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Gross National Happiness

The Monastery Taktshang- Bhutan

You’ve heard of Gross National Product but have you heard of Gross National Happiness?

How happy are you? What makes you happy? Take the survey at www.happycounts.org

Gross National Happiness is a term coined by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing. The concept of GNH has often been explained by its four pillars: good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation. Lately the four pillars have been further classified into nine domains in order to create widespread understanding of GNH and to reflect the holistic range of GNH values. The nine domains are: psychological wellbeing, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards. The domains represents each of the components of wellbeing of the Bhutanese people, and the term ‘wellbeing’ here refers to fulfilling conditions of a ‘good life’ as per the values and principles laid down by the concept of Gross National Happiness.

What does this have to do with a multi-use trail through Buffalo County? A trail would encompass many domains listed above such as economic development, health, good governance and most importantly I think…community vitality. It would be physically and mentally healthy to get out and walk or bike through this beautiful county and each of us might get to slow down a bit and talk to our friends and neighbors.Working together to bring something unique to the area would foster pride and increase our Gross National Happiness.

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