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Personal happiness and healthy environment deeply interconnected, new book says



Our appetite for material things that we cannot have is seriously harming the planet’s resources according to the new book by a researcher from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

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The book Happier People Healthier Planet: How putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth suggests that our insatiable emotional hunger for material objects is damaging both the most disadvantaged individuals and the ecosystem.

Author Dr Teresa Belton, researcher and visiting fellow in UEA’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning, said, “Happier People Healthier Planet demonstrates how we can improve our prospects in a world where the state of the environment and the happiness of many people are in decline.

“If we address our deeper emotional needs, we will feel less compelled to acquire more, better, newer material goods. This will be a positive step toward protecting the world for us all.”

The author believes that ecological destruction and personal wellbeing are “inseparable concerns” and explains how consuming more does not make us happier, but instead harms the planet.

The book suggests living more modestly and finding creativity in the natural world as ways to improve personal wellbeing.

Commenting on the book, UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, Professor Timothy O’Riordan said, “It provides the necessary analysis of why the ‘old way’, confusing wealth with wellbeing, cannot continue, and offers the hope of renewal and betterment within a timescale that is manageable.”

A poll conducted in June suggested that Britons are becoming more and more materialistic, being too focused on their own lives to help others and preferring to spend their money on holidays and clothes rather than on charitydonations.

Photo: André Mouraux  via flickr

Further reading:

Britons becoming ‘ever more materialistic’ – as Giving Tuesday comes to the UK

All consuming: the real problem is what we do

Black Friday consumerism typified by tussles at Walmart

Ethical consumerism’s long journey to the mainstream

The Guide to Philanthropy & Giving 2013


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