Kearsage Valley Transition and Happiness Initaitve
This report discusses the Transition Town movement and the Happiness Initiative that has been started in the Kearsarge Valley area by the 2012-2013 Environmental Science and Studies Community Based Research Project students and community members at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire. Our definition of the Kearsarge Valley Area is the seven towns of the Kearsarge Valley Area school district, Bradford, New London, Newbury, Springfield, Sutton, Warner and Wilmot plus the towns of Andover and Sunapee. The Transition Town movement was started with the goal of creating a stronger, more localized and resilient, community that would be able to withstand present day and future challenges such as climate change, peak oil, and economic instability. The Happiness Initiative (Gross National Happiness Index) is a progress indicator that will be used on a local level to establish what areas in the community can be improved to increase the overall resilience of the area.
Through the Happiness Survey, the Community Based Research Project was able to determine what areas of the community needed improvement in order to create a better future for the community itself in terms of personal, economic, and environmental resilience. These changes will be made through the implementation of the Transition movement. The survey allows us to assess the happiness, or sense of well-being, of the community by analyzing the different domains of happiness. Domains include overall satisfaction with life, positive affect, mental well-being, health, time balance, community vitality, social support, access to education, arts and culture, neighborhood, environmental health, governance, material well-being and work experience (de Graaf, 2011). In short, the Happiness Survey is the initial step to measure the quality of life of our local community in order to better understand how the Transition movement is affecting our progress.