Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happiness Is...

... stepping into the William Doo Auditorium and seeing people already sitting on the stage floor and in the aisles because there are absolutely no seats left for the screening of The Economics of Happiness.

I'm no good at reviewing films, so I'll just say this: despite experiencing a fair amount of pain from having to sit on the hard steps of the auditorium without a chance to stretch my legs for close to two hours, I felt hopeful and inspired after watching Helena Norberg-Hodge's work, and that's good enough for me. The message was clear and powerful: globalization erodes happiness, creates insecurities to fuel consumerism, ravages natural resources with no regard for future generations, speeds up global climate change, ruins livelihoods, breeds conflict where there was none before, requires government subsidies to big business that the public pays for, and is based on an index of economic growth that doesn't take into account the actual well-being and life satisfaction of people like you and me.

fltr: Helena, Joshna, Eric, and Wayne

The panel discussion was equally enlightening, with producer Helena Norberg-Hodge stating that the first step to making change should be built around education (information is powerful), urban farmer Eric Rosenkrantz suggesting we place demand ahead of supply (as with community shared agriculture) to avoid creating debt, and activist chef Joshna Maharaj highlighting how community food kitchens not only increase access to healthy food, but also reduce social isolation.

If you're interested in seeing the film, there are a variety of launch events happening around the world until the end of February, plus other screenings in Canada and the US. The film's website also provides instructions on how to organize a screening in your own community.

Also, if you couldn't attend the screening last night at the University of Toronto and are curious about the Sheridan College students' very well done infographics and short videos that explore the current food crisis, check out Sustain Ontario's Good Food Ideas for Kids website.

[My apologies for the poor resolution in the images above.]


  1. I will keep an eye out for this movie in Ottawa. Thank you. :)

  2. I hope it can be as inspiring to you as it was to me. Currently, Vancouver is the only other Canadian city for which a screening has been organized. Perhaps the UOttawa Environmental Studies students, faculty, and staff would be interested in organizing a screening?