Published on Friday, October 15, 2021

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By Skip Licht

There must be a reason why.

The Happy Planet Index measures what matters most in life: sustainable well-being for all involved. It shows all of us how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, peaceful, sustainable lives.

Isn't it strange that wealthy western nations, often known for their high gross national product and many layers of success, do not ever rank well at all on the Happy Planet Index. However, many countries in Latin America and the Asia Pacific Regions lead the way by showing a very high life expectancy and well being with much smaller carbon footprints. The Happy Planet Index provides a pathway to guide nations and proves that it is possible to live very meaningful lives without depleting our Earth's resources.

All of this began back in 2006. Out of the 178 countries surveyed in that first year of existence, the 5 best-scoring countries were Vanuatu, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama. A few years later, in 2009, Costa Rica was the best scoring country, followed by the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala and Vietnam. Since then, Costa Rica has always scored very high in the race. It is amazing how this tiny country, the size of West Virginia, is one of the most biodiverse nations on earth. It is home to one of the 5 Blue Zones in the world and boasts hundreds of thousands of species of flora and fauna. What a world leader it is in everything that really matters in life.

Beginning around 2010, we saw that many of the large global corporations began moving to and expanding their operations in Costa Rica. Companies such as Google, Intel, Amazon, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, HP, Experian, Coca-Cola, IBM, Oracle, Western Union, Bayer, Cisco, Dell Technologies. The list continues for at least a few more paragraphs! There must be a reason for this. Costa Rica is known for its intelligent bilingual workforce. The work ethic here is second to none and global companies are catching wind of this. Over 97% of the 5-million-plus residents are literate. That is high on the global list! So many reasons to learn more about Costa Rica.

Back to the Happy Planet Index. A little boy or girl growing up in Costa Rica is surrounded by some of the most beautiful and biodiverse landscapes in the entire world. The government works very hard to make sure it stays that way. However, the preservation of this land of tropical rainforests, volcanoes, colorful birds and beautiful beaches isnít Costa Ricaís only accomplishment. The government ensures that all citizens have access to quality health care and high levels of educational opportunities.

They also promote peace around the world. Because of their efforts on many fronts, when the New Economics Foundation published its 2nd Happy Planet Index results in 2007, a ranking of countries based on their environmental impact and the health and happiness of their citizens, the NUMBER 1 spot went to Costa Rica. This is a BIG DEAL for all involved. It goes to show that data such as income per capita, gross national product and housing starts does not determine which country is 'wealthier' or 'better' than another. Many other more important factors are involved. The quality of life, how happy people are and the level of stress needed to achieve that happiness are much more important ingredients in my eyes.

Stress kills tens of thousands of people every year. What good does it do you if you've achieved enough in your life to live in a 7,000 square foot home, to drive two Mercedes and perhaps vacation in Greece three times per year. If you die of a stress-related heart attack at age 43, then that is definitely not a fair tradeoff. I'd rather live to be 95 in the Nicoya Peninsula (one of the five BLUE ZONES of the world) than leave this earth too soon!

I urge you to learn more about the Happy Planet Index. Many people have moved here because of this measure of happiness and probably have extended their lives by many years in doing so. Sunrises, sunsets, seeing bright stars in the sky at night, living to a ripe old age are all reasons to live in one of the Happiest Countries on the Planet. Costa Rica!

You're invited to visit our website Costa Rica Good News Report.

Enjoy over 750 episodes of our "Costa Rica Pura Vida Lifestyle Podcast Series." We are found on all major podcast platforms, including iHeartRadio, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Radio FM, Anchor and many more.

Article brought to you by Costa Rica Immigration and Moving Experts

The views or opinions expressed by the author are his sole and exclusive responsibility and do not necessarily represent the opinion of A.M. Costa Rica. Therefore, the newspaper doesn't accept liability for the author's opinion article content.

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