So what do they mean by ecological efficiency? And what do those colors indicate? Well, here's some of what they have to say:
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an innovative new measure that shows the ecological efficiency with which human well-being is delivered around the world. It is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which country by country, people live long and happy lives.Sound a bit vague to you? Here's the HPI described in somewhat more concrete terms:
The Index doesn’t reveal the ‘happiest’ country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that top the Index aren’t the happiest places in the world, but the nations that score well show that achieving, long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources is possible. The HPI shows that around the world, high levels of resource consumption do not reliably produce high levels of well-being (life-satisfaction), and that it is possible to produce high levels of well-being without excessive consumption of the Earth’s resources. It also reveals that there are different routes to achieving comparable levels of well-being. The model followed by the West can provide widespread longevity and variable life satisfaction, but it does so only at a vast and ultimately counter-productive cost in terms of resource consumption.
The HPI reflects the average years of happy life produced by a given society, nation or group of nations, per unit of planetary resources consumed. Put another way, it represents the efficiency with which countries convert the earth’s finite resources into well-being experienced by their citizens.Still dubious? Try this:
There: variables expressed in Greek. So you know it's serious.
Actually, the principle here seems like a good one to me; I'll have a bit more to say about it later. For now I only ask: could Guatemala and Honduras really be among the most "ecologically efficient" countries in the world? I don't know - I'm really just asking. But it does surprise me a bit.