Ecumenical Water Network

The EWN is a network of churches and Christian organizations promoting people's access to water around the world

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Week 6: "Buen vivir" - Good living

Week 6: "Buen vivir" - Good living

Peasant women in Ecuador. Photo: Gorsboth/WCC

"How can we design an economy that provides a better quality of life for all within the ecological limits of the planet?" This question is at the centre of the Green Economy debate.

For some, the answer is to ensure present and future economic growth and development beyond scarcity and environmental crisis. Others hold that we have to re-define our very concepts and indicators of growth, progress and development.

Bhutan has become famous for developing the "gross national happiness" indicator as a measure of progress and good governance. Other initiatives attempt to define a “genuine progress indicator” to replace the gross national product.

Indigenous peoples from Latin America have put forward the concept of "buen vivir" - "good living" - which is based on indigenous traditions and values of reciprocity, communality and plurality. It is both about living as part of a diverse human community and at the same time about harmonious coexistence with nature. The two are seen as inseparable aspects of what constitutes good living.

The controversial debate about the Green Economy is not only a controversy about the best methods to promote human well-being and environmental sustainability. It raises profound questions with regards to what we regard as "well-being" and "good living", what it means to be human and how we relate to those around us and to nature.

Biblical reflection: Life-giving water for "Living Well"

Abraham Colque from the Andean Ecumenical Higher Institute of Theology (ISEAT) writes about water as a symbol and manifestation of the creative energy of all life. Read more...

Background and Resources:

Find out more about alternative concepts and indicators of happiness, well-being and development. Read more...

What you can do:

What does "good living" mean to you?