Study Suggests Link Between Genetics and Environmentalist Behaviors

A study published in the journal BioScience has suggested a link between genetics and environmentalist behaviors.

The researchers looked at data on more than 1,000 sets of twins in the TwinsUK registry and compared their responses regarding their concern for nature, environmental activism, and environmentally friendly behaviors. The study found that identical twins were more similar than non-identical twins across the three categories, suggesting that there is heritability to environmentalism traits.

However, researchers say that more than 50% of the behaviors studied were influenced by nature, environmental activism, and personal behavior.

‘Heritability suggests there are genetic components. But heritability estimates are influenced by both genetics and environments,’ said Chia-chen Chang, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore and lead author on the paper, to The Guardian. ‘Our environmental behaviour is probably more complicated than we think.’

Other scientists believe that there is still a long way to go before understanding if our genes impact our environmentalism and what that means for the issue.

‘It’s good to analyse the influences on individual behaviour towards environmentalism, but in the end, climate change is a structural problem, a systemic problem, and a political problem,’ said Felix Tropf, a professor in social science genetics at the Center for Research in Economics and Statistics, who was not involved in the study, to The Guardian.