Intr-o societate obsedata de imbogatire si care vede consumul ridicat ca o reteta a fericirii, grija fata de mediul inconjurator nu poate fi decat o piedica suparatoare in calea bunastarii si satisfactiei. Iata insa ca aceasta este o prejudecata eronata: aplecarea spre ecologie sporeste, in sine, fericirea personala. Aceasta este concluzia unui studiu intitulat „Are Psychological and Ecological Well-Being Compatible? The Role of Values, Mindfulness and Lifestyle”, realizat de cercetatorii Kirk Warren Brown si Tim Kasser, publicat in Social Indicators Research (2005) 74: 349–368.
Prezentarea generala a studiului:
„Happiness and ecological well-being are often portrayed as conflictual pursuits, but they may actually be complementary. In samples of adolescents (Study 1) and adults (Study 2), we tested this proposition and examined the role of three factors in promoting both subjective well-being (SWB) and ecologically responsible behavior (ERB). In both studies, individuals higher in
SWB reported more ERB. An intrinsic value orientation (Studies 1 and 2) and dispositional mindfulness (Study 2) related to higher SWB and ERB, while a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity (Study 2) related to higher ERB. Further analyses showed that the compatibility of SWB and ERB was explained by intrinsic values and mindfulness. These findings offer clues to a sustainable way of life that enhances both personal and collective well-being.”
Prejudecatile anti-(non-)ecologice, incurajate de consumerism
„Political discourse on the subject of ecological sustainability often suggests a conflict between human well-being and ecological welfare. For example, prior to the 1992 United Nations Rio Earth Summit, then-president George H. W. Bush stated that, ‘‘the American way of life is not up for negotiation’’ (McKibben, 2002).
Such discourse suggests that to keep from destroying the environment people must practice restraint, which may mean acting contrary to personal desires, needs, and ultimately, happiness. As long as environmentally responsible behavior is framed in selfsacrificial terms, individuals will be faced with tough choices about how to act, because while the majority of the general public wants a safe and healthy environment (Gallup and Newport, 1990; Merck Family Fund, 1995), they also want happy lives. This apparent trade-off may make people less likely to behave in ways that promote ecological well-being. Given widespread indications that the health of the environment is in serious danger (Abramovitz, 2003), in large part due to human consumption activity designed, ostensibly, to bolster personal well-being (United Nations Environment Programme, 2002), it is imperative to examine the veracity of the supposed trade-off between personal happiness and behavior that supports a healthy ecology.”
Treptat, prejudecata a fost demonstrata ca fiind falsa
„The purported conflict between human happiness and planetary welfare is countered by a small body of research findings suggesting that subjective well-being (SWB) and ecologically responsible behavior (ERB) may be compatible pursuits. For example, DeYoung (1996, 2000) found that environmental and prosocial behaviors (including frugality and community participation) provide intrinsic satisfactions that bolster personal well-being. Individuals have also reported more happiness at Christmas when they engaged in environmentally friendly holiday behaviors (Kasser and Sheldon, 2002), although they also reported somewhat lower
happiness when they limited their spending. Qualitative research by Eigner (2001) and Sohr (2001) suggested that personal well-being can be enhanced by involvement in environmental activism. These ideas are well-summarized by Myers and Diener (1995), whose review of happiness research concluded that the most important sources of life satisfaction are nonmaterial in nature. Thus, the pursuit of happiness does not appear to require consumptionbased, environmentally damaging activity.”
Rezultatele studiului de fata
„In a sample of adolescents and again in matched, demographically diverse national samples of adults differing in lifestyle, the present studies found that personal well-being and ecologically responsible behavior were complementary. That is, happier people were living in more ecologically sustainable ways. Further, we identified two factors – intrinsic value orientation (Studies 1 and 2) and mindfulness (Study 2) – that promoted both happiness and ecologically responsible behavior, and that helped to explain the positive association between Subjective Well-Being (SWB) and Ecological Responsible Behaviour (ERB) . These results weigh against the oft-stated belief that personal well-being and ecologically supportive behavior are necessarily in conflict, and instead suggest that a trade-off between the two is not a fait accompli. Instead, a mindful consideration of one’s inner states and behavior along with a set of values oriented more towards intrinsic than extrinsic aims appear to imultaneously benefit both individual and ecological well-being.”
Detasarea de „valorile” externe, materialiste, benefica pentru individ si mediu
„Past research has found both mindfulness (e.g., Brown and Ryan, 2003) and intrinsic values (e.g., Kasser and Ryan, 1996) to be associated with SWB. Why were these person-level variables also related to ERB? Intrinsic values are, by their very nature, not dependent on material goods for their fulfillment; thus, energy invested in intrinsic pursuits may mean less energy devoted to some of the consumptionbased activities reflected in the ecological footprint analysis and
certain of the environmentally friendly behaviors assessed here. For example, people holding more intrinsic values are unlikely to be very interested in large ‘‘trophy’’ homes or gas-guzzling vehicles that often reflect ostentatious displays of wealth or image enhancement. Further,
the focus on community that is a component of an intrinsic value orientation (Kasser and Ryan, 1996) might lead individuals try to decrease the ecological impacts of their behavior so as to benefit future human generations as well as other species.
Regarding mindfulness, this quality of consciousness may promote reflection on one’s consumption activity and greater choicefulness in the marketplace (e.g., Rosenberg, 2004), as already noted.”
„With material consumption levels on the rise worldwide, human quality of life may be at risk (Abramovitz, 2003). A scholarly and popular consensus is emerging that achieving sustainable societies will mean scaling back on our material lives (Winter, 1996; Brower and Leon, 1999). Yet convincing people to live in more ecologically sustainable ways will be challenging if people believe that their personal happiness will consequently suffer. The present findings are hopeful in pointing to a mutually beneficial relation between personal and planetary well-being, especially given that such supportive factors as mindfulness and intrinsic values can be cultivated (Grube et al., 1994; Baer, 2003).”
Asadar, odata ce oamenii se vor debarasa de preconceptia conform careia fericirea consta in consumul ridicat si ecologismul, limitand consumul, dauneaza fericirii, nu doar ca vom trai intr-un mediu mai sanatos, dar vom fi cel putin la fel de fericiti.
Capitalismul, inamicul mediului inconjurator
Trebuie subliniat in acest punct ca o astfel de schimbare de mentalitate este ingrunata considerabil in prezent de existenta capitalismului, care, in goana dupa profit, calca in picioare sanatatea si integritatea mediului. Intr-adevar, profesorul de sociologie de la Universitatea din Wisconsin, Erik Olin Wright, subliniaza bine in manuscrisul cartii sale „Envisioning Real Utopias” conflictul care exista intre capitalism si ecologie. In Capitolul 3 intitulat „What's so bad about capitalism”, Wright noteaza:
„Capitalism significantly contributes to environmental problems
First, the systematic pressure on profit-maximizing firms to generate negative externalities means that in the absence of some strong countervailing pressure, capitalist firms will ignore environmental costs. This is a stronger claim than a simple argument about rational action of individuals with selfish motives. Individuals may litter the environment by throwing a can out of a car window because this is a low-cost way of disposing a can and they are indifferent to its negative impact on others, but it is not the case that there are strong pressures on individuals to act this way. Capitalist firms face competitive pressures to reduce costs, and externalizing those costs on the environment is a good strategy of doing this. This pressure cannot be countered by the market itself; it requires some form of non-capitalist intervention either by the state or by organized social forces.
Second, nonrenewable natural resources are systematically under-priced in the market since their value to people in the future is not registered in the dynamics of supply and demand in the present. The result is that actors in capitalist markets over-consume these resources. Capitalist markets are inherently organized around relatively short time horizons, and thus the only way that the value to future generations of these resources can be taken into account in decisions about present uses is through the imposition of constraints on capitalism, again, by the state or by organized social forces.
Finally, the strong bias towards consumerism in the dynamics of capitalist markets has dire ecological consequences. In principle productivity growth could be quite beneficial for the environment, since this means that fewer inputs are needed to produce a given output. However, the bias generated by capitalist competition towards the expansion of markets and the consumption of ever-greater quantities of things means that productivity growth is, in general, translated into more production and higher consumption standards within capitalism. Particularly if we look at this issue in global terms in which economic growth in parts of the developing world fuels consumerism as a world-wide phenomenon, it is hard to imagine how this could be ecologically sustainable. This does not mean that consumption standards in poor countries shouldn’t rise. By any standard of social justice, this is desirable. But it does imply that an economic system that fosters escalating consumerism in already rich countries and blocks any long-term plan to constrain consumption growth is environmentally destructive.”
Asadar, natura sistemului capitalist incurajeaza goana dupa profitul imediat si consumerismul, ambele indiferente si chiar ostile fata intentiile ecologiste. Renuntarea la capitalism, impreuna cu adoptarea unei ideologii precum cea a downshifting-ului, axata pe valorile intrinseci, consum si industrie drastic limitate, un impact minimal asupra mediului inconjurator, este o astfel de solutie.