chapter  6
The problem of habits for a sustainable transformation
WithHarold Wilhite
Pages 11

This chapter explores the theories and policies associated with sustainable energy consumption, contending that mainstream theory has not delivered a robust enough policy platform to engender significant reductions in the environmental impacts of consumption. It explains that there are unresolved debates within the domains of research that traditionally focus on the 'good life' as to what it means and what sets it off as a set of either ideals or practices. The chapter argues that at the level of household, energy intensive habits have formed and their environmental consequences accelerated over the course of the twentieth century. It articulates a theory of habit and point to potential policy levers for breaking and reforming consumption-intensive habits. This chapter brings the discussion back to habits and social learning, the internet facilitates experimentation with new ways of doing things and this is important to unlocking habits. These insights on habits can be important sources of inspiration for sustainable energy policy.