Formal education is a central force in shaping children's values, thoughts and ambitions. But increasingly the media and marketers are just as, if not more, influential in shaping childhood.

This report examines how unsustainable lifestyles are passed on from one generation to the next by the influence of media, marketers and others. A fundamental question is asked: How do we raise up our children so that they no longer grow up learning to be consumers but instead learn to become guardians of sustainable living?

The report is being released at a time when many question the benefits as well as detriments of living in a consumer society. Many European families wish for a more sustainable lifestyle but are hindered by the existing structures that are in place in European society. The report identifies these structures, links them to family life styles and childhood development, and ultimately frames it within the wish for greater well-being.

The publication is available for free download online by clicking on this link (pdf). Alternatively, you can read it online by clicking here. Hard copies can be ordered by emailing The price is €8.00 a copy or €30.00 for 10 copies, including postage and handling.

The report was launched at a Sustainable Childhood symposium in Berlin, 15 November 2012.

For further information about the report and the research behind, including interview guidelines, please contact researchers Trine S. Jensen or Eirini Glyki.

Illustration: Alejandra Bize