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ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0437-2923

Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

thesis

Embargo Period

8-15-2020

Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2020

Month Degree Awarded

September

Abstract

Mindfulness is defined as the ‘awareness that arises through paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, non-judgmentally’. Despite ample empirical evidence of its efficacy in inducing positive behavior change, almost no work has investigated the viability of using mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) to promote pro-environmental behavior. Some recent studies have demonstrated consistent correlational relationships between mindfulness levels and pro-environmental attitudes (e.g., connectedness to nature), intentions, and some pro-environmental behaviors (e.g., recycling, “green” purchasing decisions), but no past work has explicitly examined mindfulness in the context of energy saving behaviors. Results from both quantitative and qualitative research conducted as part of this project add to existing evidence of a link between engagement in mindfulness practices and pro-environmental engagement, including, but not limited to, household energy use behaviors. Results from a couple of quantitative studies that were a part of this project show that dispositional facets Observe and Non-React were significant predictors of self-reported household energy behaviors, along with frequent engagement with mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.

The results from the qualitative study present mindfulness to be a complex, multidimensional concept that is understood and experienced differently by different people. Unlike usually value-neutral academic and corporate conceptualizations, long-term practitioners who engage with the concept report their practice to have strong ethical dimensions. Engagement with mindfulness as a practice impacts practitioners' perceived connectedness to nature and supports their environmental behaviors. The study provides conceptual models that attempt to explain the relationship between mindfulness practice, connectedness to nature, and pro-environmental behaviors. Results from these studies suggest the possibility that mindfulness-based interventions could provide a novel approach to improving environmental behaviors though further research is needed to determine whether this is indeed the case. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.

First Advisor

Dr. Ezra Markowitz

Second Advisor

Lena Fletcher

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