Faculty Advisor

Weisz, Carolyn

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2019

Abstract

Reducing greenhouse gas contributions is increasingly critical in order to lessen global consequences of climate change. Despite this, U.S residents’ shift towards practicing pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) has been slow. This study investigated factors that predict everyday PEBs, including people’s beliefs about impact, difficulty of performing, and meaningfulness of PEBs, as well as perceived social norms, and the actor’s own sense of environmental identity. We predicted that people would participate in more PEBs if they believe that the behaviors are easy, meaningful, impactful, and reflect norms in their social environment. We also explored differences in the factors associated with individual and systemic PEBs. 209 participants responded to eight prompts that asked about 20 PEBs (e.g. recycling, signing environmental petitions), answered demographic questions, and completed a measure of environmental identity. We found that all dimensions were positively and statistically significantly correlated with practicing PEBs. We also found that meaningfulness was the strongest predictor and that generally students reported practicing individual PEBs more than systemic PEBs. Our research contributes to better understanding of how and why UPS students are practicing environmentalism, and potential ways to strengthen that engagement.

Publisher

University of Puget Sound

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