Urbanization in China Leading to Better Environmental Behavior

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Ben Cohen
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FastCompany reports on a fascinating trend in the ever expanding China that gives hope for a sustainable future:

City life appears to make Chinese residents better environmentalists. The study is published in the latest edition of the British journal Environmental Conservation.

The study examines whether people in the last year engaged in certain pro-environmental behavior: sorting recyclables, recycling plastic bags, discussing the environment with friends and family, volunteering at environmental organizations, or taking part in environmental litigation. It turned out that dwellers of China's largest cities--Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin, for instance--were more likely on average to engage in behaviors like these than people in smaller cities or rural dwellers.

According to the report, city dwellers are more educated than their country living counterparts, and are therefore more aware of environmental issues:

Urban dwellers have more access to educational initiatives encouraging green behavior and are more likely to be exposed to journalistic reports or PSAs on the topic. According to the study, the Chinese workplace appears to also hold considerable influence--the study notes that workplace leaders tend to report the greenest behavior of all.

With its massive investment in green technology and renewable energy resources, China really could lead the world in sustainable living and provide a model for the rest of the major polluting countries to follow.