was listening to a talk on TED. it was about happiness.
in the middle of his talk, he put a graph on the screen, plotting resources expended (X axis) versus happy life years (Y axis). as expected, the countries on the upper right of the graph were first world, developed countries. there were happy, but they were consuming most of the world’s resources, hence causing the most carbon emissions.
where we are: a third world, developing country – is on the lower left side of the graph. we are not consuming much, but are not happy either. funny, we’re living in a country teeming with natural resources, beaches, skilled and productive people, but not taking full advantage of its riches.
ideally, countries should aim for the top left of the graph. this is where a country is maximizing the use of its resources (same as our consumption), at the same time living happily and well.
at the topmost left is costa rica.
that got me interested. why?
apparently, back in 1949, costa rica got rid of its army. disbanded. no armed forces, deciding that a diploma is more important than a bullet. then, they decided to invest that money in education and health. they also decided to preserve their natural heritage, keeping beaches and forests pristine.
costa rica is place many people migrate to, in search of a better life.
then you see the philippines. budget cuts in essential services in an already slim allocation of the national budget. protests by students, seemingly unheard by those in government. a hot topic on population control, insisting that poverty is caused by having too many babies, instead of celebrating life as a natural resource to develop and let flourish. the sick cannot get well because you need money, and most need that money for food, water, shelter, and other basic necessities. you hear of logging, cutting down trees for money. you see the pristine beach of boracay and wistfully wonder whether the white sands of yesteryears are better than the crass commercialization you see today. you have families growing up without mothers, leaving to earn money, leaving behind children growing up long-distance, wondering if the money was truly worth the sacrifice.
i am unsure if one person can change the country. all this talk is just depressing, and will remain so unless action is taken.
i will focus on the education of my children. not just putting them in the best schools, but making sure they attend the University of Life with Dad as teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and friend.
i will focus on making them healthy, not just treating sickness, but in preventing it as well. i will teach them to put trash in its place, to tread lightly, to leave a legacy for others who will come after them.
i will focus on giving and teaching them faith and hope, tempered with urgent action, so that they will become the light and flowing water in the places they eventually find themselves in.
i will focus on loving them unconditionally, and to love others the same.
maybe, together we can pull the country up to the top left of the graph.
will you join us?