The index combines environmental impact with human well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which, country by country, people live long and happy lives.
At a quick glance, the first thing you notice on the interactive map is that the only place in the world lit up in light green:
Central America! It turns out that 9 Latin American countries score in the top 10. Panama comes in at 18th with a 57.4. At 9th for Life Satisfaction and with a High Life Expectancy rating, Panama is among the leaders. Unfortunately, the United States ranks a very unimpressive 114th. This is mostly due to a very high Ecological Footprint rating (9.4). Panama is seen as “middling” in the category for Ecological footprint with a 3.2.
Next time I’m riding on that long skinny boat, waiting for Isla Palenque to poke out from behind the neighboring island, caught up in the excitement of coming home to this paradise island, I know I’ll be thinking: “Sheesh! 9th in Life Satisfaction? Whoever ranked that must have just stubbed a toe at the time!” Then I’ll crank up the Van Halen and start belting, “Panama! Pan-na-ma-ha!”