Individual and community action Removing barriers

Public opinion studies conducted in the UK in recent years show that people are increasingly concerned about climate change and the impacts it will have on their lives and those of future generations (Future Foundation, 2006). There is also an increasing trend, albeit a small one, towards sustainable consumption and the purchase of 'environmentally friendly' products such as organic produce and goods produced from low carbon sources. However, there is a clear lack of knowledge and understanding that people's everyday behaviour at home is linked to increased national energy use and thus increased global emissions. People may buy into the organic trend and purchase A-rated white goods, but still leave the lights on at home. In other words, many people are part-way on the journey to becoming more like the 'green citizens' described in Box 10.2, but still follow some of the patterns of the 'brown consumers' (Box 10.1). There is a clear case for increasing awareness of energy use and how this links to people's routine behaviours at home, and for more effective advice on ways people can use energy more efficiently and reduce consumption where possible.

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