Fort Frances Times Online
Click here to visit our sponsor

Click here to visit our sponsor Happiness at centre of conference
June 20, 2005

(CP)

    Happiness, it seems, is something that can be measured.

    Hundreds of academics, farmers, environmentalists, business people, entertainers, and health professionals are trying to figure just how to do that, and to convince others that it is just as an important indicator of a country’s success as its economic well-being.

    They were to meet in Antigonish, N.S. today for the second International Conference on Gross National Happiness—a movement that is attracting a varied mix of adherents around the world.

    “We don’t claim to measure well-being directly, but rather what are some of the social, economic, and environmental conditions which are likely to produce higher levels of well-being,” said Ron Colman of GPI Atlantic, a non-profit research group in Nova Scotia that is organizing the meeting.

    “The conventional paradigm that bases progress just on economic growth alone is not satisfactory,” he argued. “It’s too narrow, so we know we have to assess our progress in a more comprehensive and accurate way.”

    Colman and other delegates contend a better way of determining a person’s well-being and the well-being of their surroundings is by looking at several factors—environmental preservation, sustainable economic development, cultural promotion, and good governance.

    The theory was developed more than 30 years ago in Bhutan, where the king declared gross national happiness to be more important than the small Asian country’s gross national product.

    Colman went to Bhutan last year to attend the first conference on gross national happiness and discovered a group of people keen on “redirecting global development towards socially- and environmentally-responsible policy and practices.”

    “The goal is to ensure long-term prosperity and equity for all,” he said.

    Colman said the old model of thinking that it was either jobs versus the environment no longer works since the two can be inextricably tied. For example, there can’t be uncontrolled fisheries without considering how that’s going to affect jobs in the future, he added.

    About 400 people from 35 countries will look at that approach this week, examining things like how Brazil is creating a “sustainable city” based on mass transit rather than automobile use.

    And how the Dutch government gave its citizens far more free time and sharply reduced unemployment by encouraging shorter work hours.


Printer friendly version ---- Email this story to a friend



Be the first to comment on this story!

Subject


Your Comments


Your Name


Please only CLICK once to submit your comment.
Comments are the property of their respective authors. The Fort Frances Times is not responsible for them in any way, and reserves the right to remove any comments it deems offensive or inappropriate.

Newest Top Stories from June 20, 2005

Wildfires expected to flare up
Robbery suspects’ hearing remanded
Beware of deer: OPP
Entry deadline for ‘Quest’ extended
Winnipeg francophones fighting to protect rights
Happiness at centre of conference
Kite addicts light up seaside park
Muskies appeal for coaches
Biffle grabs fifth victory of year
Few fines for violating health act
Thousands search for missing Boy Scout
Telescope landed among polar bears, caribou
How to roast, grill or pan-fry fresh homegrown asparagus


Hot wheels
Fort Frances OPP Cst Dereck McLean helped guide Jace Jackson, four, through the course at the First Annual Canadian Tire Bike Rodeo on Saturday. More...

Search Recent News
Advanced Search
Times Weekly Poll
Will you be more or less likely to visit a bar once the smoking ban takes effect?
More likely to visit
Less likely to visit


View results
Sewer, water rates to jump Meters likely to be part of future
Due to changes in provincial legislation in the wake of the E. coli tragedy in Walkerton five years ago, significant upgrades to the town’s sewer and water system must be done over the next decade. More...

Get the Times News Headlines by Email!
©2004 Fort Frances Times Ltd. All Rights Reserved.