This week, the third Happy Planet index is launched. The Index doesn’t reveal the ‘happiest’ country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that top the Index demonstrate that it is possible to achieve high life satisfaction and long life expectancy without over-stretching the planet’s resources.
The Happy Planet Index, (created by Nef, the New Economics Foundation) shows that around the world, high levels of resource consumption do not reliably produce high levels of well-being. It also reveals that there are different routes to achieving comparable levels of well-being. The model followed by the West can provide widespread longevity and variable life satisfaction, but it does so only at a vast and ultimately counter-productive cost in terms of resource consumption.
This international Index is an innovative measure that shows the ecological efficiency with which human well-being is created around the world. ?It is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which country by country, people live long and happy lives.
The Happy City Initiative in Bristol is working to enable individuals and communities to access low-cost, sustainable and collaborative ways to find lasting happiness together. It is highlighting the skills, the knowledge and the connections to help communities do more of the things that bring lasting happiness to people and the planet.
They are working with Nef, as well as other local and national partners, to create a comparable index at a more practical city scale. The Happy City Index, will help local people as well as policy makers measure what really makes a positive difference to peoples lives without costing the earth. The ground-work is being put in place to produce a measure that policy makers can use to help build a happier city, and crucially people of all ages and backgrounds can also use to assess what simple, low-cost, high impact things they could do to boost their own, their family’s and their community’s happiness.
The Happy Planet index helps us remember that ‘The Best Things in Life aren’t things’ and the Happy City Initiative provides the proof – in local streets and community centres right through to the corridors of power. Watch out for the Happy City Index, putting Bristol on the global map from 2013.