Television, sustainability and happiness in Peru
Earlier studies have concluded that television consumption is detrimental to environmental sustainability and people’s wellbeing, due to its promotion of consumerism and materialistic goals.
However, recent evidence indicates that, in contexts of relative deprivation, television can be a source of wellbeing, a main provider of entertainment and information. This might present a conflict between the wellbeing of present and future generations, and poses a challenge for sustainability policy in developing countries.
This article contributes to the emergent debate on the role of television in sustainability policy, by presenting a study of the effects of television viewing in a heterogeneous Peruvian sample (n=500). Regression analysis results indicate that television consumption is negatively associated with sustainable attitudes, partially through the promotion of goals linked to materialism. The relationship between television consumption and happiness is not significant but becomes marginally positive when materialistic goals are accounted for.
The study finds that in countries like Peru, television need not limit the wellbeing of present and future generations if materialistic messages are reduced and the content of environmental programmes is critically revised.