Public messages use a variety of methods to encourage sustainable behaviour (i.e. pro-environmental behaviour), including emphasizing the intrinsic value of nature (the value of nature beyond its usefulness to people) and the relational value of nature (the value of people’s relationship with nature). In this study, we present the results of a survey of adults in the United Kingdom (n = 499) who completed questionnaires that reflected the intrinsic value of nature (intrinsic value beliefs and biospheric values) and two that reflected the relational value of nature (connectedness to nature and empathy towards nature). The sample reported that they perform low-cost behaviour very often (e.g. taking short showers), consumption behaviour less often (e.g. buying a product with less packaging material), and committed behaviour very rarely (e.g. participating in conservation work). No variable predicted low-cost behaviours. Biospheric values and connectedness to nature were found to predict consumption behaviour. Only the relational value beliefs (connectedness and empathy) predicted committed behaviour. The results have implications for presenting environmental messages from the point of view of the intrinsic and relational value of nature. Recommendations are made for future work in this area.
Beliefs about the intrinsic and relational value of the natural world: how do they relate to sustainable behaviour in the United Kingdom?
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