Happy planet

Posted on December 18, 2011


My last post focused on why the arts should have to prove their worth in monetary terms, which provides a great little segway into an inspirational talk I discovered on TED.com today. Wellbeing statistician Nic Marks takes the issue further to question why we’re so hell bent on measuring a nation’s success by its productivity, rather than the happiness of its people. And he does it with a great deal more eloquence and statistical finesse than I ever could.

His Happy Planet Index measures national wellbeing against resource use, showing up western countries like the USA as devouring the most energy to keep the population satisfied. Yes, I realise this may come as a colossal shock to most of you.

In keeping with the ‘a happy life doesn’t have to cost the earth’ mantra, here are a few ways I save money and get happy at the same time. How’s that for efficiency?

    1. Eating veggie – choosing vegetables over meat more often isn’t just easier on the wallet; all those vitamins will leave you feeling fresh, fit and ready to take on the world. Or at least the London underground…
    2. Cancelling gym membership – not only have I been able to save loads of money by braving the cold and running in the park rather than on the treadmill, I was also able to give the finger to the money gobbling, corporate institute that is Fitness First. Priceless.
    3. Cutting fuel costs –dressing warmer at home in the winter, rather than cranking up the heating to tropical temperatures, saves a lot of money. Plus wearing 13 jumpers at once makes you look really cool. I promise.
    4. Sell your crap on Ebay – as hard as it was to say goodbye to my old Take That CDs, I earned a bit of cash and now my music collection looks infinitely less tragic. Adios boys, you will be missed.