Global climate change is perhaps the most pressing issue our world faces today. Greenhouse gas emissions reductions are urgently needed, however, there is currently a lack of action due to the fear that a reduction in the ecological footprint will lead to a reduction in GDP and happiness levels of a society. Increasing GDP and economic progress are equivocated with increasing happiness and overall well-being of society. However, based on the literature I discuss in this paper, instead of GDP, an objective measurement of happiness is a better indicator of success. In this paper, I investigate the ecological footprints (in order to quantify consumption) of university students in David, and compare their footprints to happiness level data; through this analysis, I am able to determine if a reduction in consumption (as measured by ecological footprint) equivocates a reduction in happiness. This information is useful because if a reduction is not equal to a reduction in happiness, as the indicator of GDP would suggest, there are important individual and policy implications. I further examine the Happy Planet Index of these subjects, analyzing how well university students in David can produce happy, healthy, sustainable, lives. In this paper, I first briefly review the literature regarding the relationship between ecological footprints and happiness. Next, I describe the methods I use in order to research my question and complete my objectives, and analyze the empirical data I gathered. I explore the ecological footprints of university students in David, as well their happiness levels, and examine the relationship between the two variables. I also examine their Happy Planet Indices, and compare this index to national and international data. I conclude with a discussion of the data, addressing potential strengths and weaknesses of my study, and outline areas for future research.
Community-Based Research | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Growth and Development | Place and Environment | Sustainability
Burlager, Samantha, "Carbon Can’t Buy Happiness: An Analysis of Ecological Footprints and Happiness of University Students in the City of David, Panama" (2013). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 1737.
Community-Based Research Commons, Environmental Health and Protection Commons, Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment Commons, Growth and Development Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Sustainability Commons