Green tenants: practicing a sustainability ethics for the rental housing sector

Palmer, Jane and Instone, Lesley and Mee, Kathleen J. and Williams, Miriam and Vaughan, Nicola (2015) Green tenants: practicing a sustainability ethics for the rental housing sector. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 20 (8). pp. 923-939. ISSN 1354-9839

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Abstract

The shift towards social, government and corporate ethics which value environmental sustainability has also embraced householders in a plethora of educational guides, policies, regulations and consumer information about green home improvements, purchasing choices, and household practices. In this paper we make the claim that the rental housing sector, and in particular the private rental sector, has yet to participate, structurally, culturally and materially, in this shift to an ethics of sustainability. We argue however that even on such otherwise arid ground, an alternative ethic is developing, a sustainability ethic practiced by green tenants whose activities inside and outside their homes go beyond the considerable material constraints of their dwellings and incomes, and beyond the purely transactional utility of the rental contract. These activities, relational, interconnected and resilient, offer both glimpses of a greening rental housing sector, and a clearer picture of the areas where work remains to be done. Based on a research study we conducted of the rental sector in regional Australia, and in particular of the everyday sustainability practices of tenants, we suggest that these activities are a practice-based form of care for the world, in many ways similar to Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s practice-based, human-decentred ethics which she suggests is exemplified in the permaculture movement. The stories of the tenants we interviewed for our study also point the way to other changes which are needed to enable a practice-based sustainability ethic to flourish across the rental housing sector as a whole.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2016 03:45
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2016 01:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainability, environmental ethics, rental housing, ethical investment, household practices
Fields of Research : 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220102 Business Ethics
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220104 Human Rights and Justice Issues
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160605 Environmental Politics
12 Built Environment and Design > 1205 Urban and Regional Planning > 120507 Urban Analysis and Development
16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960702 Consumption Patterns, Population Issues and the Environment
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960703 Environmental Education and Awareness
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950403 Environmental Ethics
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950402 Business Ethics
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2013.879640
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/28149

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