What makes for "wellbeing" - the state of being generally happy, healthy and secure?
The word means different things to different people - but there are some common threads that generally make for a good outcome. Broadly people seem to agree that 'wellbeing' involves:
It's easy to get distracted by measures of success like money, possessions, or social position - or, for countries, things like GDP (Gross Domestic Product, a measure of the economic activity going on). But wouldn't it be so much better if we focused on the things that really matter, and that really make for a healthy society? Increasingly, that's exactly what's happening....
In the UK, the Government's Office of National Statistics began measuring the population's wellbeing and happiness in 2010, and publishes regular updates on the metrics it uses.
In 2015, the well-respected Thinktank the New Economics Foundation launched its "headline indicators for national success".
In the same year, the Welsh Government enacted the "Well-being of Future Generations Act" which aims to secure the social, environmental, economic and cultural wellbeing of the country now and ongoing.
Elsewhere, the Happy Planet Index measures the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them using data on life expectancy, the wellbeing people say they experience, and their ecological footprint. And famously, the small but farsighted Kingdom of Bhutan looks to measure Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of the inadequate, somewhat blunt instrument of GDP.
And what of the Isle of Man? Well, EcoVannin is planning a "Week of Wellbeing" in February, when we hope to engage with local people on exactly what a thriving Island means to them.
We are working with the wonderful Network of Wellbeing, a UK-based organisation which aims to promote a better understanding of what makes for a "well society", and how to achieve it. Their Dr Larch Maxey will be helping facilitate the sessions.
We hope we'll find that there's lots to celebrate, but also that we'll be able to help people identify, between them, what would make for a better environment in which to live and work - and how we can make these changes happen. In an election year, this could be very useful fodder for aspiring MHKs to consider - a real voice of the people!
We plan for meetings in five different towns, so you don't have to travel too far to hear what it's all about and make your feelings known. So mark the week beginning Monday 22 February in your diaries, and we'll give you more details very soon!
Find out how you can help spread awareness and help the Isle of Man's environment through your business
Have a question, inquiry or feedback? We'd love to hear from you here at EcoVannin! contact us today