The Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council is slated to vote tomorrow on the adoption of a series of human wellbeing indicators for Puget Sound. The indicators were developed in part through research conducted by PSI Lead Social Scientist Kelly Biedenweg, and are meant to monitor some of the ways that humans benefit from the Puget Sound ecosystem.
The 23 indicators range from economic wellbeing to social and emotional benefits like happiness. If approved, they will be incorporated in the Puget Sound Partnership’s Human Quality of Life ‘Vital Sign.’
After conducting stakeholder interviews and workshops in three Puget Sound regions—the Puyallup and Hood Canal watersheds, as well as Whatcom County—Biedenweg’s team determined a list of actions or experiences that marked positive relationships with the environment. These ranged from “frequency of outdoor activities with friends/family” to commercial activities like fishing and agriculture. Ultimately, the new report divides wellbeing indicators into five domains: physical, psychological, governance, cultural and economic.
Biedenweg says that understanding how we are affected by the environment is one of the keys to ecosystem recovery. People tend to engage more in positive, less destructive behaviors when they feel that they are receiving a benefit, she says. In turn, studies show that a healthy environment also leads to healthier—and happier—citizens.
Could healthier, happier humans lead to a healthier Puget Sound?