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‘I’m not a tree hugger, I’m just like you’: changing perceptions of sustainable lifestyles

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Publication details

JournalEnvironmental Politics
DateE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sep 2014
DatePublished (current) - 2015
Issue number1
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)57-74
Early online date16/09/14
Original languageEnglish


For many in the Western world, there is increasing recognition of the fundamentally unsustainable nature of everyday actions and modes of consumption that form part of normal life. Some individuals attempt to challenge current ways of consuming and living in order to address these underlying issues. However, these efforts often continue to be positioned as unusual or unconventional, meaning that adopting sustainable lifestyles may be subject to wider negative perceptions. At the same time, some forms of action towards sustainable ways of living are becoming increasingly normalised as more people make moves towards sustainable consumption. Drawing on data from the qualitative longitudinal Energy Biographies project, we consider the experiences of those who describe their efforts to live sustainably, the relationship between sustainability and normality, and the implications of this in a context of fundamental trends towards unsustainable social systems.

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© 2014 Taylor & Francis. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Environmental Politics. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.

    Research areas

  • ecovillage, energy, qualitative longitudinal, sustainable lifestyles

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