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Resources 2017, 6(4), 67; doi:10.3390/resources6040067

How Much Environment Do Humans Need? Evidence from an Integrated Online User Application Linking Natural Resource Use and Subjective Well-Being in Germany

1
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
2
Department of Industrial Design, Folkwang University of Arts, 45224 Essen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 8 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
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Abstract

We present the results of a regression analysis of a large-scale integrated user online application that surveys natural resource use and subjective well-being in Germany. We analyse more than 44,000 users who provided information on their natural resource consumption (material footprint) as well as their personal socio-economic and socio-psychological characteristics. We determine an average material footprint of 26 tonnes per person per year. In addition, we endeavour to determine how much environment humans need by regressing natural resource use as well as relevant socio-economic and socio-psychological features on subjective well-being. We establish a slightly negative correlation between subjective well-being and material footprints. A higher material footprint is associated with lower subjective well-being. We conclude that consumer policies seeking to promote sustainable behaviour should highlight the fact that a lower material footprint may result in greater subjective well-being. View Full-Text
Keywords: material footprint; resource use; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; survey; data mining; online application; regression analysis material footprint; resource use; subjective well-being; life satisfaction; survey; data mining; online application; regression analysis
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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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Buhl, J.; Liedtke, C.; Bienge, K. How Much Environment Do Humans Need? Evidence from an Integrated Online User Application Linking Natural Resource Use and Subjective Well-Being in Germany. Resources 2017, 6, 67.

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