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Encouraging environmental action by citizens in developed nations has become a major priority for governments who are seeking to reach environmental targets by exhorting individuals to participate in a range of behaviours to ameliorate the negative impact of their lifestyles. Such activities conventionally include energy saving, water conservation, waste management and forms of ‘green’ consumption. Current policy discourses are focused around a linear model of behaviour, which assumes that an awareness of environmental problems and knowledge of how to tackle them will lead to individual ameliorative actions. This paper explores these assumptions by applying a previously developed conceptual framework (Barr et al. 2001) to a range of environmental actions, to show how a variety of different factors influence environmental action. Using data from a major (UK) Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research project in Devon, United Kingdom, data on environmental actions collected during the project are interrogated to uncover the relationships between environmental actions and how these are influenced by values, personal situations and attitudes. The research demonstrates that environmental action is structured around people's everyday lifestyles (rather than a compartmentalized notion of behaviour) and that these have radically different antecedents.

Keywords: conceptual framework; environmental attitudes; environmental behaviour; factor analysis; path analysis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2007.00266.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography University of Exeter Amory Building Rennes Drive Exeter, EX4 4RJ United Kingdom, Email: s.w.barr@exeter.ac.uk 2: Department of Geography University of Exeter Amory Building Rennes Drive Exeter, EX4 4RJ United Kingdom, Email: a.w.gilg@exeter.ac.uk

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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