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Exploring pro-environmental lifestyles and values in Canada

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Lifestyle can be defined as distinctive patterns of related actions or practices. A pro-environmental (or “green”) lifestyle might consist of several actions, such as recycling, conserving home energy use, or buying a hybrid vehicle. Engagement in lifestyle might be related to an individual's values, as well as other factors such as income and age. I use data collected from a representative sample of 1,216 Canadians to answer the following questions: i) what is green lifestyle and how does it fit in with other lifestyle practices? ii) What are the different types of green lifestyles? and iii) how do different core values influence citizen engagement in green lifestyles? Using factor analysis on data relating to activity engagement, I find that engagement in pro-environmental activities forms a unique lifestyle—separate from other lifestyles such as outdoor recreation. A second factor analysis on respondent engagement in specific green behaviours identifies 11 distinct pro-environmental lifestyles, including home electricity conservation, recycling, and purchasing efficient technologies. Finally, I use regression analysis to find that values are linked to lifestyle, where biospheric values are positively associated with engagement in 4 of the 11 pro-environmental lifestyles. Traditional values are positively associated with engagement in 2 of the pro-environmental lifestyles, and one lifestyle is associated with egoistic values. Other personal factors also help to explain green lifestyle engagement, including income, age, and type of residence (urban, suburban or rural). Future research may seek to understand the conditions, contexts, and motivations behind behaviour more thoroughly, in addition to understanding how societal influence affects behaviour in various parts of the world.
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