Sep 20, 2010

Sustainable Seattle's Fifth Iteration of Sustainability Indicators and Seattle's Gross Happiness Product Initiative

SA-HI stands for Seattle's Area Happiness Initiative. Join it. We are.

Today a select few convened to join the Seattle Area Happiness Initiative - more shortly on this.

Today, Sustainable Seattle also announced that we are launching our fifth iteration of sustainability indicators. They will be based on the Gross National Happiness Product. Twenty years ago, Sustainable Seattle was the first organization to create a set of regional sustainability indicators through grass roots activism. Twenty years ago,Sustainable Seattle was the first in the field. Our work was formative in the indicator field today. That said, the indicator field has radically changed in the last generation (20 years). Cities, counties, other non-profits, groups of activists are issuing their own sustainability indicators. Businesses, agencies (like GRI and UN) have issued sustainability indicators. There are businesses offering sustainability indicator IT programs.

In the last twenty years, the indicator field has been terrifically successful. Our fourth iteration is demonstrative of the complexity of the field. It has also had terrific failures. The democratization of information, deep and wide spread grass roots activism - these have not been effected. Sustainability is in danger of becoming a leisure activity. Its time to stop reinventing and refining this wheel. Its time to break ground again and focus on grass roots activism.

So, today we start our fifth iteration of sustainability indicators based on the Gross National Happiness product. And we will focus on grass roots activism- on transforming what data means to people. What does this mean? We invite you to come and define this. October 11th at 2 pm will be our first meeting.

Who was there? Seattle Foundation, King County Labour Council , SCALLOPS, Antioch, City Club, Sierra Club, Compassionate Action Network, People for Puget Sound, Puget Sound Regional Council, UW Urban Planning and School of Public Health, Cascade Bicycle Club, Yes Magazine, Bellevue College, Sustainable Cascadia, were among those who attended. Sustainable Seattle too, of course.

Richard Conlin, City of Seattle's Council President gave the welcoming speech, noting that this initiative is timely, is needed, and is supported by the council. Cecile Andrews spoke to John de Graff's leadership in our community. John is the one bringing the Gross National Happiness initiative to Seattle.

John spoke about the inequity in our society. Who is hurting? How are they perceiving the harm? What are their needs? Part of this process will be to conduct surveys based on those Bhutan uses. The GHP provides a way to gauge this, and the material for policy formation. John spoke about how people responded to the surveys - about the levels of stress and imbalance in time and work in our lives today.

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