The (Un)Happy Planet Index is a fascinating examination of countries’ economic and ecological footprints. Like much of social science, I’m not convinced that it shows anything concretely useful at all, but it does satiate my need for rank-order and self-examination. Here is how they designed the study:
The Index doesn’t reveal the “happiest” country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that top the Index aren’t the happiest places in the world, but the nations that score well show that achieving, long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources is possible.
And of course, I decided to take their survey and determine my own HPI score (PDF):
Your personal Happy Planet Index (HPI) is 26, which is similar to that of Zambia, Central African Republic or Belarus. Sorry to say that this is below the world average of 46.
Christ. Apparently my ecological footprint wrecks my score, but then again that was the point of the study – the American lifestyle is f*cking up the world.