Friday, July 10, 2009

Costa Rica Ranked No. 1 "Happiest Nation" in the World

CNN reported a few days ago that a major international study ranked Costa Rica number 1 as the world's happiest nation.  The key factors that caused Costa Rica to achieve this distinction were "Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world" and have the second highest life expectancy in the Western hemisphere (behind only Canada).  In addition, Costa Rica rated very high in not consuming more than its fair share of the earth's resources. 

The CNN article noted that Costa Rica is known for its "lush rain forests and pristine beaches."  I therefore decided to illustrate this story by showing a photo of a woman relaxing in the shade with her dog on the beach right behind our condo in Playa Langosta.   No wonder Costa Ricans are so happy.  Does life get much better than this? 

The "Happy Planet Index" developed by the New Economics Foundation in the United Kingdom ranked 143 countries based on (1) what matters to people: long, happy and meaningful lives; and (2) what matters to the planet:  the rate of consumption of the planet's resources.  

The Foundation observed that the slogan and greeting most popular in Costa Rica -- "pura vida," or "pure life" -- embodies the contentment of the population and the strong family and community ties.  The Foundation also noted that clean water and adult literacy are nearly universal, and there is strong political political participation.  Costa Rica was ranked as having one of the lowest rates of poverty in the developing world, even surpassing one member of the European Union.

The Report gave well deserved praise for Costa Rica's compatibility with the planet's needs, commenting that Costa Rica is "Unique in the world for having combined its ministries of energy and the environment back in the 1970's, a staggering 99 per cent of its energy comes from renewable resources."

The Foundation's report complimented Costa Rica for enacting a carbon tax in 1997 and using the revenues to pay for local communities to preserve their forest lands.  That has led to the reversal of deforestation, with twice as much land covered with forests today than 20 years ago.  

I am a citizen of the USA, which ranked 114 (due in large part to its consumption of four times the amount of  energy per person as Costa Rica).  I am therefore not bragging when I report on these results.  I am expressing my admiration for the country and its people, and my appreciation for the example Costa Rica is showing for the world.

13 comments:

Rob said...

Do you have a "gross national happiness"as they do have in Bhutan?

brattcat said...

Okay, I'm just about ready to pack my bags. If only I could persuade my husband to come with me. I'm afraid I wouldn't be very happy there without him.

Sharon said...

A very admirable achievment.

Owen said...

Sounds fantastic... I'm SO ready to go take a long vacation there...

BTW, your photo of a lady on the beach with a black dog standing there is eerily reminiscent of a photo I posted on June 17th from the Canary Islands... of a black dog on a beach standing by his female human friend... funny... Take care and thanks for dropping by !

glenda said...

Too bad other countries don't adopt similar policies. Love the picture, great way to spend the day with your dog on such a beautiful beach.

Loomousine said...

My family of four returned from Costa Rica just two weeks ago. We can't wait to return. My wife cried as we left -- driving to the airport. Pure Vida~ is so true in this wonderful place. We stayed near Langosta Beach and toured several beaches on Horseback, on ATV's, Surfing, Snorkeling, and even zip-lined in the rain forest near the Arenal Volcano. We rented a car for 5 days. We always felt safe and welcomed. Thanks for this web sight and the photos and reminders of this truly beautiful country with awesome ticos ! (the people)

nathalie in avignon said...

What a great post!
Food for thought... do you know what France's ranking is?

(I enjoyed yesterday's traditional ox cart, I remember them very well from my days in Costa Rica)

Jacob said...

I saw that ranking for Costa Rica. No wonder you like it there so much! And your photos always show a beautiful and genteel place - well, except for swinging in the jungles!

MJ said...

Sigh... Lucky dog.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Loomousine,
Thank you for such a gracious comment. Your comment helps illustrate what a wonderful reputation Costa Rica has.

As an American, when I am in the USA I have a lot of conversations with people in which the subject of Costa Rica comes up. When Costa Rica is first mentioned, and before people know that I do this Daily Photo site, usually the first reaction that I hear from people is how they really want to go visit Costa Rica because they know someone who went there and who talked about how wonderful it is.

I really enjoy the comments that I receive from the people who stay in our Langosta or Tamarindo condos. They write wonderful things in the guestbooks that we keep in both of our condos, and it feels good to be able to share the country, in a small way, through our condos and this Daily Photo website.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Rob,
I don't know about a "gross national happiness" quotient, but your comment about Bhutan is interesting. When the article on the CNN website came out about the Happy Nation Index, I asked my wife to guess which country ranked number one. Her first guess was Bhutan. It is high on our list of places to visit.

Jilly said...

Am not at all surprised especially when I see this wonderful shot - gorgeous sea, that log and what everyone needs - a dog! I'd love to visit Costa Rica one day although doubt I will. You make it so enticing.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

this is a beautiful and peaceful image. It is great to learn that Costa Rica has been recognized as the Happiest Nation. That is way cool

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