effect changes in sustainable living and environment especially among migrants through community education programmes and environmental activities.

Sustainable living in Australia’s multicultural society: An exploration of cultural differences in behaviours towards environment and consumption

Key 21st century challenges such as climate change, resource depletion and increasing population and increasing consumption, in a carbon- and resource- constraint world create an inquiry into the extent of individuals’ consumption-oriented behaviours towards sustainable living in developed countries like Australia. This inquiry seeks to understand how individuals, who are migrants from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) group and English as First Language (EFL) Australian-born group, depict sustainable living in their everyday consumption at home in Australia’s multicultural society.

This paper, in reporting from my current research on examining cultural influence on consumption, explores whether, there is any significant difference in level of consumption (as measured in ecological footprint) of China-born migrants prior to their migration to Australia compared to their present pattern of resource use in Australia and to analyse the extent to which change in ecological footprint has occurred due to acculturation or other factors. In addition, to investigate whether there are any differences in behaviours towards sustainable living practices and resource consumption between CALD and EFL groups and to analyse and account for the differences.

The exploration of these aims draws on a conceptual framework and the CALD Index to understand a community’s (CALD and EFL) contexts towards sustainable living and resource consumption. This framework consists of contexts such as cultural, individual, locational, socio-economics and demographics. The CALD Index as an indicator is used to calculate individuals’ interconnectedness or closeness to their ethnic groups. In addition, the CALD Index is measured against the migrants’ acculturation and resource consumption in Australia. The analysis and findings, which are based on interview material conducted with 132 individuals in a Metropolitan suburb of Melbourne, would be used to articulate the relationship between the CALD Index and individuals’ behaviours towards sustainable living and resource consumption.



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