Can Engagement in Environmentally-Friendly Behavior Increase Well-Being?
The transition to a sustainable society is an important goal in the coming years. For this transition individual behavior change is necessary. However, engagement in environmentally-friendly behavior may entail some level of discomfort or may involve giving up certain things. Consequently, it is often assumed that people see acting in an environmentally-friendly way as something that would decrease their quality of life. We argue that there is also a brighter view on environmentally-friendly behavior – a view in which engagement may even increase quality of life. In this chapter, we discuss the relationship between environmentally-friendly behavior and quality of life, and give several explanations for why positive and negative relationships might exist. Most importantly, we make a distinction between environmentally-friendly behavior as giving pleasure, and environmentally-friendly behavior as giving meaning, which both have implications for quality of life. Furthermore, we introduce the self-concept as a possible explanation for why engagement in environmentally-friendly behavior could increase quality of life, and discuss autonomy, individual values and the perceived environmental impact of the behavior as factors influencing when engagement could increase quality of life. Finally, we mention practical implications making the distinction between environmentally-friendly behavior as giving pleasure versus giving meaning may have.
KeywordsSustainable society Environmentally-friendly behavior Sustainable behavior Quality of life
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