A Little Background on the Happy Planet Index:
The New Economics Foundation formed the Happy Planet Index in 2006 as a metric to capture a more accurate story of well being, that nations offer their citizens than the existing tools, like the GDP.
What actually constitutes the HPI rankings? The countries rankings are determined by three factors: high life expectancy, high life satisfaction, and a low ecological footprint. For any of you number crunchers, you calculate the HPI score by simply multiplying the nations life satisfaction by life expectancy, and then divide that product by the countries ecological footprint. Once the scores are determined, NEF ranks 143 countries where 0 is the lowest score and 100 the highest.
The key differentiator of the Happy Planet Index is the incorporation of a nations environmental impact, coupled with the life satisfaction rating. According to the New Economics Foundation, the environmental façade is determined by the nations efficiency in converting natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. Sounds good right?
Life satisfaction has been excluded from the metrics that policymakers base their macro-decisions on for far too long now. Perhaps the difficulty in measuring life satisfaction has been the reason that is so. NEF realizes the subjective characteristic of life satisfaction should not get excluded when trying to accurately tell the story of quality lives that make up a nations virtue. NEF, overcomes any lack of credibility, in relation to measuring life satisfaction, because they incorporate the renowned Gallup World Poll. This survey represents 95% of the world’s adult population attitudes on the social, economic, and political action.
Last year, the U.S. ranked 1st in the GDP, but lagged in the tail end of the HPI at 114th. If you look closely at those results, you find that the U.S. was in the green (best) in two of the three categories: life expectancy, and satisfaction. But then there was our ecological footprint in the hazard zone. The footprint was more than four times Costa Rica’s (last years HPI overall leader).
This Thursday, the new report gets released with rankings and detailed descriptions of the results. For my fellow U.S. comrades, lets hope we have reduced our problematized ecological footprint, improved our life expectancy and satisfaction ratings, and have climbed the charts.
It’s funny how global changes start with the little, conscious and subconscious, decisions you make…