Walking the Walk: The Association Between Community Environmentalism and Green Travel Behavior. Matthew E. Kahn and Eric A. Morris, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 75, No. 4, Autumn 2009
This American study asks if greenies ‘walk the walk’ and travel more sustainably than non-greens.
It also raises a fascinating political question: what might the political landscape of New Zealand (and USA, of course) look like today if the majority of new development in the past twenty years had been specifically oriented at creating more sustainable urban forms – to what extent has building sprawl-type and car-dependent development fostered anti-environmental and right-wing political views?
NEF have released the latest version of the “Happy Planet Index” (HPI – which, I’m afraid, just begs to be tagged as the Hippy Index…). The HPI is a composite index constructed out of three sets of data: life expectancy, life satisfaction, and ecological footprint (explanation starts p.52 of the Report Appendix, which can be found here).
Among other things there is a neat animated graphic showing countries’ performance on the index vs GDP over time (select the countries you wish to observe in the tick box menu on the right, then push the ‘play’ triangle bottom left).
Looking at New Zealand’s performance since 1961 (when the data set starts) what is striking is just how poorly we have performed on both counts: there was a steep rise in our HPI number, while GDP grew at only a modest rate. I thought it might be interesting to look more closely at the three indicators, using the background data NEF has made available here.