Practice of Environmentally Significant Behaviours in Rural China: From Being Motivated by Economic Gains to Being Motivated by Environmental Considerations.

Research paper by Yanyan Y Chen

Indexed on: 23 Aug '17Published on: 23 Aug '17Published in: Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland)


A continuous and increasing crisis that present-day China is facing is environmental degradation. The cultivation of citizens who have environmentally friendly behaviours has been deemed as a fundamental way to solve environmental crises. However, the main focus of environmentalism studies has been urban residents, whereas rare research attention was put on rural Chinese. This paper focuses on environmentally significant behaviours in rural China and aims to clarify the practice of five environmentally significant behaviours and two motivations underlying these behaviours. In total, 508 rural residents in 51 villages of Ningyang county were interviewed. Analytical results derived from survey data showed that environmentally significant behaviours are widely conducted in rural areas. However, these behaviours are mainly motivated by economic gains rather than environmental considerations. In addition, based on the norm-activation theory and considering the influences of demographic factors, the formation of environmentally motivated behaviours were quantitatively analysed. Analytical results indicated that the more people worried about environmental deterioration, the more likely they were to form environmentally motivated behaviours, and people who ascribe the most important environmental responsibility to the government are less likely to form environmentally motivated behaviours. Increasing people's anxiety towards the environment, decreasing people's dependency on the government in protecting the environment, and using females, the elderly, and people with low income and education levels as the main targets of environmental education are suggested to promote environmentally motivated behaviours in rural China.