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Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1040; doi:10.3390/su8101040

Mindful Climate Action: Health and Environmental Co-Benefits from Mindfulness-Based Behavioral Training

1
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53715, USA
2
Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
3
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
4
Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
5
Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA
6
UW Health Mindfulness Program, Integrative Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53711, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rachel J.C. Chen
Received: 3 August 2016 / Revised: 23 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 17 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Changes: From Sustainability Perspectives)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1911 KB, uploaded 17 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

Greenhouse gases from human activities are causing climate change, creating risks for people around the globe. Behaviors involving transportation, diet, energy use, and purchasing drive greenhouse gas emissions, but are also related to health and well-being, providing opportunity for co-benefits. Replacing shorter automobile trips with walking or cycling, or eating plants rather than animals, for example, may increase personal health, while also reducing environmental impact. Mindfulness-based practices have been shown to enhance a variety of health outcomes, but have not been adapted towards environmental purposes. We designed the Mindful Climate Action (MCA) curriculum to help people improve their health while simultaneously lowering their carbon footprints. Combining mindfulness-based practices with the Stages of Change theory, the MCA program aims to: (1) improve personal health and well-being; (2) decrease energy use; (3) reduce automobile use; (4) increase active transport; (5) shift diet towards plant-based foods; and (6) reduce unnecessary purchasing. Mindfulness practices will foster attentional awareness, openness, and response flexibility, supporting positive behavior change. We plan to test MCA in a randomized controlled trial, with rigorous assessment of targeted outcomes. Our long-term goal is to refine and adapt the MCA program to a variety of audiences, in order to enhance public health and environmental sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: active transport; carbon footprint; climate change; co-benefits; environmental impact; health; meditation; mental health; mindfulness; sustainability active transport; carbon footprint; climate change; co-benefits; environmental impact; health; meditation; mental health; mindfulness; sustainability
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Barrett, B.; Grabow, M.; Middlecamp, C.; Mooney, M.; Checovich, M.M.; Converse, A.K.; Gillespie, B.; Yates, J. Mindful Climate Action: Health and Environmental Co-Benefits from Mindfulness-Based Behavioral Training. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1040.

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