On 15 November 2010, SDRN published the outputs of a new Rapid Research and Evidence Review, entitled ‘Environmental Citizenship and Pro-Environmental Behaviour’.
The Review was undertaken by Professor Andrew Dobson of Keele University and provides an overview of research evidence relating to environmental citizenship; considering the origins of the term, exploring how it is defined and the characteristics of ‘environmental citizens’. It asks whether approaches based on environmental citizenship could be used as a means of encouraging pro-environmental behaviour and sets out more specific policy recommendations for how this may be done.
Though definitions vary, ‘environmental citizenship’ can be thought of as pro-environmental behaviour, in public and in private, driven by a belief in fairness of the distribution of environmental goods, in participation, and in the co-creation of sustainability policy. While policies aimed at ‘nudging’ individuals to change their behaviour rely on the provision of expert-informed choices, environmental citizens co-create the circumstances in which they act, resulting in lasting pro-environmental behaviour change and community benefit.
Though the review identifies clear benefits of using environmental citizenship to promote pro-environmental behaviour change, citizens can only bring about change with support. The challenge for government is to mobilise civil society in a way which promotes environmental citizenship. Suggestions for policy action include the provision of greater opportunities for individuals to take part in local environmental decision-making, the creation of more opportunities for civic engagement and volunteerism, and the support of new tools for promoting community connection.
The review is the fifth in an ongoing series of reviews commissioned by the SDRN. The reviews are intended to serve as a clearly structured, rapid, and cost-effective way of improving the transfer of evidence, and facilitating links between researchers and policy-makers.
Download the SDRN Environmental Citizenship and Pro-Environmental Full Report.
Download the SDRN Environmental Citizenship and Pro-Environmental Behaviour Briefing.
For further information about the Review, please contact the SDRN team.