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Happy Planet

I've had the pleasure of working with nef's Nic Marks a couple of times this year when we co-delivered a workshop on sustainable communities to two audiences of senior decision makers from local government. Nic has just released the next Happy Planet Index, which, as always, makes interesting reading:

nef (the new economics foundation) is pleased to announce the release of the Happy Planet Index, the second global ranking of the ecological efficiency with which the world’s nations deliver long and happy lives for the people who live there. The report reveals a surprising picture of the relative wealth and progress of nations:

  • Latin America tops the Index with Costa Rica the ’greenest and happiest’ country. Nine of the ten highest-scoring nations are Latin American
  • The USA, China and India were all ‘greener and happier’ twenty years ago than today
  • The World’s richest plummet from 1960s to late 1970s, with scores still lower today than 1961
  • The UK comes 74th, USA 114th out of 143 nations surveyed.

The new Index is based on improved data for 143 countries around the world, representing 99 per cent of the world’s population. By stripping the economy back to its ultimate outputs (lives of varying length and happiness) and fundamental inputs (the Earth’s finite resources) the HPI is the definitive efficiency measure. It provides a clear guide to what matters to us and what matters for the planet.

We hope you enjoy studying the index and would encourage you to share this email with colleagues. We believe that the multiple crises we face provide a unique opportunity for societies around the world to speak out for a happier planet, to identify a new vision of progress, and to demand new tools to help us work towards it. The HPI is one of these tools. But if it is to be effective it must also inspire people to act. Please join the Soil Association, Friends of the Earth, the World Development Movement, Onehundredmonths, 38 degrees, the Gaia Foundation and others by signing nef’s Happy Planet Charter to start this process of change

The full report and data are available for free download at the accompanying web-site:


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