One More Awareness Gap? The Behaviour–Impact Gap Problem
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Preceding research has made hardly any attempt to measure the ecological impacts of pro-environmental behaviour in an objective way. Those impacts were rather supposed or calculated. The research described herein scrutinized the ecological impact reductions achieved through pro-environmental behaviour and raised the question how much of a reduction in carbon footprint can be achieved through voluntary action without actually affecting the socio-economic determinants of life. A survey was carried out in order to measure the difference between the ecological footprint of “green” and “brown” consumers. No significant difference was found between the ecological footprints of the two groups—suggesting that individual pro-environmental attitudes and behaviour do not always reduce the environmental impacts of consumption. This finding resulted in the formulation of a new proposition called the BIG (behaviour–impact gap) problem, which is an interesting addition to research in the field of environmental awareness gaps.
KeywordsAwareness gaps Ecological footprint Sustainable consumption Recycling Environmental awareness
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