Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, and Gross National Product, or GNP, are monetary measures of the market value of goods and services produced during the course of a year. GDP and GNP have now become the main tools for measuring a country’s economy and are often looked at as a measure of the success of a country and, accordingly, the citizens who live there.
But what if there were another way to measure success or wellbeing – one that considers a person’s happiness rather than monetary value? The term Gross National Happiness, or GNH, was coined in 1972 by the King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Bhutan is the only country in the world that incorporates GNH into its constitution. GNH concepts are now spreading across the world, including Thailand, Brazil, the UK and Canada. The United Nations has named March 20th as the International Day of Happiness. The City of Santa Monica sent a delegation to Bhutan to learn the GNH concepts and has now created The Wellbeing Project.
Ecologistics is hosting the first West Coast Gross National Happiness Conference on May 25, 2019, at the Copeland Pavilion at French Hospital in San Luis Obispo. The keynote speaker will be Kinga Tshering, former member of Parliament of Bhutan and the founder of the Institute of Happiness. Kinga was recently interviewed about GNH by Fred Munroe on KCBX’s Central Coast Voices. Panels will discuss implementation of GNH at the community and business levels. Dancers from the Bhutanese Association of California will perform a cultural presentation and artists will have paintings of Bhutan for sale. The event is sponsored by The Coastal Awakening. Tickets are $30 and include lunch. To register and for more information click here.
Ecologistics board member Doreen Liberto, a city and regional planner, attended a Gross National Happiness in April at Harvard. “There is a movement to incorporate GNH at a local level,” Doreen noted. “Cities are looking at creative ideas such as incorporating a happiness element in their general plans.” One of the panelists speaking at the Ecologistics conference is Jeremy Brown, a county supervisor from Trinity County, who is one of the first millennials elected to a supervisorial position in California and who hopes to embrace GNH in his county.