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Big city life may make residents lean toward green, study says
Date:1/18/2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. The downsides of China's explosive urbanization like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions now are joined by an upside: Better environmental citizens.

It's the first time scientists have weighed employment and leadership when considering environmental behavior in China's cities. In the latest online edition of the British journal Environmental Conservation, scientists at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University and collaborators in the U.S. and China show that city size especially the good jobs there -- lead people to pro-environmental behavior, like recycling plastic bags and sorting their trash.

"It is essential to study human behavior because behavior directly affects the environment," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, center director and a co-author on the paper. Liu holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at MSU. "As China is the world's fastest growing economy and cities are the economic engines with severe environmental challenges, understanding environmental behavior of urban residents in China is particularly important "

Xiaodong Chen, who conducted the study while working on his doctorate at MSU, and his colleagues took advantage of China's General Social Survey of 2003 a year in which some 5,000 respondents in urban areas of different sizes were asked specifically about their environmental behavior. The study was administered jointly by the Survey Research Center of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Department of Sociology at Renmin University of China.

Scientists have studied environmental attitudes for years, but the paper notes that it's behavior that ultimately counts to conservationists. This survey addresses just that: if in the last year people had sorted their garbage to separate recyclables, recycled plastic bags, talked about environmental issues with family or friends, participated in environmental ed
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Contact: Jamie DePolo
depolo@msu.edu
609-354-8403
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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