Happiness versus the Environment—A Case Study of Australian Lifestyles
Crafting environmental policies that at the same time enhance, or at least not reduce people’s wellbeing, is crucial for the success of government action aimed at mitigating environmental impact. However, there does not yet exist any survey that refers to one and the same population, and that allows the identifying relationships and trade-offs between subjective wellbeing and the complete environmental impact of households. In order to circumvent the lack of comprehensive survey information, we attempt to integrate two separate survey databases, and describe the challenges associated with this integration. Our results indicate that carbon footprints are likely to increase, but wellbeing levels off with increasing income. Living together with people is likely to create a win-win situation where both climate and wellbeing benefit. Car ownership obviously creates emissions, however personal car ownership enhances subjective wellbeing, but living in an area with high car ownership decreases subjective wellbeing. Finally, gaining educational qualifications is linked with increased emissions. These results indicate that policy-making is challenged in striking a wise balance between individual convenience and the common good.
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