'Going Green'? the limitations of behaviour change programmes as a policy response to escalating resource consumption

Susie Moloney, Yolande Strengers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


This paper contributes to a growing body of literature highlighting the limitations of behaviour change and the emergence of a social practice approach to reframe responses to escalating resource consumption. Drawing insights from interviews with Australian households and workshops with behaviour change practitioners, we demonstrate how the 'Going Green' discourse, which focuses on targeting individuals to participate in 'easy' sustainability actions, overlooks the majority of consumption implicated in everyday practices. This leaves unchallenged the complex ways in which our lives are becoming more resource intensive. We argue for an ontological framing of social change underpinned by theories of social practice. Rather than considering policies, regulations and infrastructures involving urban form, housing, transport and infrastructure provision as 'external factors' separate from behaviour, practice theories accord them integral status in the constitution of social order and change. This represents a more challenging agenda for practitioners and governments in shifting and transforming everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Policy and Governance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Behaviour change
  • Environmental responsibility
  • Social practices
  • Sustainable consumption

Cite this