Book review: Happier people, healthier planet: how putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth

10th April 2015

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Natural resources ,
  • Waste ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management


Joachim Jentoft

Teresa Belton/SilverWood Books/£13.95/ISBN 978-1-78132-260-4

Can we live environmentally friendly lives without making sacrifices to our wellbeing and happiness? This is probably a familiar question to environmentalists and, while not promising a definitive answer, this book contributes to the debate.

The first 40 pages provide an excellent summary of the current state of the environment, wellbeing research and new thinking in economics. It is here, for example, that readers will find out that Costa Ricans score the highest happiness per unit of environmental impact. The rest of the book is a loosely structured collection of insights into how some people can be happy with minimal environmental impact. The author draws on her research on a collection of UK people who are self-declared “modest consumers” with high wellbeing scores. Chapter titles such as “The significance of experience” and “The place of spirituality” will give the reader an idea of what to expect. Apart from the chapter, “Nurturing playfulness”, the work is well referenced and stimulates thought. Overall, the book is readable and gives insights into how some people lead happy lives without consuming too many resources. And they didn’t have to move to Costa Rica to do it.

Richard Lupo, senior sustainability consultant at Sustainable Homes.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

UK’s net-zero economy grows by 9%

The UK’s net-zero economy grew 9% last year while delivering higher paid jobs than average and attracting billions of pounds in private investment, analysis by CBI Economics has uncovered.

28th February 2024

Read more

IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) have today published up-to-date guidance to help companies and individuals understand climate-related financial information.

22nd February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Three-quarters of UK adults are concerned about the impact that climate change will have on their bills, according to polling commissioned by Positive Money.

13th February 2024

Read more

Tom Pashby reviews Anna Trompetas’s OffSet, a dystopian climate fiction novel that explores questions of morality, motherhood and class inequality

1st February 2024

Read more

Almost 100 global companies have signed up to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) First Movers Coalition, which aims to transform the supply chains across high-emitting sectors.

24th January 2024

Read more

Up to three quarters of the global building industry’s emissions could be slashed if the engineering and construction sectors embedded circular economy principles in their operations, according to a major report.

18th January 2024

Read more

Matt Tompsett looks beyond tree planting to the pros and cons of land and sea-based carbon sequestration projects.

15th January 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close