Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Happy Planet Index

The New Economics Foundation, a think tank whose aim is "to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues," has issued a Happy Planet Index which combines a country's environmental impact with human well being to show the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens.

The worst nations on the list include the United States, Russia, and most of Africa. The United States ranked 150th out of 178 countries. Europe did not fare much better. Excluding the former Soviet countries, Austria ranked the best, coming in 61st place. Portugal was the lowest, coming in 136th place.

The Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu ranked first. Some Central and South American countries also fared well. Columbia was ranked second, Costa Rice third, Panama fifth, Cuba sixth, Honduras seventh, and Guatemala eighth. The last two suggest a weakness in the index. Although I've visited their and loved the countries, many of the indigenous and poor peoples still face enormous prejudice and harassment from their governments.

Taking this weak point into account, the Happy Planet Index is a useful measure of our environmental well being and should be given wider notice.

You can calculate your own HPI here.


At 4:16 PM, Blogger KRiSTOPHER DUKES said...

How do I get in touch? I'd love you to be involved with a green project I'm helping put together.

Email me at kristopher (at)

At 7:56 AM, Blogger 倚剑玮熵 said...

good idea!


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