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Sustainable Household Capability: which households are doing the work of environmental sustainability?

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This paper presents a framework for analysing which households are doing ‘their bit’ for sustainability in an era of climate change, using a two-stage cluster analysis of sustainable household capabilities. The framework segments households by their reported level of commitment to ‘pro-sustainability’ practices common to conventional government policies. Results are presented from a large-scale survey of Wollongong households, New South Wales, Australia. Results illustrate the importance of approaching household sustainability through everyday practices. Attention is drawn to the wide variation in participation in specific household sustainability practices. Investigation into sustainable household capability by household segments shows the limits of even the most committed households. Results show the importance of socio-cultural contexts in differentiating sustainable household capabilities—with women, suburban-detached households and lower income segments of the population ultimately doing most of the work of being sustainable.

Keywords: Household sustainability; Wollongong; capabilities; climate change; pro-sustainability behaviour

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences,University of Wollongong, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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