University of Wisconsin–Madison

Weston Roundtable: The Bolivian Eco-Municipality: A new sustainability framework?

William Powers, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, discusses the Latin American172 concept of living well that represents a paradigm of sustainability. Bolivia has policies that grant ecosystems the equivalent of human rights. Powers’ field study examines how such policies play out in one of Bolivia’s “ecological municipalities,” the town of Samaipata at the cusp of the Amazon and Andes. Results show the critical link between sustainability and well-being: Samaipata’s happiness levels are above U.S. levels, yet at a tiny fraction of U.S. per capita GDP.