Monday, July 6, 2009

The Happy Planet Index

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an innovative measure that shows the ecological efficiency with which human well-being is delivered 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 second compilation of the global HPI, published in July 2009, shows that we are still far from achieving sustainable well-being and puts forward a vision of what we need to do to get there.

To measure the efficiency with which countries convert the earth's finite resources into their citizens' well-being, the HPI takes three separate indicators -- ecological footprint, life-satisfaction and life-expectancy -- and then carries out complex calculations. One can explore these indicators on the HPI website.

While leaders of the developed world worry away at economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), deflation and their implications for economic recovery, the HPI lauds alternative standards that provide a new twist on the old adage that wealth does not buy happiness. However, the HPI's sums have been criticised for not taking sufficient account of issues such as political freedom, but the index has also found followers.

Within two days of the launch of the first HPI, it was downloaded and read in 185 countries worldwide.

You may also calculate your own HPI score on the HPI website. I received a score of 62.4 which is above the world average of 46, but still below the target of 83, which represents a good life that doesn’t cost the Earth.

Source: Reuters

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