Mapping people, not sheep: Why our planet's well-being can look so different


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Talk by Benjamin D Hennig, held at the IDEA CETL Applied Ethics Research seminar programme, University of Leeds, 14th March 2011. More at

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  • Eight key variables: human capital levels in combination with percent of the workforce in the creative class, life satisfaction, GDP per capita, perceptions about local labor market conditions, Internet access, freedom, tolerance, and honesty in electionsMap Source:
  • GDP Density according to Geography and Economic Development (Gallup, Sachs & Mellinger)
  • Mapping people, not sheep: Why our planet's well-being can look so different

    1. IDEA CETL Applied Ethics Research seminarUniversity of Leeds14th March 2011 Benjamin D. Hennig Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
    2. I. Introduction: Maps of the planet’s well-being II. Worldmapper III. A New Projection for a Human Planet IV. The Map of (Un)Happy People V. Conclusion & Outlook: Better Understanding through VisualisationThe Road to Happiness
    3. { I. Introduction: Maps of the planet’s well-being
    4. An Unhappy Planet?
    5. A Happy Planet? 24 of the richest countries of the world (by GDP per capita) which are home to at least two million people, they are home to 13% of the world’s population, and almost 50% of world income (GDP)
    6. A Rich Planet! The world resized according to each country’s gross domestic product Source: modified and updated map from www.worldmapper .org + =
    7. Source: Prosperity without growth? Sustainable Development Commission (2009)
    8. ‚…being ‘happy’ is more than just having a smile on your face – we use the term subjective well-being to capture its complexity. Aside from feeling ‘good’, it also incorporates a sense of individual vitality, opportunities to undertake meaningful, engaging activities which confer feelings of competence and autonomy, and the possession of a stock of inner resources that helps one cope when things go wrong. Well-being is also about feelings of relatedness to other people – both in terms of close relationships with friends and family, and belonging to a wider community.‛ (Source: new economics foundation & Well-being
    9. An Unhappy Planet? = +
    10. { II. Worldmapper
    11. Land Area World PopulationPeople killed in Earthquakes Total Wealth (GDP) 2015 Nuclear Weapons
    12. { III. A New Projection for a Human Planet
    13. Sheep Map of Great Britain: Map of Sheep in England:
    14. …mapping people, not sheep
    15. EU Population Cartogram
    16. World Population Cartogram with Elevation
    17. Gridded Population Cartogram vs. Worldmapper Population Cartogram
    18. A Human Planet This is a reprojection of the population distribution, showing where most people are living
    19. { IV. The Map of (Un)Happy People
    20. (Un)Happy Humanity
    21. { V. Conclusion & Outlook: Better Understanding through Visualisation
    22. Voter’s Well-being:Few agree with Nick
    23. Myanmar / Burma Population Cartogram with Elevation Bangladesh Population Cartogram with Elevation People’s Environments: Vulnerable CoastsElevation [m]
    24. GDP Density
    25. The Real Shape of Economic Activity
    26. Economic Activity
    27. One World – Many PlanetsThe map shows the ecological footprint (EF), a measure of the resources used per head in each country. A EF of 2.1 global hectares per capita equals one-planet living on the basis that everyone is entitled to the same amount of the planet’s natural resources. Data Source: New Economics Foundation, Happy Planet Index
    28. One Planet – Many PeopleWhen we draw the same map upon the world population cartogram it may not initially appear to be so bad. The countries that consume too much contain fewer people, so not such a problem? However...This map is still misleading – we need to reproject the basemap again for a fair picture
    29. Few People – Many PlanetsIf we reproject the globe again so that the area of each grid cell is drawn in proportion to the ecological impact of the people who livein that area, then we see that most of the damage is being caused by the rich world and more of that (per capita) by the most unequal countries of the rich world (which China services).
    30. Watch all slides of this talk again and see many other maps: Who is happy here? People having no light at night, or those who can afford to waste - and shine so much up into space?