The King of Bhutan introduced the world’s first Gross National Happiness (GNH) index in 1972, a concept which has since been adopted by governments in Europe and Canada. Monitoring indicators of a nation under the pillars of sustainable development, cultural values, natural environment conservation and good governance, the purpose is to ensure focus by governments on contributors to happiness and reduce the emphasis on GDP growth as a measure of success and prosperity. The GNH is based on empirical research literature of happiness, positive psychology and wellbeing.
It was under this banner that the Emerging Leaders of Social Change was established. Initiated by a pub conversation (where ideas have a habit of brewing), the group aims to bring together young professionals in the corporate, public and non-profit sectors as a forum for sharing ideas and collaboration.
A core focus of the ELSC is to encourage Australians to participate in The Big Conversation, an initiative to assist the federal government understand what our society values when determining indicators to feed the National Wellbeing Framework being developed by the government.
“'Going local' is a powerful strategy to help repair our fractured world – our ecosystems, our societies and our selves” Helena Norberg-Hodge
The trend towards localisation and away from globalisation was the topic of discussion at the most recent ELSC ‘collaboratory’, where Helena Norberg-Hodge’s documentary The Economics of Happiness was screened. While alarmist in its description of the ‘8 Inconvenient Truths of Globalisation’, the positive impact of society's movement towards sustainable communities and increased connectivity with those geographically close resonated with the audience. Pointing to examples such as local food movements, growers markets and eco-villages emerging in big cities around the world, those interviewed in the documentary outlined the social and economic benefits of what it calls ‘economic localisation’.
These benefits include;
- Understanding the impact of our choices, made easier when the supply chain is contained within one’s realm of influence;
- Environmental benefits, with less energy being consumed when goods are produced and consumed locally;
- The retention of ‘grandmother’s knowledge’, the strengthening of community bonds and a sense of belonging.
While the film was emotive in presentation, its underlying message was strong enough to provoke discussion about everything from challenging the status quo, individuals’ own experiences of localisation and how this applies to our society.
ELSC collaboratories are described as intimate events where like-minded emerging leaders meet to share, explore and challenge their way of thinking about topics related to the social sector. A wonderful opportunity to be challenged in genuine debate about topical issues, the ELSC addresses the growing desire of gen-Y to meaningfully engage with the community while building successful careers in a range of commercial (and other) sectors.
If your corporate job has taught you something useful to others and you’re itching to share, don’t miss the next ELSC collaboratory on the innovative application of Design Thinking. You might just learn something.Buy tickets to future ELSC events at http://elsc.eventbrite.com/