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Community renewable energy groups in Australia and the relationship between individual and collective pro-environmental behaviour

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posted on 2022-08-18, 04:41 authored by Anisha Humphreys

Pro-environmental behaviour, defined as a conscious attempt to minimise the negative impact of actions on the natural and built environment, has traditionally been framed in terms of individual action. Whilst such individual behaviour is important, collective efforts are also essential to scale up the impact of environmental actions and mitigate environmental problems such as climate change. In this context, community renewable energy projects offer an important arena for understanding both individual and collective behaviour. While much is understood about types of individual and collective pro-environmental behaviour, less research has been undertaken on the relationship between such forms of behaviour, particularly in the context of community energy groups. In addition, while the literature on community renewable energy groups has burgeoned, this remains dominated by case studies from Europe with limited examples highlighting the Australian context. This study aims to investigate the relationship between individual and collective pro-environmental behaviour of people involved in community renewable energy groups in Australia. The project draws on semi-structured interviews and group discussions with members of three case study community renewable energy groups in regional Victoria, Australia. Data is analysed using a framework for understanding pro-environmental behaviour developed by Barr and Gilg (2007) that explores how values, behavioural intentions, psychological variables, and situational variables influence behaviour. The findings highlight that the relationship between individual and collective behaviour is complex. Situational variables are primarily experienced individually but shape involvement in groups while psychological variables are manifest primarily in forms of collective behaviour because of the efficacy of groups. Overall in regards to community renewable energy groups in Australia, the research highlights that collective behaviour provides an important means of overcoming some barriers experienced by groups but more work is needed to understand how behaviour can shape future engagement.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction -- Chapter 2: Literature review -- Chapter 3: Methodology -- Chapter 4: Individual pro-environmental behaviour -- Chapter 5: Collective pro-environmental behaviour -- Chapter 6: Discussion -- Chapter 7: Conclusion -- References -- Appendix A: Ethical approval from Macquarie University -- Appendix B: Interview and group discussion questions


A Masters of Research thesis

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, 2020

Department, Centre or School

Department of Geography and Planning

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sara Fuller


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