The household, a key focus for many areas of government policy, now looms very large in debates about urban environmental sustainability. The desire for change in household practices informs environmental policy, education and awareness campaigns and is increasingly framed in terms of public ethics and individual responsibilities for environmental sustainability. The geographic scale of the household, we suggest, is more familiar and comprehensible for many lay people than most of the other geographic scales involved in discussions of environmental sustainability, and consequently lends itself to a more inclusive and broad ranging public debate. However for this very reason it also entails many assumptions about the 'normal' practices of mundane domestic life and the motivations of householders for their behaviour and decisions.
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