The Human Development Index has been collected in world wide surveys and is used in various ways that are relevant to sustainable wellbeing (nice introductory article). For example, at the Sustainability Form at UW-Madison (3/7/13), Tim Donahue, the Director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, large energy institute, showed a graph of the positive relationship between energy use and HDI, further making the point that developed countries like the U.S. have not plateaued in our energy use. This is part of the case for the need for more energy. While it seems very reasonable that we will have to find more and more diverse cheap sources of energy to maintain our current lifestyles, the real goal of our lifestyle is to maximize wellbeing. Thus, the question is, how closely related are measures of wellbeing and the HDI? The relationship between life satisfaction and HDI is robust and statistically significant (Figure 2) whereas the relationship between happiness and HDI is not significant (Figure 3), according to this study.
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