The recent IPCC report gives us 10 years to get our act together. If we don't we can expect life to change dramatically. In 1972, almost half a century ago, Donella and Dana Meadows forecasted the changes that will happen using five inputs, calling it Limits to Growth:
Use of natural resources
Pollution & Waste
They used a simulation to predict what would happen at stages along the way. According to their predictions, in about 10 years sea level rises, deforestation, pollution impacts, resource constraints and other impacts that will change life drastically, will fall into place. It turns out that's what the IPCC says too.
It's looking pretty grim. Maybe playing around with happiness is a dumb idea. Shouldn't we be preparing for what looks like the inevitable? Collapse of our food system, floods and landslides, pandemics....
Why bother with happiness?
Because it turns out that happiness is a way to get us out of this mess, if we are able to make the changes the IPCC (and the Meadows) are calling for, and happiness will be the way to manage the catastrophes if - more like when - they come.
First - now: If we were to use wider measures of well-being, such as the Happiness Index, we would have the metrics to manage our way into sustainability and well-being. Measurements like the Happiness Index encompass ecological health and point the way for de-growth, rolling back consumption, and putting our health, each other, and our planet first.
Second - then: wider measures of well-being point the way for meeting needs in a resource constrained world, and in a world where others, including people, animals, and ecosystems, are hurting. The answers will be simple, most likely, and involve caring for each other, nurturing the earth, and being as loving as we can in each moment.
That is why happiness really is important now.
Written by Laura Musikanski