When you think about how societies have grown and developed in the past, can you identify efforts where, “good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation,” were prioritized? Unfortunately, most stories of development tell tales of exciting economic growth and ignore the inequity that serves as the foundation for their success.
However, some countries are shifting from economic-focused standards of development to factors centered around well-being. The country of Bhutan coined the idea of well-being economies by creating “Gross National Happiness (GNH),” an alternative metric to GDP that is guided by holistic and regenerative goals for people and the environment. Learn more about GNH and how it is measured here.
I first learned about GNH through Leadership for Well-Being and Equity Deep Dive, a program led by thePresencing Institute (now known as u-school) and the Gross National Happiness Centre of Bhutan. I found my Extension peers and self among a cohort of equity advocates from across countries, disciplines, and fields. Learning the power of shifting one’s consciousness, we practiced deep listening, and we realized that societal transformation starts from within oneself. Simultaneously, we are all living unique, complex, and nuanced lives. Pain and grief are inevitable in this life, but suffering does not have to control our communities. GNH introduced me to the value of collective healing, and there is so much that we can do to heal our communities to work towards a more equitable future for all.