Gopalakrishnan Netuveli, Institute of Health and Human Development, University of East London
As concerns for environment increased sustainable development has shifted from being desirable to essential. Concomitantly environmental activists have progressed from the first two generations characterised by conservation and preservation respectively to the third generation characterised by individual commitment. It has been theorised that the human being has an evolved sense of connectedness to nature ( the Biophilia hypothesis) and a small number of studies have shown the benefits of exposure to nature on health, especially mental health. Using BHPS data Ferrer-I-Carbonell and Gowdy (2005) demonstrated a positive association between environmental awareness and subjective wellbeing. In this study we use data from two waves of Understanding Society to investigate whether living in ‘green’ households is associated better with health and wellbeing. We defined ‘green’ households on the basis information on energy use and recycling from wave 1 and test their association with individual measures of life satisfaction, general happiness, GHQ12 measures, self-rated health and SF12 physical and mental health components, adjusted for individual level commitments to green activities, age, sex, and education. We found that living in ‘green’ households has a small but significant impact for better for all outcomes. Further analyses are being done to disentangle the effects of household, ego, and alter environmentalism on these health and wellbeing outcomes.