Why Albertans have a lot to be happy about: Let’s count our blessings

March 19, 2016

March 20th is world happbenjamin-franklin-and-happinessiness day. How happy are Albertans today?Should happiness be considered a proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy?

Or should a new economic paradigm based on well-being be the new goal for public policy and a new economic frontier for Alberta.

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Relationships key to a happy life

Relationships matter more to our happiness and well-being than money, education, genetics, and position in society. I have learned this from studies of well-being and happiness in small communities in Alberta including Leduc and Olds. Strong relationships translate into higher levels of trust and ultimately more resilient neighbouhoods and economies.

I believe a good life is a fine balance of happiness and sadness, with less time wasted on anger and worry and more time in loving relationships and hope. Continue reading

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The Cost of Unemployment and Suicide in Alberta

Suicide vs. Unemployment AlbertaAlberta’s Medical Examiner warned that suicides are expected to jump 30% in 2015 reaching 654 suicides. Prior to 2015 suicides average about 500 to 550 per year. That’s far more deaths than car crash fatalities which average around 350-360 per year in Alberta. In the first six months of  2015 there were already 327 suicides.

Is this dramatic rise in suicides related to falling oil prices and a down-turn in Alberta’s economy?

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Why Forests Matter: The Indigenomics of Forests

Here are the notes from last evening’s (November 4, 2015) Nature Conservancy of Canada forum on Why Forests Matter. Other speakers included Brian DePrato, economist with TD Bank, talking about natural capital, poet Lorna Crozier, Andrea Lyall (Aboriginal forester), Dr. Phillip Miller (with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment), and Dan Krauss, a conservation scientist with Nature Conservancy.NCC imageNCC Why Forests Matter

Why Forests Matter: Indigenomics of Forests

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The real costs and benefits of ending poverty in Edmonton by paying a living wage

Net benefits of paying a $15 living wage in Edmonton
I have the pleasure of serving on the End Poverty Task Force for the Mayor of the City of Edmonton. I completed the following preliminary analysis to the key question: what are the real costs (and benefits) of ending poverty by paying a living wage to those employable Edmonton adults currently working or living below a $15.00 per hour living wage (now over $17 per hour according to new estimates for 2016 by the Edmonton Social Planning Council)

I ran some preliminary estimates of the estimated full societal net costs of eliminating poverty (if the goal of ‘elimination’ is measured by ‘having enough money to afford basic necessities of life (including shelter, food, transportation)’, which could be defined in terms of ensuring the estimated 100,870 Edmontonians living at or below LIM (Low Income Measure) plus the estimated 103,200 working adults (20 years+) who are earning less than a $15.00/hour living wage.

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