1993 volume 25(12) pages 1743 – 1758

Cite as:
Eden S E, 1993, "Individual environmental responsibility and its role in public environmentalism" Environment and Planning A 25(12) 1743 – 1758

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Individual environmental responsibility and its role in public environmentalism

S E Eden

Received 18 December 1992; in revised form 14 May 1993

Abstract. Individual environmental responsibility has been used by business and government in promoting public environmentalism through, for example, green consumerism, passive membership of environmental groups, and domestic recycling. Such responsibility has not yet been adequately addressed in academic work, although associated concepts of environmental concern, values, and behaviour have been studied in the last two decades. The author therefore looks at the role of environmental responsibility in public environmentalism and particularly at how this notion is articulated by individuals involved in a range of pro-environmental behaviours. Environmental responsibility is shown to be most significant where an individual believes in the efficacy of their pro-environmental behaviour and where the self is perceived to be a responsible agent compared with other social agents. The translation of this environmental responsibility into consistent behaviour proves to be complex and dependent upon the individual's social context as well as upon organised environmentalism.

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