This article made me so glad, I just had to share it:
Vermont and Bhutan have embraced happiness rather than GDP as a measure of social success. The world's happiest countries share surprising characteristics - a small gap between rich and poor; work-life balance; urban design favoring community over cars; high degrees of interpersonal trust; a strong social safety net, and the highest tax rates in the world.
In our GDP measurements, many things essential to wellbeing - housework, volunteering, natural beauty, good health, etc. - are not counted at all. GNH (Gross National Happiness) surveys measure the wellbeing and happiness of its people by quantifying progress in nine areas of life considered especially important for happiness, including: physical health; mental health; education; quality of governance; social support and community vitality; environmental quality; time balance; access to arts, culture and recreation, and material wellbeing. (Denmark ranks #1 and US is only #17) [Where would NJ rank?]
In the past couple of decades, a new science of happiness, driven by advances in positive psychology and extensive studies of the brain, has allowed researchers to more thoroughly understand happiness and its roots in both public policy and human behavior.
At a time when so much of our news is a litany of inequality and environmental destruction, making happiness our goal instead of more money, stuff and consumerism is common sense. The scientific evidence shows that social connection, participation, good
health and access to nature matter far more for wellbeing than an ever-growing GDP.
(All above samples are from the article.) This humanitarian ideal should be part of every Green platform.
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