Manual Directions To a Happy Life (2013 Revised Edition)

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Singh and Bakshi also mention that it is crucial for the sustainability debate that metrics are developed with the correct perspective. Moreover, there is also a need to pinpoint an associated, potentially suitable, single indicator that addresses the aggregated net impact on the reframed AoPs. Second, there is a lack of coverage of the interconnectedness among the components to be sustained Lozano , for example, protecting ecosystems might make people happier. Third, the damages and benefits to AoPs are not comprehensively taken into account. In LCA, for example, indicators of impact on the AoPs typically do account for damages and do not usually consider the benefits associated with the production system e.

These three issues have been, to a minor extent, addressed and discussed by Schaubroeck and Schaubroeck and colleagues , but are here further elaborated. The aim of this study is to provide a preliminary roadmap to tackle the three above challenges, by suggesting potential solutions to improve our understanding of what shall be actually sustained i.

Instructions for a Happy Life

In the section Path Forward for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment , we provide such a roadmap starting from a better modeling approach for sustainability assessment, in particular LCSA. In order to redefine AoPs, it is appropriate to revisit the ethics behind sustainability.

Introduction: Fiction, Criticism, and the Ideological Mirror

Likewise, different types of sustainability perspectives may exist regarding what to primarily sustain, as outlined in figure 1. This is typically the case for an anthropocentric perspective in sustainability assessment as outlined in figure 1. Moreover, perspectives in between and among those presented in figure 1 also exist. For example, an approach could be somewhere between egocentric and anthropocentric if the aim is to primarily sustain humans of a certain race or region, but this could then be thought of as discriminatory. Moreover, one can also consider animal species more important than other living entities such as plants besides mankind, resulting in a framework in between anthropocentric and biocentric perspectives.

This section describes why sustainability is anthropocentric by nature see figure 1. Note that these three arguments can, to a certain extent, be interlinked, and we have provided them separately to provide more clarity. The first argument underscores the anthropocentric nature of sustainability through its original definition the definition argument. Lozano reviews many definitions of sustainable development and sustainability, and he discusses the common misconception of some researchers that consider that sustainability only deals with the environment.

Despite never explicitly mentioning that sustainability is inherently anthropocentric, some conceptual LCSA studies also offer a rationale in support to the definition argument. However, the interpretation of definitions can always be debated, especially for vague concepts such as sustainability Robinson Consequently, two more intrinsic arguments are presented below. The second argument focuses on the norms and values valid for the entire human community the valuation argument.

Regarding nonliving entities, one can only consider and value understandable desires expressed by perceptive beings. The governance of human populations, established by international agreements and national legislations and associated with societal norms and values, appears to be of a higher order at global level than that related to nonhuman living entities, such as animals. A universal human rights declaration United Nations , which has been agreed upon by a majority of the countries, exists and defines basic rights that should be upheld by communities, among which is individual freedom and the right to life.

In contrast, no global rights have yet been established for other living entities, and human beings are allowed to deprive the life of other living entities this, of course, under certain conditions. There are, after all, evidences of international and national laws regarding animal treatment, for example, those on the protection of endangered species EEC Biocentrism, which considers other living beings as valuable as humans, would imply that depriving the life of a human being is analogous to ending that of an animal or a plant, which goes against the universal human rights.

Therefore, the biocentric perspective or higher levels, e. Darwinian evolution, in fact, explains well how plant and animal species maintain themselves, possibly at the expense of others, for example, humans. To conclude, global human rights and the equality among individuals United Nations imply that humans are globally more important than other species in our society.

As a consequence, sustainability needs to be anthropocentric. The final and third argument argues that sustainability is anthropocentric as it originates from a human global perspective the perspective argument. The concept of sustainable development has been constructed and agreed upon by the UN, which represents a large share of the human society, and thus the concept is developed out of mankind's needs and its perspective. Hence, the sustainability concept is inherently anthropocentric. Moreover, one could consequently wrongly reason that the sustainability concept should be egocentric because humans as individuals are not capable of looking beyond their own perspectives.

However, the global human community and not one individual has created and agreed upon sustainable development, which again characterizes sustainability as a concept with an anthropocentric nature, even though it might conflict with separate needs of individuals. Furthermore, sustainability cannot be merely egocentric, simply because needs largely differ from one individual to another and cannot be merged to reach a consensus at the global scale of society; this would also conflict with the equality dictated by the universal declaration of human rights.

The NR a new brief measure of nature relatedness

In our opinion, this third and philosophical argument is, in fact, the strongest argument because the definitions of words first argument and practices second argument can vary more over time, while the fact that we are restrained to our human viewpoints and can only truly consider our own needs is timeless. However, while not all of these studies are explicitly focused on the sustainability concept, their argumentation can be questioned based on the latter two arguments.

More precisely, those studies either do not really consider the type of valuation that is already put in practice valuation argument or do not acknowledge that any value attributed to nature is anthropocentric, since humans are the ones who attribute the value to it perspective argument.

There is only one restriction for sustainability, namely that actions in light of other perspectives e. For example, vegetarianism adheres more to a biocentric perspective, but its practice is possibly sustainable i. The time span represents an important aspect to incorporate in sustainability assessment Lozano After all, sustainable development deals with current and future needs.

The famous pyramid of Maslow gives a hierarchical overview of human needs, which are quite vast. There are no clear boundaries among the goals, and the scope of each goal is not always fully substantiated e. An additional rationale for this subdivision is that these two aspects are also considered in other sustainability frameworks, mentioned in table 1. As already stated in the section Revisiting the Ethics behind Sustainability to Redefine the Areas of Protection in the section's introduction , an anthropocentric sustainability approach does not imply that there is no attention towards other entities, such as the environment and its ecosystems.

With regard to human health, the maintenance of nature is needed since natural capital is required to fulfill the requirements for the maintenance of mankind e. Nevertheless, the maintenance of nature should not be the final target, but instead the fulfillment of the associated human needs. Consequently, the need to prevent global changes, such as those generated by climate change, is typically anthropocentric and most likely based on the pre conception that a world may be created that only offers lower fulfillment of our needs.

One possibility is to focus on developing midpoint indicators based on human needs, as outlined by Steen and Palander These could be based on the SDGs and their targets. Likewise, the current endpoint indicators that reflect damage or benefit to the AoIP e. If various outcome indicators are selected, aggregation is always needed to provide a single outcome, hence direct standardized policy support is hampered. If this aggregation needs to be performed by policy makers, this may occur in a nonscientifically sound and inconsistent manner. Can a dwelling place without books ever truly be a home?

If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or, as it were, fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on their shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you will at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances.

Churchill 9. Reading should help us to pray by concentrating our attention. What matters is that it is your library, invested with your intellectual capital, and serves as a garden of the mind to which you can return again and again. Winston S. This is excellent advice. As you orient your reader, so you orient yourself, pointing your work in the direction it needs to go.


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About half of these relate directly to revision. The other half cover the intangiblesattitude, discipline, work habits. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience.


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  • When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story. The passive voice is safe. The magic is in you. Read, read, read. Turn off the TV. You have three months. There are two secrets to success. Write one word at a time. Eliminate distraction.

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    Stick to your own style. Take a break. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings.