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Personal wellbeing can aid environmental sustainability, new UEA book finds

Happier People Healthier Planet: How putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth; Happier People Healthier Planet; Happier People Healthier Planet; Happier People Healthier Planet

Tue, 09 Sep 2014

Our first-world problems - too strapped to buy the latest iPhone, bored by last year's clothes - are symptomatic of a deeper emotional hunger that's putting the wider world at risk, according to a new book by an academic at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The book, Happier People Healthier Planet: How putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth, is written by Dr Teresa Belton and published yesterday by SilverWood Books.

Dr Belton's book illustrates how generations of unsatisfied individuals are contributing to a planet fast losing its natural resources through excessive material consumption. Those with the least are already paying the price, Dr Belton writes, while consumers in the developed world are no more content.

Dr Belton, a researcher and visiting fellow in UEA's School of Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "Happier People Healthier Planet demonstrates how we can improve our prospects in a world where the state of the environment and the happiness of many people are in decline.

"If we address our deeper emotional needs, we will feel less compelled to acquire more, better, newer material goods. This will be a positive step toward protecting the world for us all."

Incorporating a wide range of insights, the book also includes inspiration for living a more modest lifestyle and finding creativity in the natural world.

Happier People Healthier Planet is endorsed by one of the foremost figures in the sustainability movement, Prof Timothy O'Riordan, who called it "an important volume, written with grace and compassion."

Prof O'Riordan, emeritus professor of UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, said: "It provides the necessary analysis of why the 'old way,' confusing wealth with wellbeing, cannot continue, and offers the hope of renewal and betterment within a timescale that is manageable."

More information about Happier People Healthier Planet an be found at: