Project History of the Happiness Alliance home of The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness Index

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Project history of the Happiness Alliance, home of The Happiness Initiative and The Gross National Happiness Index.

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  • 1.Project History

2. Happiness Alliances The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness Index survey was inspired by the country of Bhutans work to measure Gross National Happiness (GNH) and a global trend to measure happiness instead of just gross domestic product. The Happiness Initiative (HI) began as Sustainable Seattles (S2) as its fifth set of regional sustainability indicators. The project was a departure from S2s 20-year history of just objective sustainability indicators. S2 was the first organization to develop local indicators of well-being as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is widely acknowledged as the first community sustainability organization in the United States (Holden 2004). In 1996, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements awarded S2 the Excellence in Indicators Best Performance Award. In 2011, it became apparent the Happiness Initiative was a national organization, and so it was spun off as its own entity. The Happiness Initiative gained 501(c)3 status in March of 2012. 3. The Happiness Initiative began by offering a subjective indicator of wellbeing anyone can use. It is a survey that an individual can take to get an idea of their own personal assessment of their happiness, and any group or region can use to find out where the community is hurting and thriving. This is the Gross National Happiness Index survey. Our Seattle Area Happiness Report, issued in 2011, told us the youth our country (ages 19-25) are suffering: they do not see a bright future for them. Our work with immigrant and refugee communities* in Seattle in 2012 told us there is great social inequity in this country. The communities we worked with made lasting changes to how they interact with each other and their neighborhoods. Our Seattle Area Happiness Report, issued in 2011, told us the youth our country (ages 19-25) are suffering: they do not see a bright future for them. These are examples of how happiness data helps us understand where we are headed and take a path for a better future for all. * link: http://happycounts.blogspot.com/2012/06/seattle-may-not-be-happy-place-to-live.html 4. Empowered by this data, anyone anywhere can revitalize and reframe the debate and provokes richer broader conversation on a local and national level about what really should guide our policy makers in governing our country: just the economy and profit or wellbeing and happiness for all. The work of the Happiness Alliance (and our projects, The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness Index survey) is rooted in collaboration. Areas all over the US are conducting their own happiness initiatives. In 2013, the board of the Happiness Initiative determined to change the name to the Happiness Alliance and keep the Happiness Initiative as its program offering tools, resources and inspiration for cities, campuses, communities.We support activists using the Gross National Happiness Index to change the conversation from economic growth to our well-being and to supersede the singular use of GDP, profit and wealth with Gross National Happiness. 5. Project History questions or comments: info@happycounts.org

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