EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Sustainable Development and Quality of Life in the Ageing Societies

Figure 5: Ratio of birth rates as a function of the Inequality Adjusted Life Satisfaction in 2000-2005 and in 1970-1975
zidansek-figure-5.gif
These relations also strongly depend on cultural conditions. It is therefore interesting to observe the data from fig. 5 are plotted only for the former Soviet countries (Fig. 6), which share a long common history and other cultural ties.

Figure 6: Ratio of birth rates as a function of the Environmental Sustainability in 2000-2005 and in 1970-1975. The lower number indicates a lower birth rate in 2000-2005 as compared to the period 1970-1975 for the former Soviet countries
zidansek-figure-6.gif
While fig. 3 to 6 clearly show that there is a correlation between environmental sustainability, life satisfaction and ageing, the data do not allow to determine the direction of this causal relation.

4. Conclusions

It has been shown that both environmental sustainability as measured by ESI and the subjective quality of life as measured by Inequality Adjusted Life Satisfaction are positively correlated with indicators of ageing. however, the nature of the causal relation for this correlation is not clear yet. The most likely explanation must take into account the fact, that all these indices are strongly interrelated. The data show that mature societies are also more sustainable and happier. however, the correlation between sustainability and happiness is only positive for more sustainable countries, while it is negative for less sustainable ones. While better sustainability also improves happiness in countries, which are already reasonably sustainable, it is harder to motivate very unsustainable countries to change because this is also related to decrease in life satisfaction. A comparison of ageing measures to both sustainability and happiness, however, demonstrates that sustainability and happiness improve with ageing. It must be noted, though, that extreme ageing was not taken into account, because the average age in all the observed countries is still well below 65.
While these correlations at first appear to be interesting only as an academic discourse, they also demonstrate that Europe, for example, has in its ageing population a significant advantage both in terms of happiness and in terms of sustainability.

References
Brundtland, G. H. et al. (1987): Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Diener, E. and Seligman M. E. P. (2002): “Very happy people”, Psychological Science, 13 (1), pp. 81-84, January.

Esty, D.C., Levy, M., Srebotnjak, T. and de Sherbinin, A. (2005): 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index: Benchmarking National Environmental Stewardship, Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, New Haven, www.yale.edu/esi.

Inglehart, R. and Klingemann, H. D. (2000): “Genes, Culture, Democracy and Happiness”, in Diener, E. and Suh, E.M. (Eds.), Culture and Subjective Well-Being Across Cultures, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp. 165-182.

Kirkcaldy, B., Furnham, A., Siefen, G. (2004): “The relationship between health efficacy, educational attainment and well-being among 30 nations”, European Psychologist 9 (2), pp. 107-119.

Ott, J. (2000): “Freedom and the Achievement of Happiness”, 50th Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association UK, April 10-13, (2000), www.psa.ac.uk/cps/2000/Ott%20Jan.pdf.

Schyns, P. (2002): “Wealth of nations, individual income and life satisfaction in 42 countries: A multilevel approach”, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 60, pp. 5-40.

Seligman, M. E. P. (1991): Learned Optimism, A. A. Knopf, New York.

Sitarz, D. (1993): Agenda Twenty-One: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet, Nova Publishing Company, IL.

Veenhoven, R. (1996): “Happy life-expectancy — A comprehensive measure of quality-of-life in nations”, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 1-58.

Veenhoven, R. (2002): “Why social policy needs subjective indicators”, Social Indicators Research, Vol. 58, pp. 33-45.

Veenhoven, R., (2004): “Inequality-Adjusted Happiness in 90 nations 1990-2000”, World Database of Happiness, Rank Report 2004-4e, www2.eur.nl/fsw/research/happiness.

Zidanšek, A. (2003): “Indicators of sustainable development as a tool for designing sustainable strategies”, 2003 Dubrovnik Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, Book of Abstracts.

Zidanšek, A. (2005): “Sustainable Development: Indicators and Strategies”, Proceedings of WOSC, Maribor.


Pages: 1 2 3


Tags: , ,