Costa Rica Tops 'Green and Happy' List; US 114th

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2009 1:45 PM CDT
Residents carry bags of Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs harvested at Ostional beach on the northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007.   (AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)
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(Newser) – Costa Rica is the happiest, most ecologically friendly country on earth, according to the New Economics Foundation’s Happy Planet Index. The US, on the other hand, came in 114th out of 146, the Guardian reports. The index ranks countries both on the happiness of their citizens and the environmental footprint they leave. Latin American countries dominate the top of the list, while African nations populate the bottom.

Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction and live slightly longer on average than Americans, all with a fraction of the environmental footprint. The index “suggests that the path we have been following is, without exception, unable to deliver all three goals: high life satisfaction, high life expectancy, and 'one-planet living,’” says the report’s lead author.