Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Happy Planet Index

The folks over at the Happy Planet Index (HPI) have developed a new way to rank countries: by their performance in supporting good life for their citizens "whilst respecting the environmental resource limits upon which our lives depend." Vanuatu tops the list of countries with an HPI of 68.2, closely followed by Colombia (67.2) and Costa Rica (66.1). Zimbabwe is at the bottom at 16.6. Nigeria at 31.1 does better than the USA, which shares an HPI of 28.8 with the West African state of Cote d'Ivoire. So how, you may ask, is the HPI calculated? "The statistical calculations that underlie the HPI are quite complex. However conceptually, it is straight forward and intuitive: HPI=(life satisfaction + life expectancy)/Ecological footprint. No country in the world has yet achieved the "reasonable ideal" of of 83.5. HPI is a creation of the New Economics Foundation, supported by Friends of the Earth.

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