Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Go South Pacific Young Pandologist!

Where is the happiest place on Earth, if one could possibly measure such a thing? Hint, it's not in the US (Southern California is SO 10 minutes ago). According to a new index from the New Economics Foundation studying 178 nations, the happiest place on Earth is (drum roll...) Vanuatu (aka "the islands of fire" to any self-respecting realtiy tv fan), in the South Pacific. Most interesting are the factors used to measure "happy":

The innovative global measure of progress, the Happy Planet Index, has been constructed by the New Economics Foundation (Nef) and Friends of the Earth using three factors: life expectancy, human wellbeing and damage done via a country's "environmental footprint".

The Happy Planet Index essentially divides the damage we do environmentally by the payback through life expectancy and satisfaction. No country does well on all three indicators but the survey shows that people can live long, fulfilled lives without using more than their fair share of the earth's resources, says the foundation.

Vanuatu comes top because its people are satisfied with their lot, live to nearly 70 and do little damage to the planet. Zimbabwe takes bottom place in the table. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Colombia, countries that have experienced recent civil upheavals, all feature in the top 10 on the grounds that they do little environmental harm and manage comparatively high levels of satisfaction with life.

Using these factors then, it comes as no surprise that most of the industrialized nations didn't fare too well. The UK came in 108th (why yes that would be behind Libya, Gabon and Azerbaijan). The United States placed a lowly 150th and Russia claims the 172 spot.

It's an interesting and colorful read. Find more info on the NEF here, or find the Happy Index here.


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