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.
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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.
Since 2010 the government has made great strides in measuring population wellbeing. The question now is how to use that data and other evidence on wellbeing to create better policies. This project brought together members of the public to help do just that. By running three public dialogues on wellbeing in policy, this project found that the public were interested and engaged with wellbeing, and that the wellbeing lens enabled them to really consider what matters to them. This has the potential, not only to deliver better policy, but also to reconnect people to the policy-making process in a meaningful way. The project aims to answer the question: When and how should the public be engaged in the use of wellbeing in policy-making? It then looks at three policy areas and provides guidance and support for policy makers. The three areas are: - Increasing the incomes of low earners; - Reducing loneliness; - Increasing community control through community rights.
An Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of Charleston with an interest in applying ancient ethical standards to modern day life, Jennifer discusses how cheating can alter your happiness.
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.
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.
There is a growing realisation that ‘Western diets’ need to change. The rising problem of obesity in many parts of the world is well catalogued, with some suggesting that half the UK population will be obese by 2050 (if current trends continue). The strain will be felt not just on people’s waistlines, but also on the planet, on people working in the food system and on farm animal welfare. Attempts at nudging behaviours have had, at best, partial success. There has been a noticeable reluctance on the part of food companies and governments to ‘tell people what to eat’. The June 2014 meeting of the Business Forum looked at whether this needs to change – and whether stronger interventions are required, given the scale of the challenges facing humanity. Is it ethically acceptable for food businesses to try to influence people’s diets or is it unacceptable for them not to?
It's often said that it's better to give than receive but did you know that this is actually backed up by research? The UK faces challenging and unstable times with volatile economic markets and job uncertainty. Many people say they feel too stressed and busy to worry about helping others or say they will focus on doing good deeds when they have more ‘spare time’ but the evidence shows that helping others is beneficial forpeople’s mental health and wellbeing. It can help: - reduce stress - improve emotional wellbeing - benefit physical health - bring a sense of belonging and reduce isolation - get rid of negative feelings
The corporation is at a crossroads. The businesses that we have grown up with and the business models that underpin them face deep challenges. They are being reconstructed, from within and without, by pervasive technology. Their values, and the values associated with work and the workplace, are increasingly being questioned. Their model of resource use, of “use it and throw it out,” is increasingly running up against constraints of supply costs. New ways of designing and managing businesses, and new business models, are inevitable. Changes in values are always one of the biggest sources of social transformation. One of the most significant changes in values at present is the shift towards wellbeing, at both a personal and public policy level.
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.
The UK food system today faces three major challenges: we need to ensure food security, domestically and globally; our production and consumption of food must be environmentally sustainable; and our food policy must promote public health. Only a socially just food system can meet these challenges, but considerations of fairness are largely peripheral to food policy debate, which instead tends to focus on economic and environmental issues. This report presents the findings of the Food Ethics Council’s Food and Fairness Inquiry, which was set up in order to remedy the relative neglect of social justice in public debate about food policy. It reveals the extent of social injustice in the food system within the UK and at global level, and demonstrates how this unfairness impedes progress towards sustainable food and farming. The problems are several and profound – but the evidence presented to the Inquiry also points the way forward, towards a sustainable, healthy, and fair food system. The report maps out this future trajectory for food policy, and identifies the respective responsibilities of UK government, businesses and civil society.
Is it any surprise that four out of five British citizens want the government to act on inequality? The richest 1% of the UK population are now wealthier than the poorest 50% put together – a disparity that has been growing steadily since the 1970s, and on current trends is set to get even worse. But this isn’t about the politics of envy; nor is it purely about what is morally right or wrong. We have convincing evidence that extreme economic inequality is contributing decisively to financial instability, wasted human capital, lower well-being and mental health, domination of politics by an elite few and low voter turn out. We can no longer afford to ignore our inequality problem. It’s time for action. The authors of this report call on the government to start with two key steps. The first is to set a tangible target to reduce economic inequality, as they have for child poverty. The second is to establish a high-level commission on economic inequality tasked with devising a broad policy agenda to tackle the drivers of inequality. They then identify five high-level goals that must be achieved to address some of the root drivers of economic inequality. Each goal is accompanied with a set of policy area priorities.
The Winter 2013 edition of Food Ethics assesses what the right to food means for individuals and communities around the world. They ask experts who should be providing and fulfilling that right; how we can ensure the right to food is met; and what obligations businesses have to support access to affordable, decent food. These are fundamental questions that are as directly relevant to us here in the global north as they are in the global south. The recent proliferation of food banks in the UK, with the associated political hand wringing, as well as the increasing anxiety of NGOs about the sharp increase in land grabs in Asia and Africa are but two recent examples of how the right to food affects us all. The expert contributors include Olivier de Schutter, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Patrick Mulvany (Chair of the UK Food Group & Food Ethics Council member), Phil Bloomer (Executive Director of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre) and many more.
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.
A movement is emerging in many places, under many guises: New Economy (or Economies), Regenerative Economy, Solidarity Economy, Next Economy, Caring Economy, Sharing Economy, Thriving Resilience, Community Resilience, Community Economics, Oppositional Economy, High Road Economy, and other names. It’s a movement to replace the default economy of excess, control, and exploitation with a new economy based on respecting biophysical constraints, preferring decentralization, and supporting mutuality. This movement is a sign of the growing recognition that what often are seen as separate movements—environment, social justice, labor, democracy, indigenous rights—are all deeply interconnected, particularly in the way that the current economic system is a root cause of much that they seek to change.
Lecture at Harvard University on Great Transition core concepts by GTI Director Paul Raskin. The Great Transition Initiative is an online forum of ideas and an international network for the critical exploration of concepts, strategies, and visions for a transition to a future of enriched lives, human solidarity, and a resilient biosphere.
This is the eighth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks nations according to their level of peace. The Index is composed of 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and ranks 162 independent states, covering 99.6 percent of the world’s population. The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. In addition to presenting the findings from the 2014 GPI and its seven-year trend analysis, this year’s report includes an updated analysis of the economic impact of violence as well as a detailed assessment of country risk using risk models developed by IEP based on its unique datasets.
The kingdom of Bhutan is honoured to offer this report as a contribution to the growing global conversation on a transformative post-2015 development agenda. The report is inspired by Bhutan’s development approach based on the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and proposes a New Development Paradigm with societal happiness as its guiding vision. Such a holistic view of development has the potential to transform humanity’s relationship with nature, restructure our economies, change our attitudes to food and wealth, and promote caring, altruism, inclusiveness and cooperation. In the new paradigm, genuine happiness is understood to arise from a deep abiding sense of harmony with the natural world, of compassion, contentment and joy. It also acknowledges that basic needs like clean air and water, good health, decent living conditions, knowledge, peace, security and justice, meaningful relationships and other dimensions of wellbeing are essential preconditions for human beings to flourish and achieve true happiness. The new development framework presented is not intended to be dogmatic or static. Rather, Bhutan wished to contribute to the search for a genuinely different paradigm – a process that will require exploration of unorthodox approaches that challenge the fundamentals of the current paradigm in search of a better way to live and flourish on our planet. This new paradigm is envisioned to emerge and evolve through a dynamic process of global conversation, participation and constant feedback.
The EcoMind Workshop/Seminar is designed to engage participants in Frances Moore Lappé's core idea of “changing the way we think to create the world we want.” To help us examine our core assumptions about community, democracy, hope, fear and courage in the context of today’s global challenges, as well as within ourselves and our communities, the workshop uses a range of media tools and participatory activities.
The study suggests that some environmental campaigning currently operates inadvertently to exacerbate these unhelpful aspects of identity. It also points to ways in which environmental organisations could begin to work in order to activate more helpful aspects of identity. Finally, it highlights new opportunities for collaborations across diverse civil society organisations to begin to address fundamental barriers to delivery on a range of concerns - from biodiversity loss to poverty alleviation, and racism to animal welfare abuses.
Business needs to unleash its full potential to contribute to social and environmental challenges, and to increase global well-being. A simple idea that still clashes with mainstream capitalism and its “business as usual” practices. Grounded in indigenous oriental knowledge, this paper uncovers a comprehensive holistic human-centered worldview that drives higher purpose maximization through sustainable business and management development. Taoist Yin-Yang and the Five Elements theories, along with Zen Buddhism main principles and western-based management models, provide a comprehensive framework to lead conscious businesses through value-oriented strategies. They coach a balanced relationship among corporate‘s dynamic processes putting leadership, marketing, innovation and finance at the service of a spiritual-wise business model. This is devoted exclusively to lead organizational transformation, marketing social change and render positive externalities. This paper is not only about showing that there is more to business than making money, it rather seeks to bring to the debate the personal, organisational and systemic transformational power of business when it is based in values and human-centred models that raw upon ancient human knowledge.
Diego Isabel La Moneda explains The Economy for the Common Good, an interesting new business and economic movement coming from Austria. The idea is simple -- the economic system and the enterprises operating within in should be oriented toward benefiting the common good. The ECG programme outlines practical steps for business, and eventually, governments to make this happen. Over 1400 partner companies in Austria, Germany Switzerland and Spain have joined this budding network. Will this work in the UK? In Totnes? Click to watch and find out. This talk was organised by Network Of Wellbeing, Schumacher College and Transition Town Totnes REconomy Project.
Adapting to the profound effects of climate change, lifting one billion starving people out of hunger, addressing the escalating obesity crisis – these are just three of the many formidable economic, social and environmental challenges confronting the food system. One thing is clear: if society is going to successfully meet these challenges, something has to change – ‘business as usual is not an option’. This assessment – a key message from the 2010 report Food Justice – has gained widespread, cross-sectoral endorsement in recent years. To date, however, this growing consensus has not been translated into the transformative policy and practice that is urgently required. What, exactly, does getting beyond business as usual mean in practical terms? That is the question the Food Ethics Council’s Beyond Business As Usual project has sought to answer.
A 90 minute film directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot. Can we imagine a film that would change the way people look at the ocean? Can we explain simply, to everyone, the greatest natural mystery of our planet? And lastly, can we help our children believe in a better and more sustainable world tomorrow? This is the triple challenge of a new cinema adventure signed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and editor- in-chief Michael Pitiot, who brings with him the scientific missions of TARA, a unique pool of researchers, oceanographers and biologists from several countries. Thanks to its astonishing photography, the film takes us on a magnificent and unprecedented journey into the heart of the least known regions of our planet. The film narrates the most marvelous and also the most terrifying human experiences of our time. Filmed in extreme geographical conditions all over the glove, it describes the modern Odyssey of people who go out to discover their blue planet. The film is also a plea for humanity to respect the world in which we live. It serves a noble and universal cause.
Directed by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and narrated by Glenn Close, HOME takes you on a visually stunning, spectacular voyage around the world. It is a unique film that approaches the current debate about climate change from a whole new angle, giving viewers the opportunity to see for themselves how our earth is changing. Going well beyond the scientific reports, charts and graphs, this film is an inspiration that speaks to our hearts and touches our souls. Spanning 54 countries and 120 locations, all seen from the air, the film captures the Earth’s most amazing landscapes, showcasing its incomparable beauty and acknowledging its vulnerability. HOME is a compelling emotional reminder of what is at stake: the Earth, in all its beauty, and the people who live on it. HOME is the first major film about climate change that has been made using only aerial photography. The film marks artist and activist, Yann Arthus-Betrand’s feature film directorial debut.
The Story of Solutions explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal. In the current 'Game of More', we're told to cheer a growing economy -- more roads, more malls, more Stuff! -- even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting. But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn't more, but better -- better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet? Shouldn't that be what winning means?
Our economy is geared, above all, to achieving growth. In times of recession especially, economic policy is all about returning to growth. But a financial crisis can also be an opportunity for some basic rethinking about what the economy is for, and how through some fundamental restructuring of our financial system we can safeguard our economic stability in the future, as well as achieving wider social and environmental benefits. In recent years, other objectives such as sustainability and wellbeing have moved up the political agenda. Over two years, the SDC's Redefining Prosperity project looked into the connections and conflicts between sustainability, wellbeing and growth. Following a series of seminars and commissioned think pieces, we published the report Prosperity without Growth? The transition to a low carbon economy, written by Professor Tim Jackson, the SDC's Economics Commissioner. Prosperity without Growth? analyses the complex relationships between growth, environmental crises and social recession. In the last quarter of a century, as the global economy has doubled in size, increases in consumption have caused the degradation of an estimated 60% of the world's ecosystems. The benefits of growth have been distributed unevenly, with a fifth of the world's population sharing just 2% of global income. Even in developed countries, huge gaps in wealth and well-being remain between rich and poor. Our report proposes a twelve step route to a sustainable economy, and argues for a redefinition of "prosperity" in light of our evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing.
Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population, and seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years. The World Economic Forum has identified economic inequality as a major risk to human progress, impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale. This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a real threat to inclusive political and economic systems, and compounds other inequalities – such as those between women and men. Left unchecked, political institutions are undermined and governments overwhelmingly serve the interests of economic elites – to the detriment of ordinary people. In this paper, Oxfam shows how extreme inequality is not inevitable, with examples of policies from around the world which have reduced inequality and developed more representative politics, benefiting all, both rich and poor. Oxfam calls on leaders at the 2014 World Economic Forum at Davos to make the commitments needed to counter the growing tide of inequality.