Schmitt, with co-author Rachael Shwom from Rutgers University, along with psychology professor Lara Aknin, and Jonn Axsen, a professor of resource and environmental management, collaborated on the study and found that performing a variety of eco-friendly behaviors involving meaningful interactions with other people were more strongly linked to feelings of satisfaction among people in Canada and the U.S.
Moreover, behaviors that were more costly in terms of time, money and effort were found to be more strongly related to life satisfaction than behaviors that had lower costs.
“These findings run counter to what many people and policy makers tend to assume about trying to convince people to change their current habits and choose eco-friendly behaviors,” said Schmitt.
The researchers analyzed 39 eco-friendly behaviors – such as buying food at a farmer’s market – to determine how they influence feelings of satisfaction. Their analysis revealed that majority of the eco-friendly behaviors were positively related to life satisfaction. (Related: Living Green Reduces Stress on Yourself and the Planet.)
This shows that the link between behavior and life satisfaction includes many different types of eco-friendly behaviors, ranging from turning off the tap while brushing your teeth to participating in local environmental activities.
“These findings have important implications for how we think about changing our behaviors in ways that we need to, if we want to mitigate climate change and other environmental problems,” said Schmitt.
“Instead of thinking of these changes only in terms of what they cost us, individuals and policy makers need to see eco-friendly behaviors as opportunities to do good for the environment, for humans and for other species," he added.
An article on Conserve-Energy-Future.com defines being "environmentally friendly" or eco-friendly as "the act of living with intent." The intent is to protect the environment from harm and to prevent as much harm from occurring through your interactions with, and behavior towards, the environment and its inhabitants. Some of these behaviors include:
Green living is not a one-time thing, but a lifestyle with a purpose, which will create a sustainable and satisfying life.