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Recent studies suggest that one common factor can be found in the "happiest" 10% of people: the strength of their social relationships. Psychological research also seems to show that, as people get older, they generally become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world.
Meanwhile, at the societal level, tools like The Happy Planet Index (see video below) measure the happiness of countries in relation to the amount of resources each one uses, while the Mappiness (see image) app beeps users once (or more) a day to ask how they're feeling, and a few basic things to control for: who they're with, where they are and what they're doing, and builds from this a barometer of societal mood.
Many projects are already underway; some young architects are designing structures made completely out of living trees, while others are imagining how our great cities might return to their more natural state.
A related website tried to organise all biological information by function and asked the question - what we can we learn from this organism (e.g. any inventor, anywhere, at the moment of creation, could ask "how does nature remove salt from water?")
George Monbiot recently argued passionately and convincingly for "rewilding" our natural environment. Drawing upon new scientific discoveries, he laid out a new, positive environmentalism, in which nature is allowed to find its own way. By restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can repair the living planet, create ecosystems as profuse and captivating as any around the world, and bring wonder back into our lives.
The greatest engine for creating wealth today is green business - Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems
The global market for green businesses is estimated to reach 1 trillion dollars in the next five years - Christian Science Monitor
Making this transformation could actually be fun. Electric cars are really very cool. Air-source heat pumps are great. But it's not going to be easy. We need to stop saying 'no' and starting saying 'yes' to some of these solutions - David Mackay http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/30/david-mckay-sustainab…
I think everyone in the future will probably blame us. We knew how to profit but not protect - Fernand Pareau, French mountain guide, who has witnessed the startling decline of Mont Blanc's snowpack firsthand.