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dc.contributor.authorLavelle, Mary-Jo
dc.contributor.authorFahy, Frances
dc.identifier.citationLavelle, M-J. and Fahy, F. (2016) ‘What’s Consuming Ireland? Exploring expressed attitudes and reported behaviours towards the environment and consumption across three study sites on the island of Ireland’. Irish Geography, 49(2), 29-54, DOI: 10.2014/igj.v49i2.1233en_IE
dc.description.abstractHousehold consumption levels are escalating across the island of Ireland. Although emissions from transport and construction sectors have experienced a temporary decrease due to the economic downturn, overall emissions are increasing. Despite this, there is a lack of baseline data on three key consumption areas that impact significantly on the environment: water, transport and energy. To address this gap in knowledge, the CONSENSUS Lifestyle Survey (CLS) was developed and implemented to explore expressed attitudes and reported behaviours towards the environment and consumption across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Opening with a critical review of previous perspectives adopted within attitude and behavioural research, this paper outlines the development of the CLS. Drawing on a survey of 1,500 respondents across three case study locations between 2010 and 2011, this paper adopts a framework of environmental behaviour to discuss the findings under the themes of ‘environmental concern variables’, ‘situational variables’ and ‘psychological variables’. Despite the expression of high levels of environmental concern and positive attitudes towards environmental protection and conservation, results reveal the persistence of valueaction gaps. Results indicate the importance of structural variables for shaping consumption behaviours, such as availability of services and the built environment in particular sectors. Socio-demographic factors were found to be important influences on the adoption of water-saving actions. Inflexible social norms about communal sharing and ownership of goods were also highlighted. The research reported in this paper provides a comprehensive response to international calls for baseline data on consumption behaviour.en_IE
dc.description.sponsorshipThis paper is based on research conducted as part of the CONSENSUS Project, which investigated household consumption, environment and sustainability in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland ( The authors would like to extend thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency for financial support for this research, which was financed by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 as part of the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) Programme 2007- 2015. Further thanks are extended to project advisory board members for their constant guidance and counsel during all stages of this research. Thanks also to the Local County Councils and Districts Councils for their continued support.en_IE
dc.publisherGeographical Society of Irelanden_IE
dc.relation.ispartofIrish Geographyen
dc.subjectEnvironmental behavioursen_IE
dc.subjectHousehold consumptionen_IE
dc.subjectIsland of Irelanden_IE
dc.titleWhat’s Consuming Ireland? Exploring expressed attitudes and reported behaviours towards the environment and consumption across three study sites on the island of Irelanden_IE
dc.contributor.funderEnvironmental Protection Agencyen_IE
dc.local.contactMary Josephine Lavelle, Health Promotion, School Of Medicine, Nui Galway. 5040 Email:

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