Mir Centre for Peace Summer Institute: The Economics of Happiness

Mir Centre for Peace Summer Institute: The Economics of Happiness

This interactive workshop will critically examine how our conventional methods of measuring progress, and important decisions based on these methods, have led to a disconnection among humans, and between humans and the environment. 

This workshop follows a series of community peace cafes that were held in Nelson, Castlegar, Grand Forks and New Denver, facilitated by Dr. Roly Russell, founder of Grand Forks’ Sandhill Institute.

Everything is Connected

According to Russell, “The science of ecology teaches us one very important thing: everything is connected. This simple statement has profound consequences. Just as a rainforest orchid is impossible to truly understand without understanding the moth that pollinates it, our human physiology is incomplete without the ecosystem of microbial life upon which we depend upon for our health. Our notion of individuality in economic and social systems is misleading. We truly depend on our relationships for our well-being.”

The notion of relationships is at the heart of what makes people happy according to Russell. Our happiness is driven in many ways, but these connections to our environment and the people we live with are key drivers. The simplest things to measure (e.g. income or jobs) may contribute significantly to our happiness as well, but once we take the more complex aspects into account, such as the nature we surround ourselves with, or the people we socialize with, it becomes apparent that these things have equal, or more robust, influence on our happiness.

An Unconventional Focus Shift

“With climate change and the increasing global economic disparity preoccupying us, there has been a great deal of interest in exploring new ways to measure our progress” states Randy Janzen, chair of the Mir Centre for Peace. “This workshop will look at innovative strategies undertaken by individuals and communities that have shifted focus from conventional economic growth to a focus on happiness and connections. Ultimately, this is directly linked to peace at the personal and the global level”.

This workshop will take place July 15-19 at the Mir Centre for Peace on Castlegar Campus. The cost is $500. Participants may take this for self-interest or for credit as a fully transferrable university course in Peace Studies. To register, phone 250.365.1208.