The Personal Reward: Protecting Earth’s Resources Can Boost Your Happiness

By Elisabeth Comere, 
Director, Environment & Government Affairs, Tetra Pak 

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There’s no question that responsible use of Mother Nature’s resources pays dividends back to the planet. But did you know that adopting simple, renewable habits to protect precious natural resources can be a key to personal happiness as well?

Data from Tetra Pak offers some compelling evidence that renewable lifestyle choices can help people go from feeling glum to good. Shaping our own footprint in new ways is central to sustaining our planet and our society for future generations.

Findings from a survey commissioned by Tetra Pak in the United States and Canada found that 70 percent of those surveyed claimed they felt happier when making eco-minded choices.

These results came on the heels of the world’s first social experiment in renewability, which uncovered how renewable lifestyle choices influence levels of happiness. The Renewable Living Social Experiment was conducted in partnership with University College London (UK) and the Tilburg University (NL). For this social experiment Tetra Pak worked with an academic panel consisting of Dr. Philippa Lally of University College London, a renowned expert on habit formation; Prof. Marcel Zeelenberg of Tilburg University, an expert on how emotions influence behavioral choices; and Rory Sutherland an expert in communication and behavior change.

In this social experiment, we challenged ten leading bloggers in five countries (United States, Brazil, India, France and Spain) to take small steps to adopt simple, renewable habits, defined as habits that help preserve natural resources, such as walking or biking to work or choosing products in packaging made with renewable materials at the grocery store. The experiment showed a significant increase in both how habitual the behaviors became, and how happy they made the bloggers over the 28-day period.

Renewable habits also made our survey respondents happier. They included:

  • Using re-usable drink containers when possible (63 percent)
  • Buying only what can be consumed when shopping at the grocery store (61 percent)
  • Choosing food and beverage products in renewable packaging at the grocery store, like cartons made mainly of paperboard, a natural resource that can be replenished over time (58 percent)

We can all find joy in protecting the planet’s resources. And a starting point for that is to take Tetra Pak’s ‘Habits of Happiness’ Quiz which can help assess where you stand in the happiness scale, both before and after you adopt renewable lifestyle choices.

So what’s specifically involved in Renewable Living? Quite simply, it’s about embracing new habits that can help protect the planet’s natural resources. Even simple lifestyle behaviors, like taking shorter showers to conserve water, or biking or walking to work instead of driving to preserve fossil fuels and curb carbon emissions and global warming have the power to make a big impact, on both a personal and global scale.

Tetra Pak’s study shows that even taking these small actions can have a significant collective benefit: A happier planet and happier people on the planet.

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