Yesterday I was reading a version of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truthwritten for young people. (I like books for young people - especially when they have lots of pictures) This book is clear, cuts-to-the-chase and spells out what needs to happen. I have always thought the title was spot on for this work!
Anyway it got me thinking - linked to my post Sustainability about different countries' readiness to embrace these issues. For example, a country that is in a state of civil unrest, that has starving people in abundance and heaps of corruption is unlikely to have the green agenda high up on its list of priorities. It takes a certain level of some kind of development for this readiness that I was pondering.
I know there is a Corruption Perception Indexfor countries but I was wondering if there could be a more complex index for showing a country's readiness to embrace the sustainability agenda. It would need to take an awful lot into account as an awful lot can inhibit this progress.
So then I got to thinking what would be needed for a country to be poised for meaningfully addressing sustainability. For a starting place, you would need to care about future generations. That ultimately takes more empathy than many can muster. So I have decided to name this arbitrary, playing with ideas, slightly silly concept a an 'Empathy Quotient.'
It's also hard to judge countries on their attitudes (although some countries are undoubtedly more liberal than others) so maybe this quotient would be calculated on what a country actually does and has rather than what it says it does or what treaties it has signed - to get a real flavour of the country's concern for others. So I guess you would look at things like:
• level of corruption
• range of inequality within country
• justifications for participating in wars
• weapon manufacture
• treatment of criminals
• how much education is prioritised
• health care provision
• influence of the media on the masses
• levels of democracy and power wielded and by whom!
• etc -
Anyway, I suspect an academic somewhere has done this!