Margaret Atwood, Catherine O’Brien and The Future of Happiness
A LIVE GREEN INTERVIEW WITH MARGARET ATWOOD!
Next Friday, June 7, at 4:00, I will do the first-ever live Green Interview, on stage and before a theatre audience. My guest will be the one and only Margaret Atwood, whose gripping, dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale has now become a stunningly successful television series. Our Green Interview will take place at the Boardmore Theatre at Cape Breton University, and it will be carried live on CBC’s Mainstreet in Sydney NS, whose host, Wendy Bergfeldt, will act as MC. If you want to attend in person, write immediately to Jennifer_Macdonald@cbu.ca. The event will also be live-streamed to the web here: https://www.cbu.ca/mowat-chair/.
AN HONORARY DEGREE FOR GRAEME GIBSON
The Atwood interview will follow a Special Convocation where an honorary D.Litt degree will be conferred on Margaret’s partner, Graeme Gibson, who has been a towering figure in the Canadian literary world for more than half a century. Novelist, environmentalist and organizer, Graeme was among a founder of The Writers Union of Canada, now Canada’s leading organization of book writers with more than 2000 members, and also of The Writers Development Trust, a charity dedicated to the support of Canadian writers and writing.
THE FARLEY MOWAT CHAIR IN ENVIRONMENT
The event is the celebration of my recent appointment as the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University. The appointment is a direct result of my environmental work, particularly The Green Interview, and it’s part of an evolving relationship between TGI and CBU that now includes a highly innovative online/on-campus course on environmental rights. There is a short video (1:42) about The Green Interview here. The Green Interview now includes more than 100 episodes, including four documentary films (see annotated list).
CATHERINE O’BRIEN AND THE HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS
I’m also proud to announce that we’ve posted our latest Green Interview, a conversation with CBU’s own Dr. Catherine O’Brien, author of Education for Sustainable Happiness and Well-Being. The paradox of the modern world is that although measurements like Gross Domestic Product tell us that we’re richer and more successful than we’ve ever been, we’re also dealing with unprecedented levels of depression and desperation. In fact life expectancy in the US has been declining for three years, mainly as a consequence of “deaths of despair” – drug and alcohol overdoses and addiction, and suicide.
If money in itself doesn’t make us happy, what does? “Sustainable happiness,” says Catherine O’Brien, namely “happiness that contributes to individual, community or global well-being and does not exploit other people, the environment or future generations.” And yes, she firmly believes it can be taught.
We are currently producing four more Green Interviews on the theme of happiness, with:
- John Helliwell, the lead author of the United Nations’ annual World Happiness Report, which ranks the nations of the world according to the happiness of their people
- Katherine Trebeck, of Scotland, Knowledge and Policy Lead with the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, and co-author of The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown Up Economy
- Julia Kim, director of the Gross National Happiness Centre in Thimphu, Bhutan
- Mark Anielski, author of The Economics of Happiness and An Economy of Well-being: Common Sense Tools for Building Genuine Wealth and Happiness.
All of which makes The Green Interview team very happy indeed!