We're topping the list again. Another "happiness" survey, this time by the New Economics Foundation - a "think-and-do-tank" in the UK, places Vanuatu at the top of the list of the World's Happiest Countries. Malta places top of the Western World.
This extract from the NEF site explains how the index works:
"A new global measure of progress, the ‘Happy Planet Index’, reveals for the first time that happiness doesn’t have to cost the Earth. It shows that people can live long, happy lives without using more than their fair share of the Earth’s resources. The new international ranking of the environmental impact and well-being reveals a very different picture of the wealth, and poverty, of nations.
The Happy Planet Index, an innovative new index from nef (the new economics foundation) launched on Wednesday 12 July 2006, is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which countries provide long and happy lives. The results are surprising, even shocking. The ranking unmasks a very different world order to that promoted by self-appointed global leaders, the G8. For example, the UK is a disappointing 108th and the USA fares still worse at 150th on the Index."
The following extract will once again baffle the Maltese and prove once again that our perceptions of our country might be more pessimistic than we could imagine:
"Island nations score well above average in the Index: They have higher life satisfaction, higher life expectancy and marginally lower Footprints than other states. Yet incomes (by GDP per capita) are roughly equal to the world average. Even within regions, islands do well. Malta tops the Western world with Cyprus in seventh place (out of 24); the top five HPI nations in Africa are all islands; as well as two of the top four in Asia. Perhaps a more acute awareness of environmental limits has sometimes helped their societies to bond better and to adapt to get more from less. Combined with the enhanced well-being that stems from close contact with nature, the world as a whole stands to learn much from the experience of islands. "
The irony is in the phrase I underlined - awareness of environmental limits - societies that bond? Well.... maybe I'm missing something here. But congratulations Malta Taghna... you've done it again.