Happier People Healthier Planet: How putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth addresses the diametrically opposed issues of personal wellbeing and ecological destruction, understanding them as inseparable concerns. It argues that carefully attending to what really matters for personal thriving will also protect the environment.
Most human beings are strongly attracted to material possessions, novelty and ever greater comfort and convenience. Paradoxically, though, for those with a decent basic standard of living, growing affluence has not resulted in increased subjective wellbeing: consuming more does not make us happier. Worse, our unchecked appetites for ‘stuff’ are fast undermining the delicately balanced life-support system provided by the natural world. It is, however, quite possible to live a rewarding life without over-consuming, and it is urgent that we all find out how to do so if we are to preserve the hospitality of the Earth.
This thought-provoking and unusually wide-ranging book
- asks what factors are likely to influence individuals to wish to seek and find enjoyment in ways of living that are sustainable;
- traces the roots of much environmental damage to personal experience and evolution; and
- argues that the route both away from the eco-abyss and towards happier individuals and societies is cultural transformation based on a deep understanding of the foundations of true wellbeing.
Informed and illustrated by insights from a wealth of sources, both academic and popular, it includes the stories and insights of many individuals living in Britain who actively pursue all manner of fulfilling lives of relatively low consumption. These modest consumers offer challenge, inspiration and reassurance in the search for better ways of living.
ISBN 978-1-78132-260-4 (paperback). Price £13.95
ISBN 978-1-78132-261-1 (ebook). Price £3.99
pub. SilverWood Books Ltd. Sept 2014
I have just finished reading this book and I couldn’t agree more with the main tenets of the book. I grew up in a relatively privileged middle-class home with a supposedly good education. However, when everything went awry at the age of twenty, I changed course and pursued what I love most and what I was good at, i.e. MUSIC. It has been my sustaining and enduring passion till now and I’ve just turned 70! I agree with the difference between the words ‘happy’ which is a fleeting and momentary feeling and ‘wellbeing’ which is a much more sustained state, both physical, mental and emotional; contentment would also suffice. What has sustained me is my love of music, all the arts and creativity (for a purpose or for its own sake) and being in nature. I am happiest amongst trees and I spend a lot of time in them, painting them and making flute improvisations about them. I have taught many children (and adults) and I see their eyes light up when they are engaged in creativity or being with nature. Thank you for writing this book.