From beauty to belief: The aesthetic and diversity values of plants and pets in shaping biodiversity loss belief among urban residents

Abstract

Aesthetics is a crucial ecosystem service provided by biodiversity, which is believed to help improve humans’ quality of life and is linked to environmental consciousness and pro-environmental behaviors. However, how aesthetic experience induced by plants/animals influences the belief in the occurrence and significance of biodiversity loss among urban residents remains understudied. Thus, the current study aimed to examine how the diversity of pets and in-house plants affect urban residents’ belief in biodiversity loss in different scenarios of aesthetic experiences (positive and negative aesthetic experiences at home due to plants/animals). Using the Bayesian Mindsponge Framework (BMF) analytics on a dataset of 535 Vietnamese urban residents, we found that the people’s aesthetic feeling about their house induced by plants/animals positively affects their belief in the occurrence and significance of biodiversity loss. The diversity of plants and pets also positively influences the level of biodiversity loss belief, but the effect is conditional on the aesthetic experience of the urban residents. Specifically, the positive impact of species diversity on the belief only exists when urban residents feel that their houses’ aesthetics are negatively affected by plants/animals. Moreover, the effect of pet diversity on biodiversity loss belief is less significant and reliable than that of plant diversity. These findings suggest that raising the houses’ aesthetics through in-house planting or pet ownership can potentially enhance biodiversity loss belief and subsequently build an eco-surplus culture among urban residents.

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Author Profiles

Minh-Hoang Nguyen
Phenikaa University
Sari Ni Putu Wulan Purnama
Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University

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