Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well-being and sustainable development

We have just been watching the East of United States being buffered by a storm and watched the discussions associated with the unexpected recent earthquakes in the East of the States.

We have ourselves been experiencing this year more storms with unexpected tornadoes and once in a lifetime snow and extremely strong wind (even stronger than our usual windy city).  This has been a dramatic winter.  Also earthquakes have been experienced both here in New Zealand and were grieve with the people of Christchurch and Japan.   

Extreme events – these are either just the natural processes of nature or there is something different that has been created because of our obsession with using carbon and growth.  

It could be climate change and in this scientists appear to agree, but that doesn’t explain the earthquakes.  There seems to be a pattern developing that suggests a need for us to wake up to this pattern of natural disasters and demands that we think about sustainable development. 

We should see that sustainable development cannot have its focus on growth at any cost, it can’t involve the growth of wealth by a few and it needs to be about development focused on well-being and not only well-being in our own countries, but internationally.  

The new creative thinking must involve a new way of looking at our world and is really about sustainable development that recognises well-being and the pillars of well-being first and foremost. 

So what is well-being and how do we achieve it?

Firstly, well-being Good health, happiness, and prosperity: the state of being healthy, happy and prosperous (New Zealand Oxford Dictionary 2002)  

Now many of us use the word comfort instead of prosperity and our different objective is peace of mind.

The Maori view of health and well-being is different again, but provides us with more depth, and is helpful in our understanding of well-being linked with culture:
        [The Maori view] incorporates all aspects of a person’s internal and external worlds.  It assumes health in the spheres of physical, psychological, spiritual and family well-being and a balance among the individual, their environment and those around them. (St George, I ed: (2004) Cole’s Medical Practice in New Zealand: Publisher: Medical Council of New Zealand.)

What I find interesting about this concept of well-being is that it recognises the relationship we have with the internal and external worlds, and goes on to include all aspects of life as in the definitions I use in the four pillars of sustainable well-being. That is: social, economic, environment and cultural well-beingwww.pseconsultancy.com

The challenge is that we have to start thinking about well-being as the outcome we want for society.  This is so different from desire for growth.
The launch today of our government’s energy policy with its emphasis on more drilling, digging and exploiting any oil, coal and a token movement towards more sustainable electricity as wind farms become cheaper and more popular with energy companies, serves the purposes of growth and the promotion of commerce to favour the corporate interest.

 Those in positions of influence have seemingly forgotten they share their organic roots with the rest of us and the rest of the natural world.

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