From personal experience (cough cough), there are limits to the sacrifices that even the greenest of us are usually willing to make.* Now some academics seem to have proved it.
This paper explores the rapidly developing research agenda surrounding individual commitments towards the environment, manifested by a series of environmental practices. Such practices encompass a wide range of activities, including energy and water conservation, ‘green’ consumption and travel and tourism behaviours. Conventionally, researchers have chosen to study such activities individually, exposing the motivations behind specific behaviours. More recent research has suggested that ‘spillover’ effects (or generalisability) can occur between different types of activity, leading to a notion that a series of sustainable ‘lifestyles’ can be identified. However, these lifestyles have often been framed around home-based activities and have paid less attention to practices beyond thehome environment, particularly travel and tourism behaviours. This paper presents research that explored attitudes towards different forms of environmental practices, both within and beyond the home. Based on a series of focus group discussions with specific lifestyle groups, the paper highlights the contested nature of environmental practice in the UK and argues that whilst most individuals are willing to take steps in the home to be environmentally friendly, this rarely translates to tourism practices and raises questions concerning the viability of ‘sustainable lifestyles’ as a useful concept for exploring environmental practice.
* There are a handful of honourable exceptions. MCFly editors not among them.