This Earth Day 2017, here’s a top ten list of the countries that are the best when it comes to living happily and healthily in harmony with nature.
Every summer vacation you choose where to go and come up with similar or similar looking places to visit. Here’s a new list of destinations to consider. These are not only some of the greenest, most naturally pristine countries of the world, but also the people there are amongst the healthiest and happiest. It wouldn’t be a surprise to not see any ‘developed’ western nations in this list as they fall low on the parameters of environmental conservation – they define their growth in terms that comes at the cost of nature. Whereas the New Economic Foundation seeks to move away from purely economic measures of growth, development, happiness but also takes into account the amount of natural resources used.
The Happy Planet Index calculates happiness by measuring a country’s happiness in relation to the wellbeing, life expectancy, social inequality and then dividing it by its ecological footprint. This is perhaps a better measure to gauge sustainable development than other yardsticks such as GDP which only takes a certain kind of growth into account which may be causing pollutions of different kinds which in turn actually causes the quality of life to degrade over time.
When you are deciding on your holiday destinations, rather than visiting yet another country with a similar template of lifestyle, how about visiting these countries to see their different life and what do they do differently to stay happy and to keep the Earth happy as well.
The first on this list is the tiny nation of Costa Rica. It has held this top spot for many years. Costa Rica (literally means Rich Coast), is in Central America ensconced between Pacific Ocean on one side and Caribbean Sea on the other. It is small in size and you might not have come across its name in the lists of wealthy nations but time and again, it has been applauded by UN and other bodies for its progressive environment policies and for the level of human development achieved.
Costa Rica promotes eco tourism and it is one of the fastest growing sectors of its economy. It is the first nation in the Americas to ban animal hunting for recreational purposes. It proposes to become fully carbon-neutral (which means that it won’t be adding carbon dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere) by 2021. 99% of its electricity comes from renewable sources. And what might come as a surprise to you – Costa Rica has no army. It hasn’t had an army since 1948. Now, here’s a country that really dedicates all its efforts in wellbeing of its people and its environment.
Costa Rica Pics:
Mexico, also in Central America, with a population of 122.3 million, is second on the list.
Wellbeing in Mexico is calculated higher than in neighbouring USA despite Mexico’s economy being almost five times smaller, and its Ecological Footprint almost a third of the size. Not only is it taking long term climate goals into its national policy, it is also taking important steps to conserve its forests and protect its rich biodiversity. It is also much focussed towards its people’s health. Mexico provides universal health coverage making essential health services available to the entire population. In 2014, a tax was imposed on sugary drinks with the express aim of tackling of obesity – this despite strong corporate opposition. A nation, big or small, rich or poor, can execute the right decisions for its land and its people if the will is there and Mexico demonstrates that.
Colombia is in third place after having good scores on happiness and eco-footprint, which is the impact of people on the environment and is expressed by the amount of productive land required to support their use of resources.
The top 10 list of countries is here :
1. Costa Rica
Great alternative to regular holiday destinations as well, eh! We bet you had to look in the map where Vanuatu is ?
At One Shoe Trust for Responsible and Mindful Travels, I always say, that travelling is not just a getaway, it can be a great learning experience if we let it be. Done right, travelling can help us understand our world better and can expand our horizons. It can help us see that there are different lifestyles in the world, some which are considerably better than our own daily lives. These countries practice some of the best lifestyles that make them happy, healthy and very green. Now, wouldn’t these be the perfect destinations to visit?
About Ansoo Gupta
Ansoo Gupta is a tireless explorer who’s been to 70 countries and counting and has been working on sharing her love with others. Her motto has always been: “Don’t just travel, travel right. And always, always travel light.” Known for her travel workshops “Come, Plan, Go” in which Ansoo shares her time-tested tips on how to travel more for less, this marketing veteran has also set up One Shoe Trust to help more people travel the world in an earth-friendly way