Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Seattle Area Happiness Initiative

Sustainable Seattle, a regional sustainability indicator organization, is currently working on a project to provide a comprehensive assessment of well-being and to engage and inspire people, organizations and policy makers to action. It is called the Seattle Area Happiness Initiative, and it is centered around a new way of measuring well-being called the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index. GNH, originally developed in Bhutan, establishes a quantitative measurement of well-being and happiness, identifying measures of well-being as more important than traditional measures focused on production and consumption.

To watch a news report about the Seattle Happiness Initiative, click here.

Sustainable Seattle has been publishing world-renowned regional sustainability indicators since the early 1990s, becoming the first organization in the United States to develop local indicators of well-being as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1991.

Indicators used in the happiness index include material well-being, environmental quality, governance, education, community vitality, cultural vitality, psychological health, human health, and time balance.

The initiative is the pilot for the Gross National Happiness Index Program, which hopes to use Seattle as a model by creating a simple and approachable platform for other cities to use. The program not only includes the GNH survey but also objective metrics, tools for shared learning and improvement, processes for convening partners and an advisory board, and programs for engaging businesses and individuals.

If you would like to participate in the Gross National Happiness Index Program, you can take the survey on Sustainable Seattle’s website. The survey focuses on nine domains of happiness: psychological well-being; physical health; time or work-life balance; social connection and community vitality; education; access to arts, culture and recreation; environmental quality and access to nature; good governance; and material well-being. Be a part of making our community a happier place!

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