This report presents findings from the 2015 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey. It explores levels of social capital in Scotland by addressing a number of key questions: • How connected are people to their local area and to what extent do people belong to social networks? • Which groups are more likely to feel they belong to their local area and have strong social networks? • What is the strength of the relationship between place and levels of social capital? • Are people engaging in civic activities or volunteering and do they believe that things can change in their local area? • Are people in Scotland supportive of the idea of co-production?
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The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures what matters: sustainable wellbeing for all. It tells us how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives. This briefing paper offers a short overview of the index and of the 2016 results. You can explore all the data at happyplanetindex.org.
The recent shift of public health departments from primary care trusts to local authorities in England provides scope for more joined-up action to mitigate and adapt to climate change locally. Climate change poses both a threat and an opportunity for public health. This report reviews current local strategies and actions to address climate change by public health departments and their partners. It explores barriers and opportunities for action, and identifies recommendations for local and national policy and practice.
Once, the concern about the environment and the appreciation of nature were considered to follow only after the satisfaction of our material needs (the so-called post-materialist thesis). Since the early 1980s there has been a surge in the use of phrases like ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’. There is an increasing interest in the impact of environment and environmental attitudes on health and wellbeing. There are two pathways through which this impact can be felt: a positive effect of nature on wellbeing and a negative effect of human activities on environment like pollution.
Wellbeing is a dynamic multidisciplinary concept for a better future. We can see wellbeing as a balance point between resources and challenges, autonomy and intensity, as well as support and demand. Any system to measure, understand, or increase wellbeing must contain multidisciplinary theories and findings, incorporate co-responsibility and appreciative inquiry, and include feedback loops that allow for accurate measurement of the challenges and resources available on any given day. The purpose of this paper is to integrate a new definition of wellbeing with theory and research from multiple disciplines to create a framework for the real practice of measuring wellbeing.
Strong evidence now exists of the need to shift diets towards reduced levels of meat-eating among high consuming countries like the UK to help address climate change, promote public health and help feed the world more fairly and humanely. But understanding how to achieve this dietary behaviour change has not yet received the attention it deserves. This report intends to stimulate engagement and action towards addressing this important question. Eating Better has undertaken a review of relevant consumption patterns, trends, and people’s attitudes and behaviours. We identify ten drivers that could provide opportunities for encouraging dietary shifts. We also highlight research and policy gaps and make recommendations.
Anyone with responsibility for wellbeing at their workplace could find themselves looking at a wide range of practices from mental health support, the ergonomic setup of desks, employee safety policies or the tax implications of the cycle to work scheme. In our research, we investigated how employers are using the physical workplace to boost workforce wellbeing. We found employers were using a combination of practices to maintain wellbeing in their workplace. An effective wellbeing strategy considers four elements – individual resilience, the challenges of the job, the environment and the organisation’s culture. When these elements are considered together, employers were more likely to benefit from improved productivity and performance as well as higher employee retention and lower absence.
There has never been such a crying need for a bold vision of the future. If we fail to reverse the policies that have been driving climate change, we face disaster on a world scale. Yet since the 1980s, radical politics has lost its vision of how to create a qualitatively better society for everyone and lost the ability to inspire. In ‘A Convenient Truth’ Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett set out a path towards a society that’s better for us and the planet. Inequality drives status insecurity, which fuels the consumerism that is destroying our planet. But the things we buy aren’t making us any happier: the link between economic development and real improvements in quality of life is broken in rich societies. For real improvements in wellbeing, we need a more equal society, which is best achieved by putting democracy at the heart of the economy. Indeed, the authors see the extension of democracy into economic institutions as the next major step in the long project of human emancipation.
In November 2012 the Education for Sustainable Well-being Research Group at the University of Manitoba organized its first conference, entitled “Educating for Sustainable Well-being: Concepts, issues, perspectives, and practices”. Following the conference participants were invited to develolp their presentations into papers and submit those for consideration for inclusion in an e-book on the theme of the conference. The present book is the result of this process.
Much of the writing on a post-growth world is about economics. In this exciting and ground-breaking short essay Andrew Dobson considers the implications of the end of growth for politics. Dobson, Professor of Politics at Keele University argues that if the end of growth is to be planned, rather than unplanned and catastrophic, we need now to get onto a trajectory for a benign post-growth world. And that trajectory has six crucial pre-conditions: equality, democracy, a vibrant public sphere, localisation, feminism and the idea and practice of enough.
While our ethical traditions know how to deal with homicide and even genocide these traditions collapse entirely when confronted with ecocide and biocide. Today we live in an ethically confusing and contradictory world, a world in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. At the same time as modern thinkers seek to extend the circle of moral consideration to other animals, humanity inflicts more suffering on more creatures than at any time in history. Is this really what we want to do to creation...to drive it to extinction? But extinction is irreversible. Species that go extinct are lost forever. This is not Jurassic Park - we can't bring them back! Over the last century we've participated in something of a binge of unbelievable prosperity. We may have had some intuition that it was a binge and the earth couldn't support it but aside from the easy things, biodegradable detergent or slightly smaller cars, we haven't done very much. We haven't turned our lives around. How we've reached this nadir is just one theme explored in All Things Are Connected, a film that takes us back to our beginning and investigates how both religion and science have carelessly misinterpreted an ancient injunction to have dominion over creation, as a licence to dominate at any cost.
In Transition 2.0 is an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. You'll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food, localising their economies and setting up community power stations. It's an idea that has gone viral, a social experiment that is about responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism. In a world of increasing uncertainty, here is a story of hope, ingenuity and the power of growing vegetables in unexpected places.
Sustainable development has figured prominently on the international agenda for more than a quarter of a century. People talk earnestly of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development. Yet we continue to build up the economic component, at considerable cost to the environmental one. We risk undermining social and economic gains by failing to appreciate our fundamental dependency on ecological systems. Social and economic sustainability are only possible with a healthy planet. Ecosystems sustain societies that create economies. It does not work any other way round. But although human beings are a product of the natural world, we have become the dominant force that shapes ecological and biophysical systems. In doing so, we are not only threatening our health, prosperity and well-being, but our very future. This tenth edition of the Living Planet Report® reveals the effects of the pressures we are placing on the planet. It explores the implications for society. And it underlines the importance of the choices we make and the steps we take to ensure this living planet can continue to sustain us all, now and for generations to come.
Humanity's challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve prosperity for all within the means of the planet's limited natural resources. Until recently working with Oxfam, Kate has developed a visual/conceptual tool in the shape of a doughnut -- which brings planetary boundaries together with social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive. Moving into this space demands far greater equity -- within and between countries -- in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs. This talk, given on October 9th 2013 at Schumacher College, was the second of 11 talks during the autumn of 2013 on Adventures in New Economics - a wide-ranging speaker series covering the key topics in new economic thinking today, presented by Transition Town Totnes, Totnes REconomy Project, and Schumacher College.
This Green Paper makes the case for a Nature and Wellbeing Act for England to halt the decline in nature and speed its recovery, for the benefit of people and our environment. We need a new legal commitment to the restoration of nature for the next generation. To achieve this ambition, we need new laws to ensure protection and enhancement of nature as an investment in our nation’s prosperity. We need to reconnect people with nature. From the local level up, the enhancement of our natural environment would be realised through local visions of how, where and why more nature can be delivered through planning and spending decisions. Nature’s recovery would bring a range of benefits, not least, for our health and wellbeing. Inactivity and obesity are escalating; poor mental health is having a significant impact on wellbeing; climate change is already affecting our urban areas and the productivity of our countryside; many of our villages, towns and cities face growing risk of flooding; and our economy continues to use many of our natural “assets” in an unsustainable way, which is likely to be a brake on progress and development in the future. The list is long.
A summary of permaculture concept and principles taken from Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren. It contains an introduction to permaculture, thoughts about the future of the movement and the values and use of the permaculture principles.
Totnes and District is feeling the effects of the economic downturn, along with the rest of the country. Climate change impacts and rising energy costs are further signs that the assumptions underpinning our current economic system need urgent review. Here we have an unusually independent economy. Rather than sacrifice that by pursuing growth at any cost, here we suggest that protecting and enhancing this economy is where our future lies. But how will this provide the jobs we all need to survive? This report identifies a multi-million pound opportunity to create new jobs, grow new enterprises and help existing businesses to thrive. It’s people-based, community-led, sustainable economic development that provides new livelihoods. At the same time, it helps ensure we can feed ourselves, minimise our fuel bills and carbon emissions,provide safer refuge for our savings and pensions and take care of those most in need. This work brings together a coalition of local stakeholder organisations, anchored here in our community, to develop an economic approach designed specifically for Totnes and District (T&D), and shows that we can unite to deliver real change.
Thrive is a national charity that uses gardening to change lives. We champion the benefits of gardening, carry out research and offer training and practical solutions so that anyone with a disability can take part in, benefit from and enjoy gardening. The Growing 4 Life project was set up with the support of Ecominds and the Big Lottery to work with older people with mental health support needs, using the therapeutic powers of gardening to help people regain confidence, build self esteem and motivation as well as creating new social networks. Through participation in the project people will have a direct impact on their local environment by creating better local green spaces. The project also looked at creating an environment where participants felt able to continue working in the green space as part of a self support peer group. The learning outcomes and evidence gained through delivery of this project has been used to produce this free resource guide to setting up a community garden project for people affected by mental ill-health.
This report provides an overview of this programme. The aim is to explore the intersection of community level initiatives and the development of a sustainable economy. In particular, it was believed that Scotland has developed some of the principles and practices of community based ownership of resources over the recent and distant past, and that this legacy could provide a model for how a more equitable, resilient, low carbon economy could be achieved in the future. Even if such an economy does not emerge, communities need to be strengthened so that they can support the needs of their members, especially if the contribution of governments is diminished. Whilst the Programme explored issues within Scotland in particular, many of the findings are also broadly relevant for other countries, and we drew on international examples as required. The goals of this Programme were to explore and design models for community resourcing, identify barriers for effective action in this area and highlight opportunities for future action. The planned output was the development of practical recommendations for the short, medium and long term, building on the combined knowledge of programme participants. The programme sought these goals through a series of interlinked seminars and also developed relationships between academics, practitioners and policy makers who are involved in various ways in this intellectual and practical space.
Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
The story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt. It’s been written by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what the true cost. It’s time to change the story. Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro -biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture. Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system. Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva and Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers, the film highlights how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty. The pressure is growing to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for millenia, by monocultures of GM seed.
This report provides an overview of the GLADS project, the main messages that came out of it and the key conclusions. The main purpose of the report is to work as a general record of the Good Lives and Decent Societies (GLADS) seminar series, not as a summary of each and every presentation. It has been written to give a flavour of the events, not a blow-by-blow account. It is principally aimed at a policy and practice audience, and more generally for anyone interested in the wellbeing debate. GLADS was designed to stimulate multi-disciplinary collaboration between academics, policy makers and practitioners. It aimed to increase understanding, facilitate the sharing of learning and generate new insights into how to embed the multi-faceted notion of societal wellbeing and social progress into decision-making to enable everyone to live a good live in a decent society.
Until relatively late in the 20th century, outdoor spaces around most hospitals were very much part of the healing environment. Gardens, terraces, orchards, meadows and even hospital farms were all commonplace and accessible to patients – particularly in the field of mental health. But, as time passed, the benefits for patients of being able to spend time outdoors in the fresh air have been increasingly overlooked, as the emphasis on creating a sterile environment indoors has developed. This has fostered a view that the healing environment was restricted to the inside of hospital buildings, excluding the gardens and other spaces around them. This Guide focuses on the outdoor spaces around all types of healthcare facilities. It advocates a holistic approach to their design, seeing both indoor and outdoor greenspaces as equally important for health and well-being. In doing so, it re-orientates outdoor spaces firmly within the sphere of patient-centred care – with the ‘Planetree model’ stipulating that healthcare environments should ‘foster a connection to nature and beauty’. So, all outdoor spaces should be part of the healing environment.
This report presents compelling evidence that we as a nation, and especially our children, are exhibiting the symptoms of a modern phenomenon known as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. We look at what this disorder is costing us, why it’s proving so difficult to reverse, and gather current thinking on what we must do to eliminate it, before opening up the question to the nation for consideration. It is important to state from the beginning that this is not an anachronistic lament on modernity. The benefits of modern technology are many; and to cry out for the return of some mythical golden age would be as ineffective as it would be misguided. Instead, this report is a call to arms to ensure that as we move forward, we do so while retaining what is most precious and gives life most meaning. As Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust, observed over 100 years ago, ‘the sight of sky and things growing are fundamental needs, common to all men.’ The lengthening shadow of what has been termed Nature Deficit Disorder threatens the fulfilment of that need; we must turn the tide.
This briefing paper presents key findings and policy recommendations from the data collected in the Wellbeing & Poverty Pathways field research undertaken in Chiawa, Zambia between 2010 and 2012. Key findings include: • Livelihoods in struggle: The people of Chiawa are struggling to survive, with traditional farming methods under threat and few secure alternative opportunities • Resource conflicts: Key concerns relate to the destruction of crops by wildlife, land alienation to outside investors, the elite capture of development interventions and local people's exclusion from decision-making. • Wellbeing: The multi-dimensional model of 'inner wellbeing' shows people in Chiawa to have low economic confidence, little sense of agency and low social trust. The research also demonstrates that local understandings of wellbeing extend into an ethic of taking care of others across time and space, and this should be seen as a model of power well used.
This guide introduces the 2010 Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index of Bhutan. It explains the origins of the concept of GNH, its grounding in Bhutanese culture and history, and describes how the concept is being operationalized in the form of the GNH Index in some novel and innovative ways. Any discussion of the GNH in Bhutan must begin from the understanding that it is distinct from the western literature on ‘happiness’ in two ways. First it is multidimensional –not focused only on subjective well-being to the exclusion of other dimensions – and second, it internalizes other regarding motivations. While multidimensional measures of the quality of life and well-being are increasingly discussed, Bhutan is innovative in constructing a multidimensional measure which is itself relevant for policy and is also directly associated with a linked set of policy and programme screening tools. This guide presents the GNH Index which provides an overview of national GNH across 9 domains, comprising of 33 clustered indicators, each one of which is composed of several variables. When unpacked, the 33 clustered indicators have 124 variables.
Learning for Well-being describes the journey of learning to realize our unique potential through physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development in relation to self, others and the environment.
This report examines what the collaborative economy is, who is operating and participating in it, and looks at how it can be supported and managed. The collaborative economy involves using internet technologies to connect distributed groups of people make better use of goods, skills and other useful things. It is going through a period of growth and experimentation and in order to gauge where the collaborative economy is headed, we need to start by getting a better grasp of its current state.
This briefing paper introduces the approach to wellbeing assessment being developed and applied by Wellbeing and Poverty Pathways in its three-year research project in Zambia and India. This is a revised and updated version (original April 2011). Key elements of the approach are: • A multi-dimensional model of wellbeing: Wellbeing is made up of seven domains that span material, relational and personal factors • A new concept of Inner Wellbeing: Subjective perspectives focus on 'Inner Wellbeing': what people feel and think they can do and be • An integrated, mixed method approach: Measures of how people are doing objectively complement Inner Wellbeing assessment. Qualitative data and reflection balance quantitative measures and analysis
Welcome to the UK’s top twenty “Transition oriented” social enterprises. Combined these enterprises have a turnover of £3.5 million and provide paid employment for more than 100 people. We think they’re rather brilliant examples of people just doing stuff. Each of these enterprises demonstrates a different way of working from business as usual – they are sustainable, offer some social benefits and have shared ownership, while providing essential goods and services for the community in which they make their home. They provide jobs for local people, as well as volunteering opportunities, and they buy from other local independent business. Most have emerged from a local Transition group or have links to Transition in some way.