Living Well and Living Green: Participant Conceptualizations of Green Citizenship
For many people, sustainable behavior can be clearly articulated through an array of consumer choices made every day based on: where products come from, the environmental impact of the ingredients in household products, and how products are disposed of at the end of their life cycle. But outside of consumerism, are there other avenues an individual might explore in the pursuit of living a sustainable lifestyle? In an activity called Conceptual Content Cognitive Mapping (3CM) completed by environmentally-concerned academics and professionals, this study asked what it means to be a green citizen. Green citizenship, as understood and lived by our participants, transcends multiple levels of involvement that extend beyond consumer behavior. Green citizens embrace their individual agency to affect change, while recognizing the socially embedded nature of their actions. Beyond the support of community networks, green citizens also identify higher institutional structures as both conduits and barriers to change. Implications for constructing supportive pathways to sustainable participation focusing on the whole citizen, rather than just the consumer, will be discussed.
KeywordsGreen citizen Green consumer Conceptual content cognitive map (3CM)
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