Fun environmentalism! Potential contributions of autonomy supportive psychology to sustainable lifestyles

Cooke, Anna and Fielding, Kelly (2010) Fun environmentalism! Potential contributions of autonomy supportive psychology to sustainable lifestyles. Management of Environmental Quality, 21 2: 155-164. doi:10.1108/14777831011025508

Author Cooke, Anna
Fielding, Kelly
Title Fun environmentalism! Potential contributions of autonomy supportive psychology to sustainable lifestyles
Journal name Management of Environmental Quality   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1477-7835
Publication date 2010
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/14777831011025508
Volume 21
Issue 2
Start page 155
End page 164
Total pages 10
Place of publication Yorks, U.K.
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose – This paper seeks to outline a theoretical argument for movement towards a positive, holistic approach to environmentalism, one aspect of which is to make environmental action more satisfying, interesting, and fun. The paper aims to identify new approaches and techniques for individual behaviour change that can explain and promote the broad lifestyle change needed.

Design/methodology/approach – Self-determination theory was applied to the problem of unsustainable resource consumption by Australian households. To achieve sustainable levels of Australian household carbon emissions, individuals will have to adopt and maintain high impact pro-environmental behaviours across a number of behavioural domains.

Findings – It is hypothesised that motivation type will be a critical factor in bringing about personally sustainable changes. In particular, self-determined (autonomous) motivation will be essential for generalisation of pro-environmental behaviour. It is also proposed that supporting other psychological needs of relatedness and competence for environmental action will further enhance self-determination for pro-environmental behaviour. If these hypotheses are supported, the next challenge is to identify optimal ways of promoting autonomous behaviour change, drawing on, and expanding from self-determination theory. Initial proposals for autonomy, competence, and relatedness supporting interventions are presented.

Practical implications – Changes achieved through the motivational approach have the potential to significantly impact household carbon footprints.

Originality/value – The paper moves away from incentive/punishment based approaches to changing pro-environmental behaviour and provides a rationale for a new approach that focuses on supporting optimal motivation types for maintained and generalised pro-environmental behaviour.
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Keyword Australia
Energy consumption
Sustainable development
Personal needs
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: Special issue from the Environment Research Event (ERE) 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 21 Mar 2011, 12:52:42 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology