The UN has declared today the first “International Day of Happiness.” It’s not about skipping merrily around or buying that Porsche you thought might make your life complete.
It’s about a focus on well-being, and all that entails: community, health, access to clean water and good food. A reminder that reckless pursuit of wealth isn’t good for the planet.
Just like every day should be women’s day, or mother’s day, in the sense that we shouldn’t need a special day to honor women or moms, every day should be a day where we are aware of the impact of our actions on each other and the planet, and the power of how we spend our time and money.
Of course, it’s not. But having a big publicity stunt can’t hurt to plant the notion of these ideals–that you can be a conscious consumer, a better member of your community, that unsustainable growth is short-sighted, that there are other ways to live than in a purely cash-grab culture–in the public consciousness.
All of this stems, of course, from Bhutan and Gross National Happiness. Last year at the UN there was a big confab lead by Bhutan about these notions. While Bhutan isn’t perfect, hardly perfect, it is a world leader in rallying governments and the people who lead them to discuss GNH over pure unbridled GDP.