Social Indicators Research

, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 275–294 | Cite as

Personal and Planetary Well-being: Mindfulness Meditation, Pro-environmental Behavior and Personal Quality of Life in a Survey from the Social Justice and Ecological Sustainability Movement

  • Jeffrey JacobEmail author
  • Emily Jovic
  • Merlin B. Brinkerhoff


Employing data from a mailed survey of a sample of ecologically and spiritually aware respondents (N = 829), the study tests the hypothesized relationship between ecologically sustainable behavior (ESB) and subjective well-being (SWB). The proposed link between ESB and SWB is the spiritual practice of mindfulness meditation (MM). In multiple regression equations ESB and MM independently explain statistically significant amounts of variance in SWB, indicating, for at least the study’s sample, that there can be a relationship between personal and planetary well-being. The inter-relationships among SWB, ESB and MM suggest that for specific segments of the general population (e.g., the spiritually inclined) there may not necessarily be an insurmountable conflict between an environmentally responsible lifestyle and personal quality of life. The research reported here also points to the potential for meditative/mindful experiences to play a prominent role in the explanation of variance in SWB, a direction in QoL studies recently highlighted by several researchers (Layard 2005, pp. 189–192; Nettle 2005, pp. 153–160; Haidt 2006).


Subjective well-being Ecological sustainability Mindfulness meditation Personal and planetary quality of life 



The research reported here was supported by a grant from the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, “Understanding Ecologically Sustainable Behavior: The Social-Structural and Ideological Sources of Environmental Commitment and Performance,” Jeffrey Jacob and Merlin B. Brinkerhoff, co-investigators.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Jacob
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Jovic
    • 2
  • Merlin B. Brinkerhoff
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate Division of Educational ResearchUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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