Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Some Correlates of Pro-Environmental Behavior

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Some Correlates of Pro-Environmental Behavior

Article excerpt

The world has reached a state where severe environmental problems have threatened the existence of life on this planet. Stakeholders, including the civil society, have felt the need for sustainable development. To attain sustainability a sharp debate between developmentalists and environmentalists has come up throughout the world.

In developing countries like India and China, the primary priority of government is to improve citizens' living standards. Environmental problems that are included by citizens' activities have not been given enough attention. There is a paradox between the faith of traditional culture characterized by non-anthropocentrism and citizens' some unreasonable environmental behaviors (Zhang, Y., Zhang, L. H., Zhang, J., & Cheng, 2014).

Research indicates that local residents' beliefs about the inherent linkage between people and nature have been gradually weakened, especially for some young people. Their values, moral and behavioral norms have been changing (Li, Zhang, & Zhoo, 2003). Hence, they do not engage in pro-environmental behaviors unless they are aware of socioeconomic losses due to a negative environmental impact. Local residents and especially young people play a very important role in environmental conservation and sustainable development.

Pro-environmental behavior is a behavior, which is generally (or according to knowledge of environmental science) judged in the context of the considered society as a protective way of environmental behavior or as a tribute to the healthy environment. Literature on pro-environmental behaviors consists of two major streams: one focuses on socio-demographic factors and the other focuses on socio- psychological factors. A number of studies in the former stream has identified that age, gender, socioeconomic status, education, ethnicity, religion are factors underlying pro-environmental behaviors (Bernath & Roshewitz, 2008; Johnson & Johansson, 2004).

In India, studies on environmental problems have been focused on crowding. The relationship between environmental world views and perception of the local environmental problems, their risks for people and nature and the consequences on health are the main concerns of Indian studies (Jain & Pandey, 2010).

Markowitz, Goldberg, Ashton, Lee (2012), found that there is a considerable scientific interest in the psychological correlates of pro-environmental behaviors, using a wide variety of behavior and personality measures. The study found moderate positive correlation of values for environment with environmental activities in both community sample and an undergraduate student sample. They further found that individuals' oneness with environment was fully mediated by individual's environmental attitude and connection to the nature.

Oneness Belief is the expansion of one's sense of identity to include various aspects of the world, both human and non-human. Specific indicators of feelings of interconnection with nature and future are relevant to environmental beliefs and behavior (Hoot & Friedman, 2011). In a study, Garfield, Dunlap, McCraight (2014) found that physical oneness was positively correlated with pro-environmental attitudes. Spiritual oneness was a better predictor of pro-environmental attitude than religion oneness.

Environmental values relate to values beyond self interests. Values not only represent a society's most central cultural features, but are also fundamental factors influencing individuals' attitudes, beliefs, world views, norms and behaviors (Cordano, Dunlap, Van Liere, 2010). Many studies have shown that values cannot impact pro-environmental behaviours directly, but they do so via other factors such as personal norms and environmental beliefs (Steg & Sievers, 2005). Nevertheless, research conducted by Schultz, Gouveia, Cameron, Tankha, Schmuck, & Frnek (2005), verified that there was weak and direct relationship between values and pro environmental behaviors. …

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