September 2010 GNHUSA Update: Inspiring a movement toward an economy of well-being

Ethical Markets Beyond GDP

In This Issue
GNH Ideas Take Hold
GNHUSA Staff and Office
Working Group Update
Intern Opportunities
First GNH Tour to Bhutan

GNHUSA is collaborating with Sweet Mango Tours to offer the chance to see GNH as it is being applied in Bhutan. The twelve day tour, March 11 – 22, 2011, will combine education with adventure through lectures and discussion, visits with GNH officials, Tshechu festivals and a 6-day trek through the countryside. For more information, visit or contact Linda Wheatley

Quick Links
Happy Planet Index – TED talk by Nic Marks
Educating for GNH – Bhutan’s Ministry of Education
China’s Happiness Experiment

Eric Weiner in NPR

McKibben on Letterman

Beyond GDP Web Site

GNH Ideas Taking Hold
It is a busy and exciting time as the concept of Gross National Happiness takes root worldwide. Activity and energy abound. This month alone UK Prime Minister David Cameron gave a “General Well-Being Speech;” Nic Marks’ TED talk about the Happy Planet Index was posted; Bhutan’s Ministry of Education unveiled its “Educating for GNH” website; and there’s even a GNH-type project in China. Eric Weiner’s “advice,” recently on NPR, specifically urged China to adopt a Gross National Happiness policy nationwide.

GNHUSA was established to support efforts in the United States to change how we think about and how we measure progress; harnessing that energy into a movement that will lead to a genuine pursuit of happiness. To learn more, go to

“GNH is a profound process for social change; not an indicator, it is a new consciousness.” Susan Andrews, Coordinator of the Future Visions Institute in Brazil

GNHUSA has Staff and an Office!
On September 1st, Ginny Sassaman and Linda Wheatley began sharing a full-time coordinator position for GNHUSA at donated office space in Maple Corner. Tom Barefoot is also working as volunteer staff. At some point we hope to move into Montpelier, with room and money for more staff, volunteers and interns, but that will wait until we accomplish a few things, mainly:
• get working groups off to a strong start,
• update and enhance our web presence,
• ensure a reliable and long-term income stream,
• build our collaborative network, and
• start a movement!

GNHUSA Working Groups Update
GNHUSA’s plan is to create a movement toward an economy of well-being. Engaging everyone in the process of understanding, sharing and applying GNH concepts is key.

We’ve selected eight areas of activity for the immediate future (see below) and we are establishing “working groups” for each area. We invite you to join a working group or groups that engage your passion and expertise to work collaboratively on each of these areas. The working groups will meet regularly, in person and virtually, create plans and select tasks, initially coordinated by GNHUSA staff and board members.

Each group will work to define its own goals, strategies and activities in support of GNHUSA’s mission. To join a working group or make a suggestion, contact the staff member link at the end of the appropriate bullet.
1. Education – GNH Curriculum development and integration K-Graduate School. [email protected]
2. Vermont as a GNH Laboratory – Pilot projects with surveys and policy tools to develop best practices for implementation. [email protected]
3. Events – Conferences, Speakers Series, Festivals and more! – we’ll design and produce a calendar of GNH-related events. MEETING SCHEDULED: Tuesday, October 12th, 4 to 6, NECI Wine Room, Montpelier, VT [email protected]
4. Speakers Bureau – Talking about GNH – in communities, schools, workplaces and government offices about our ideas. MEETING SCHEDULED: Tuesday, October 5th, 5 pm at the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake Street, Burlington [email protected]
5. Youth Activism – Young people engaging in the transformation of their future. MEETING SCHEDULED: Thursday, October 21st, all day, site tba [email protected]
6. Good Governance – Support the evolution of government practices to use comprehensive measures of well-being to inform and guide social policy at all levels. [email protected]
7. Social Media – Help us harness the power of the internet to effectively communicate, inspire and engage GNH supporters in the virtual world. [email protected]
8. Living GNH – How do we apply GNH concepts in our personal lives and in our spheres of influence? MEETING SCHEDULED: Thursday, October 28th, 11:30 – 1:30 pm, “brown bag” lunch in the Hayes Room at the Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier, VT [email protected]

So…what can you do?

PLENTY! Nic Marks, of the new economics foundation, identifies five key contributors to happiness: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. Keeping that in mind, join us, and others, on the journey to enhance well-being and happiness.

• Join a working group
• Nominate someone to serve on the GNHUSA Advisory Board. Send name(s), contact info and a brief paragraph(s) explaining why to [email protected]
• Support on 10/10/10 by caring for your environment. Go to’s web site to join a local work party.
• Join the GNHUSA fundraising committee.
• Write a letter to the editor. Let’s inform the press as well as our communities. Contact [email protected] for ideas.
• Become a member of our Facebook group page
• Post on Facebook, invite your friends to become members.
• Explore our web site. Comment on our blog posts and invite your friends to do so, as well.
• Help us with our overall image and outreach! Creative writers, graphic designers, and technical support needed for the development of our web site, PR materials, educational materials, everything! [email protected]
• Host a “Happiness Circle.” These are intimate gatherings of friends, neighbors and colleagues for an evening of socializing and supportive discussions about what GNH means to you on a personal level. (A Happiness Circle is SCHEDULED for October 8th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm in Shelburne, VT – if you’re interested, contact [email protected])
• Contact GNHUSA to respond to any of these or with other ideas.

Intern Opportunities
GNHUSA is seeking interns for the fall and winter. Interns will be assigned to work closely with one GNHUSA core member who will help guide their research in areas such as existing sets of comprehensive measures, existing curricula, best practices where these measures have been used so far, web site development and social networking, building our resource lists for books, videos, blogs and more. We may be able to arrange college credits for some positions. If interested in working with GNHUSA as an intern, contact [email protected]

Can you help support GNHUSA?
We need your help to build a strong and effective organization. Please donate online at our web site or send a tax deductible contribution to GNHUSA, PO Box 888, Montpelier, VT 05601. We are recruiting a fund-raising committee – if you would like to discuss how you can help us build the financial backing for the GNH national movement – through donations of time and/or money, please contact Linda Wheatley at [email protected] or at (802) 236-9389. We would be most grateful, and Happy, to hear from you.

Launching a GNH Movement
Thank you for reading this update. GNHUSA is acting on the belief that it is essential and incredibly timely to build and launch this movement toward an economy of well-being NOW, engaging everyone. We invite you aboard as we build the boat and ride the GNH wave at the same time! Let us know how you want to play, and invite your friends to play, too.