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The Good Life, The Sustainable Life

February 14, 2018

Today’s Los Angeles Times Science File article is “Keep up ‘good life’? It will take work,” written by Karen Kaplan who authors many of their science file articles. (LAT Weds. 2-14-18, pg 14)

Yes, it will take work to ‘keep up the good life,’ and none of the 150 countries studied have gotten there yet.

The ‘good life’ consists of eleven factors: Life Satisfaction, Healthy Life Expectancy, Nutrition, Sanitation, Income, Access to Energy, Sanitation, Social Support, Democratic Quality, Equality, Employment.

The ‘sustainable life’ consists of seven factors: CO2 emissions, phosphorus, nitrogen, blue water, land-use change, ecological footprint, material footprint.

Netherlands and Swaziland, their graphs depicted below, are respectively one of the best and one of the worst. Netherlands fulfills all eleven good life factors (blue inner circle), but falls short on six of seven sustainability factors (green outer rings). Swaziland falls well short on all eleven good life factors, doing best on Social Support. It falls short on five of seven sustainability factors.

Basically, the more blue the better, the less green the better.

U.S.A. and Germany are not so dissimilar.
U.S.A: Good life 9 of 11; Sustainability 1 of 7
Germany: Good life 11 of 11; Sustainability 2 of 7

Additional detail is available, such as this for U.S.A. and Germany. It’s easier to read on their website.

Check it out. There are other goodies on the site: world maps, scenarios to explore, discussions.

Perhaps instead of holding the fabulously expensive, once-ever-four-years Olympics, we could intentionally invest and take pride in a ‘Good & Sustainable Life’ Olympics. If your country wins this competition, every citizen within your borders really wins something of life-sustaining value which will likely last their lifetime, not just a shiny metal medal on a ribbon, suitable for hanging around one person’s neck for one day, and one day only.
[Chuck Almdale]

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