Navigation Links
Big city life may make residents lean toward green, study says

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 education programs, volunteered in environmental organizations or took part in environmental litigation.

People who live in larger cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin showed significantly more of this green behavior than people in smaller cities.

But Chen emphasizes it's about employment not money a finding that flies in the face of some traditional thought that pegged green attitudes as a luxury of the fiscally comfortable.

"You don't have to be rich to consider environmental issues," Chen said. "Even if people are poor and their material needs are not as well met, they still consider the environmental quality because those people may be threatened more by environmental problems."

The workplace appears to be a strong leader in environmental education, a dynamic that may be particularly powerful in China, which has a tradition of policies and regulations being shaped from the top down. Employers, with their accompanying status and political power, are proving to be powerful drivers of conservation, and those workers who are workplace leaders report the most environmentally friendly behavior.

Chen said companies in big cities likely have more resources to promote environmental initiatives, such as education. He also said people who live in the largest cities are more widely exposed to media reports about the environment.

The findings will help China, as its urban areas continue to grow, determine which audiences to target to encourage behaviors that can help counter the environmental costs associated with rapid economic growth.


Contact: Jamie DePolo
Michigan State University

Related biology news :

1. Houseplants increase quality of life for retirement community residents
2. 57 college presidents declare support for public access to publicly funded research in the US
3. Study finds low vitamin-d levels in northern California residents with metabolic syndrome
4. Taking the next step toward advanced artificial limbs
5. Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
6. Scientists announce major progress towards historic Census of Marine Life in 2010
7. Study a step toward disease-resistant crops, sustainability
8. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on the trend toward predictive toxicogenomics
9. Toward a systems biology map of iron metabolism
10. Attitudes towards assisted reproduction and preimplantation genetic diagnosis
11. NIST guides genetic genealogy labs toward improved accuracy
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Big city life may make residents lean toward green, study says
(Date:11/9/2015)... Nov. 09, 2015 ... of the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics ... --> ) has announced ... Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... Markets ( ) has announced the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... LA JOLLA, Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... released a new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: ... how well the Department of Health and Human Services ... was issued in 2010. --> ... advances, but it also has the potential to pose ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015 Today, LifeBEAM ... partnership with 2XU, a global leader in technical ... smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat ... to monitor key biometrics to improve overall training ... the two companies will bring together the most advanced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today ... following conference, and invited investors to participate via webcast. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms ... there are no corporate developments that would cause the ... --> --> About Aeterna Zentaris ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton ... th Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City ... EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh industrial processes, the ... in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process media is a ... sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process conditions. They combine ...
Breaking Biology Technology: