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How Altruism Helps Create a Better, Happier World


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Today (March 20) is the U.N. International Day of Happiness, which promotes the idea that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.”

The day also recognizes the need for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.” What’s great is that when people support sustainable means of global development, they embody the principles of kindness, compassion and generosity, which evidence shows are the “keys to the social connections that are so important to our happiness.” In other words, people that perform altruistic acts not only help create a better society, but they are happier for it.

People that perform altruistic acts not only help create a better society, but they are happier for it.

In recent years, several movements around the world have begun promoting the idea that we should aspire to build a happier planet. For instance, the Happy Planet Index measures happiness by using experienced well-being, life expectancy and ecological footprint data from the Gallup World Poll, UNDP Human Development Report, and the World Wildlife Foundation, respectively. It used this data to rank countries by their happiness levels (explore the map here), and concluded that “we are still not living on a happy planet.” One of their recommendations is that in order for the world to become a happier place, high-income countries need to reduce their ecological footprint, while low-income countries need to increase their life expectancies and experienced well-being. How can this be achieved? Well, in the words of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “the world needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.” Getting to that point will require more altruism around the world.

At Global Partnerships, we support building a new economic paradigm that achieves global happiness. We wouldn’t be able to do our work without your kindness, compassion and generosity. Thank you for your altruism. You help create a better, happier world, and we wish you a wonderful International Day of Happiness.

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A Dominican girl smiles at the camera.
Photo © Global Partnerships.

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