Ecological citizenship and climate change: perceptions and practice

Johanna Wolf, Katrina Brown, Declan Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Ecological citizenship presents a normative account of how citizens should conduct their lives, reducing their environmental impact. Little research has characterised ecological citizenship in practice or in the context of climate change. Q methodology is applied to a case study in Canada to scrutinise how individuals respond to climate change. The results identify four factors - the communitarian, the systemist, the sceptic and the economist - three of which suggest strongly that participants act on perceived individual responsibility for climate change. Practising ecological citizenship motivates individuals' responses to climate change. The actions taken suggest that behavioural change is the result of a complex negotiation between living standards, knowledge of causes of and contributions to climate change, and perceived intensity of greenhouse gas emission. The practice of ecological citizenship involves individuals' actions as voters and consumers, and concerns the power and justice implications of a resource intensive Western lifestyle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-521
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this