Rebuilding social justice  |  Publications  |  07.07.2011

The Happy Planet Index 2.0 Why good lives don't have to cost the Earth

This publication from the New Economics Foundation provides a new compass to set society on the path to real progress by measuring what truly matters to us - living a long and happy life - and what matters to the planet - our rate of resource consumption.

Working from first principles, the report indentifies health and a positive experience of life as universal human goals, and the natural resources that our human systems depend upon as fundamental inputs. The Happy Planet Index brings together a number of measurements in a unique form which captures the ecological efficiency with which we are achieving good lives. This report presents results from the second global HPI. It 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.

HPI 2.0 has been calculated with new improved data sets for 143 countries, covering 99 per cent of the world’s population. Scores range from 0 to 100 – with high scores only achievable by meeting all three targets embodied in the index – high life expectancy, high life satisfaction, and a low ecological footprint.
The results turn our idea of progress on its head. Whilst the HPI confirms that the countries where people enjoy the happiest and healthiest lives are mostly richer developed countries, it shows the unsustainable ecological price we pay. It also reveals some notable exceptions – less wealthy countries, with significantly smaller ecological footprints per head, having high levels of life expectancy and life satisfaction. In other words, it shows that a good life is possible without costing the Earth.

Edited extract from executive summary.

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