Why Countries With the Nicest People Are the Greenest

Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Environment with 0 Comments
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Source: mnn.com

Switzerland holds the top spot on the Environmental Performance Index.

Switzerland holds the top spot on the Environmental Performance Index.

The Environmental Performance Index is a method of scoring the overall greenness of countries. The index, based on algorithms created by researchers from Yale and Columbia, looks at nation-level policies and practices that directly or indirectly affect the environment. It gives each of these variables a numerical value. When figuring a nation’s EPI, experts take into account water quality, natural habitat conservation, air pollution, emissions per capita and the sustainability of natural resources.

Perhaps some of the nuances of a country’s environmental stewardship get left out of the equation, but major variables such as pollution levels and conservation policies paint an accurate picture.
A professor at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga’s Institute for Management and Innovation realized something interesting when looking at the latest EPI scores. He saw countries that ranked highly in the index also scored well in specific areas of personality trait surveys.
The hypothesis of the researcher, Jacob Hirsh, might seem simplistic, or even silly, at first. He contends that countries with open, compassionate and friendly people are also the most eco-friendly places on Earth. In short, nicer people equal a greener country.

Not some sort of hippie math

Hirsh’s research has focused on proving that this is not some sort of out-there math equation; it’s a mathematical reality. Using data on two specific personality traits of each nation’s citizens, he was able to accurately predict a country’s EPI score. The two traits he considered were agreeableness (compassion and empathy) and openness (flexibility and acceptance). Graphs of the results show that, on average, higher personality scores in these two areas corresponded with higher EPI rankings.

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