• behaviour change;
  • environmental responsibility;
  • sustainable consumption;
  • social practices


This paper contributes to a growing body of literature highlighting the limitations of behaviour change and the emergence of a social practice approach to reframe responses to escalating resource consumption. Drawing insights from interviews with Australian households and workshops with behaviour change practitioners, we demonstrate how the ‘Going Green’ discourse, which focuses on targeting individuals to participate in ‘easy’ sustainability actions, overlooks the majority of consumption implicated in everyday practices. This leaves unchallenged the complex ways in which our lives are becoming more resource intensive. We argue for an ontological framing of social change underpinned by theories of social practice. Rather than considering policies, regulations and infrastructures involving urban form, housing, transport and infrastructure provision as ‘external factors’ separate from behaviour, practice theories accord them integral status in the constitution of social order and change. This represents a more challenging agenda for practitioners and governments in shifting and transforming everyday life. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment