The (un)Happy Planet Index 2.0: Why good lives do not have to cost the Earth

nef (the new economics foundation) is pleased to announce the release of the Happy Planet Index 2.0, the second global ranking of the ecological efficiency with which the worlds 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 or Caribbean.

. The USA, China and India were all greener and happier twenty years ago than today.

. The Worlds richest plummet from 1960s to late 1970s, with scores still lower today than 1961.

. Canada — despite having the highest average life expectancy — ranks 89.

The new Index is based on improved data for 143 countries around the world, representing 99 per cent of the worlds population. By stripping the economy back to its ultimate outputs (lives of varying length and happiness) and fundamental inputs (the Earths 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 post with colleagues, friends and family. 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 the nef charter.

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

nef was awarded the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies’ Award for the Betterment of the Human Condition 2007, in recognition of our work on the Happy Planet Index.


~ by Cory Morningstar on August 26, 2009.

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