Forget the economic crisis, we're the happiest nation in Europe
Nicolas Niarchos freelances for various national news outlets, including The Guardian, The Observer, The Huffington Post, The Periscope Post and now, The Independent. He is currently the interviewer for the series of "IN YOUR FACE" interviews with artists and luminaries on the fashion website SHOWstudio. A 2011 graduate of Yale University and Literature major, Nick was an Arts and Living editor on the Yale Daily News, DJed on WYBC Yale Radio and served on other student publications as editor and publisher
Saturday 16 June 2012
The weather may be terrible and the economy falling to pieces, but a new study claims we are the happiest nation in Europe.
The Happy Planet Index shows the UK ranks highest for "sustainable well-being" in Europe. The index is created by first calculating "Happy Life Years" by adjusting a country's experienced well-being to its life expectancy.
This figure is then divided by the country's ecological footprint – the amount of land required to sustain its consumption patterns. But the index also shows that we lag far behind many countries that are traditionally considered "less developed", such as front- runners Costa Rica and Vietnam.
Happy Planet Index founder Nick Marks said that it is "the first global index of sustainable well-being".
"We created the Happy Planet Index to highlight the tension between creating good lives now and good lives in the future," he said.
"The ultimate outcome of a nation is how successful it is at creating happy and healthy lives for its citizens."
The index does seem to conform to perceived global trends.
Using Gallup data from 2007 and 2010, the report's authors showed how recession-ridden Spain and Greece experienced sharp falls in sustainable happiness in the past four years.
The UK came 41st out of 151 countries, and while it is the most sustainably happy country in Europe, some of the countries that outrank it may surprise some.
War-torn Iraq and Palestine (counted as a country for the report's purposes), for instance, rank 36th and 30th respectively. On the other hand, the USA lags far behind, at number 105.
The UK's position is low compared to other less economically developed countries because we require a large amount of land to sustain our consumption – some 4.7 "global hectares" compared with the "global fair share" of 1.7 hectares.
The report's co-author, Juliet Michaelson, explained that while the UK might have scored the best in Europe, our position was "within the margin of error" compared with France and Germany.
She said the Government could increase the UK's ranking on the scale by introducing policies to reduce unemployment, reduce working hours and reduce our environmental impact.
Ms Michaelson said: "The upcoming discussions at the Rio+20 Earth Summit are the key to whether we can make our economy environmentally sustainable."
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Manager ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This friendly and fast growing security compan...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...