How much does your carbon footprint affect your happiness?

I clicked through to take a look at the following article:

Britain 74th in world happiness rankings

Such surveys are always a bit of fun. The “Happy Planet Index” apparently places Britain way down the list. I thought that this was a bit disappointing but not contrary to impression given to me by the many miserable gits that I have encountered over the years. However, the rankings seem especially spurious. It’s calculated using life expectancy (measurable), “happiness” (not sure about what units we use for that) and the environmental impact of the country.

What’s the last one got to do with anything? I once flew to Thailand for two weeks in the middle of winter. I’m sure that my carbon footprint must have rivalled Bono’s that January, but I was a lot happier that the S.A.D. sufferers that I left behind. I’m sure there are many people who feel a little bit guilty about not reusing their shopping bags and not unplugging their mobile phone chargers when not in use, but I don’t think that it makes them unhappier than the people of Burma. Nagging guilt about flying with Ryanair to Prague for a stag-do versus cyclones, war and oppression. Hmm? Which is more likely to make people unhappy?

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