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Does Being Self-Sustainable Make You Happy?

Recently governments from around the world have been announcing their plan to cut carbon emissions, with some countries such as Albania, Paraguay and Iceland leading the way with 100 per cent renewable electricity but does being self-sustainable make for a happy country?

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The Happy Planet Index (HPI) have recently published their data showing which of the 151 countries they surveyed across the globe is the happiest. They measure their results by combining three sets of data; ‘Experienced well-being’, ‘Life Expectancy’ and ‘Ecological Footprint.’ The HPI provides a clear compass pointing nations in the direction they need to travel.

Costa Rica top the pile with a HPI score of 64.0 just ahead of Vietnam. This is the second time Costa Rica have come first, as a country they have embraced sustainability in their national policies. It produces 99 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. The country has announced it is committed to being carbon neutral by 2021.
Last year Costa Rica produced 80 per cent of its electricity from renewables and this year their 4 main hydropower stations and geothermal stations have been given a boost by heavy rainfall which created enough electricity for them to be self-sustainable for the last 75 days.

“We don’t want this to be a 75-day story, we want this to be a 365-day story,” Said Monica Araya, executive director of Nivela, a Costa Rica-based climate change think tank.

Interestingly the UK doesn’t stack up as well on the Happy Planet Index, we came up short with a score of 47.9. Our ecological footprint also didn’t look good, ranking 121 out of 151. The UK have invested 11.4 billion in solar PV since 2010 so hopefully in the next 5 years we will continue to invest and will rank a bit higher.

So does being green make you happy?

References: Happy Planet Index, TreeHugger, Time, fastcoexist, Cleantechnica

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