RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014

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318 Exploring energy, understanding environmentalism: changing behaviours and attitudes
Convenor(s) Stephanie Wyse (Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), UK)
Chair(s) Ed Hall (University of Dundee, UK)
Timetable Friday 29 August 2014, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Sherfield Building, Room 6
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2014@rgs.org
Energy, Identity and Place: Exploring Rural Landscapes of Energy Consumption
Erin Roberts (Cardiff University, UK)
Rural areas are the site and subject of fierce debate in the energy arena, provoking controversies regarding the installation of renewable and non-renewable power generation alike. Such place-protective action arises when change is perceived to threaten place-related identity processes, highlighting the affective bond between people and place. However, such conflicts pose the rural landscape as one delegated to the sole purpose of energy production; inherently disregarding rural dwellers and thus, dehumanising the landscape. Consequently, little is known about the everyday lives of rural people, more specifically, how the socio-spatial context may shape both their lifestyles and energy consumption. This poses the interesting question of what role, if any, does place attachment and identity play in rural dwellers’ energy consumption?

This paper draws on an on-going ESRC funded doctoral project that explores the role of socio-spatial practices in shaping household energy use in the rural county of Gwynedd, North Wales. Through focusing on the symbolic role of landscape, language and loss, present in narratives of place attachment in Gwynedd, this paper highlights the importance of exploring what connects people to place, and how this moulds their everyday energy consumption. By drawing on practice theory, biographical research traditions and geographical notions of place, this research produces rich, socio-spatial and temporal accounts of how rural household energy use has been shaped, and perhaps, how it may be transformed in the future.
Middle-class welfare or just environmentalism? Perceptions of equity, trust and environmental commitment in government subsidisation of domestic solar installations in Western Australia
Genevieve Simpson (University of Western Australia, Australia)
Western Australia’s policies regarding domestic solar installations are resulting in social inequality, with households receiving subsidies sourced from tariffs that are not means tested and are therefore paid equally by all consumers, even those on a low income. Additionally, variations in subsidisation over time have led to provision of rebates being a highly politicised issue.

The presentation will provide an overview of the results of a mail survey investigating these issues, implemented in six communities with different socio-economic and solar penetration levels. The research aims to determine whether householders perceive rebates and subsidies for householders as unjust or an acceptable outcome in order to secure the environmental benefits associated with installation of renewable energy systems.

Unlike other areas of similar research that seek to quantify inequity based on economic ramifications of changes to tariffs, this study seeks to quantify perceived inequity by allowing householders to define their own limits of acceptable cross-subsidisation. Given the favourable reception of renewable energy subsidisation by the general public, there is a question of whether domestic consumers have a preference for subsidisation measures that result in greater equality or support for large-scale renewable energy projects with greater environmental benefits.
Influencing organisations behaviour towards waste re-use
Purva Tavri (Kingston University, UK)
Sarah Sayce (Kingston University, UK)
Victoria Hands (Kingston University, UK)
As a part of an ongoing research the purpose of this paper is to build normative behaviour in businesses towards re-use, through conscious efforts of building associative strength using some of the identified behaviour theories. In this paper, re-use refers to the management and processing of materials or items which are re-use, re-purposed, repaired or redeployed thus delivering environmental, social or economic benefits to the businesses involved. The behaviour literature, in particular that on automaticity, perceived norms, situational norms, identity relevance, persuasion, normative beliefs and messages, social norms, misperceptions, ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate behaviour are highlighted. A theoretical framework based on content analysis of the key literature on theories of behaviour change which influence the uptake of re-use has been developed in the process. The proposed framework contributes by offering a uniform and coherent interpretation of different studies under a single theoretical framework. The papers also provides an industry evidence of progress towards re-use from case study literature and analyse its association with the behaviour theories. Furthermore, paper would involve a pilot case study that would seek ways by which a charity organisation could interface with small businesses in network to promote re-use.
The ageing population in Scotland and Fuel Poverty : A qualitative study on householders' attitudes, behaviours and strategies implemented for energy use.
Greta Barnicoat (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Mike Danson (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
One of the places we may start understanding the past is in exploring older peoples' experiences and attitudes. Over their lifetime, each person has embedded knowledge, routines and past and current cultural practice to share, with regards energy use. This longevity of experience in energy use will give the benefit of understanding a different past and how this has changed what people do and how they think about energy, when compared to younger generations today.
Within Scotland those in fuel poverty are commonly elderly and living on a low income. This is of growing concern as future fuel poverty and population predictions show both have rising trends. The paper presents findings from a pilot quantitative and a follow-up qualitative study of elderly residents from housing association households in rural Scotland. This research sought to gain an understanding of the range and depth of the practical and psychological strategies used for managing energy that are apparent in this distinct group and to hear how older people talk and feel about it. Consideration was given to whether they would use more energy if they could afford it or whether a cooler home environment, and ostensibly fuel rationing, is a positive choice. To comprehend how ingrained attitudes towards energy use are, suggestions of external supplier control - possible through development of Smart Metering and Smart Grid systems - were prompted to identify whether a different type of 'trade-off' could lead to new strategies or not.