Critical Reflections on a “Big Tent” Approach to Reducing Consumption


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Keith R. Brown, Saint Joseph's University, 5600 City Line Ave., 366 Merion Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395 [e-mail:].


Markowitz and Bowerman (2011) show that Oregonians overwhelmingly support the goal of consuming less. They argue that consumer-oriented public policies could provide a big tent approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On the basis of sociological research examining the link between attitudes and action, I argue that the authors are not yet in a position to advocate for policies on the basis of respondents desire to “consume less.” Nevertheless, more research into this issue is clearly warranted. If the authors are correct that consumption provides a means for overcoming ideological divides about greenhouse gas emissions, the potential environmental benefits would be significant.