What Motivates Green Living? A Qualitative Investigation of Sustainable Life Choices

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative enquiry was to map the psychological motives behind sustainable lifestyles. Narrative interviews with inhabitants (N = 8) of the ecovillage in Hurdal north of Oslo and the Sustainable Lives movement in Bergen were conducted. A thematic analysis shows that the informants express taking responsibility for climate change, which suggests that they perceive sustainability as a moral issue. They report a greater sense of alignment with their own values when living sustainably, something that is experienced as rewarding, but living sustainably is also recognized as more positive in own right. For example, the participants enjoy a lifestyle that is more social after a change to sustainable living. Nevertheless, there is acceptance that the informants sometimes have to live in ways that are less environmentally friendly in order to achieve the long-term goal; this duality helps them to continue their sustainable lifestyle even in the face of setbacks.

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Weme, A.V., Madsen, O.J. What Motivates Green Living? A Qualitative Investigation of Sustainable Life Choices. Hu Arenas 1, 409–430 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-018-0023-9

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Keywords

  • Sustainable lifestyle
  • Climate change
  • Ecovillage
  • Motivation
  • Narrative interviews