The Pursuit of HappinessThe Pursuit of Happiness; Finding a Job in Sustainability

A presentation at the This Way to Sustainability Conference at CSU Chico, March 6, 2014

What we will do today in the next 50 minutes:

                *  What is happiness and why is it important?

                *  How are sustainability and happiness related?

                *  If I want to work in sustainability and that will make me happy, how do I find a job?

                *  Physical takeaways from today’s talk

What is happiness and why is it important?

What is Happiness?

What makes people happy?

Age, income, having children, education, toys, travel, experiences

How are sustainability and happiness related?

Three prongs of sustainability, economy, environment, social equity – happiness allows us through measures like the Gross National Happiness measure to get our arms around the social equity component of sustainability

We believe that the sustainability movement must embrace the concept of happiness as a major focus. In fact, there are strong parallels between happiness and environmental sustainability; both advocate for the fact that life is more than just about money, and that relationships with other people and the environment matter.

~ Chirapon WangwongwirojUniversity of Michigan

Bhutan provides us with an example of a serious attempt to quantify social equity so that it can be on the same level in people’s minds with indexes of economic and environmental vitality.


GNH value is an index function of the total average per capita of the following measures:

1.Economic Wellness: debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution

2.Environmental Wellness: environmental metrics such as pollution, noise and traffic

3.Physical Wellness: physical health metrics such as severe illnesses

4.Mental Wellness:  usage of antidepressants and rise/decline of psychotherapy patients

5.Workplace:  jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits

6.Social Wellness: discrimination, safety, divorce rates, crime rates

7.Political Wellness: the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

If sustainability efforts are themselves going to be sustainable over the long haul, sustainability needs to connect with a vision of the good life. ~ Dan Farber, UC Berkeley

Happiness as Correlate of Sustainable Behavior: A Study of Pro-Ecological, Frugal, Equitable and Altruistic Actions That Promote Subjective Wellbeing ~ Victor Corral-Verdugo (Human Ecology Review)

In turn, sustainable behavior significantly influenced a “happiness” factor – in other words doing things that were good for sustainability made people feel better about themselves

If I want to work in sustainability and that will make me happy, how do I find a job?

                You already have identified your interest

                Resources available,  Finding a job in Sustainability

                How do you get a job – education, experience, passion and how you stand out

Physical takeaways from today’s talk

                Link to the job site as well as resources mentioned

                5 Things you can do immediately to make you happier

                Shameless plug: Read the Ministry of Happiness Blog

Finally here are the slides for the presentation: The Pursuit of Happiness