WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 19

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

Reframing Individual Responsibility for Sustainable Consumption: Lessons from Environmental Justice and Ecological Citizenship

Lucie Middlemiss

Environmental Values 19 (2010): 147-167. doi: 10.3197/096327110X12699420220518


In this paper I consider the concept of responsibility within sustainable consumption. The paper was inspired by interviews with individuals engaged in community action for sustainability, where respondents held a rather individualistic conception of responsibility. In order to develop a deeper understanding of responsibility I compare sustainable consumption, environmental justice and ecological citizenship literatures. This leads me to develop a new conceptual framework which explains responsibility in relation to the ecological footprint. This framework recognises both the responsibility of the individual for sustainable practice and the limitations on individual action due to their context. It also allows for differentiation between individuals' responsibilities given people's circumstances and their ability to engage with change.


Sustainable consumption, ecological footprint, responsibility, individualisation, practice theory

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Social Practice and the Evolution of Personal Environmental Values. Sarah Hards
Bearing the Weight of the World: On the Extent of an Individual’s Environmental Responsibility. Ty Raterman
Editorial: Response and Responsibility. Clive L. Spash

The Fundamental Role of Large-Scale Trust Building in Natural Resource Management. Karni Marcus

Download full text (PDF format) from IngentaConnect. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values.

Subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

Other papers in this volume

The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222