This paper presents an analysis of barriers to the uptake of eco-friendly ways of life that is based upon an evolutionary complex systems approach to the workings of the mind and the choices that people make. It questions the effectiveness of price-based policies for promoting change and emphasizes the role of non-price factors and complementarities in choice. Inducing behaviour change may therefore require ensuring consumers’ lifestyle prerequisites are met. In the light of Hayek’s (1952) book The sensory order (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), the paper examines the systematic processes by which cognitions are formed and minds evolve, and potential for inducing changes via policy measures that aim to derail stereotypical lines of thinking. Though the paper’s theoretical perspective differs from the behavioural economics that underpins the ‘Nudge’ approach to policy, the paper’s analysis is intended to be complementary with the ‘Nudge’ approach.