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The Good Life Doesn't Have to Cost Us the Planet

What if you woke up one day to find that humans eventually did make the right decisions, and the world turned out to be a pretty cool place.

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Stories and music are as old as campfires. For a time we forgot it, but being actively involved in making entertainment made us feel much better than just passively watching others perform. One of the first things taught in school now is the medical evidence that watching TV induces a mental state almost identical to clinical depression. It’s now common in pubs, clubs, and in any available hall to find groups of friends showing films made by themselves on cheap, easy-to-use equipment, and putting on a wide range of music and other performances.

People are intrigued and drawn in by the fact that they can actually get to know the musicians and filmmakers, because they are likely to live in the area. Just as people are happier to go out more locally during the day, because towns have become more pleasant places to be, the same is true at night. In the early evening people of all ages take to strolling around town, just for the sake of it. The increase in spare time means people start reviving half-forgotten festivals and celebrations, as well as creating new ones to mark everything from important global events, to the seasons, local history, people, and important events. There is much more partying in general.

The good life is active, but it’s full in a good way. By pressing all the right buttons it creates its own energy to thrive. So, by the time evening turns to night, most people are still in the mood to press other right buttons on the one they love. Then we’ll settle, tired maybe, satisfied surely, to take stock of how things have gone, round off our day, look forward to the next one, and enjoy our sleep, deeply.

Andrew Simms andJoe Smith wrote this article as part of Sustainable Happiness, the Winter 2009 issue of YES!Magazine. Andrew, pictured right, is policy director and head of the Climate Change Programme at nef (the new economics foundation); Joe Smith is a lecturer in the Geography Department at the Open University. They are co-editors of Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth? (2008) Constable, London. This article is developed from the book. Photo of Andrew Simms
YES! Magazine :: Image of other articles in our Winter 2009 issue: Sustainable Happiness


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