Happiness, Love, Sustainable Development, and the Law: The Concept of a New Social Model and the Role of State and Law

  • Senko Pličanič University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law
Keywords: happiness, love, sustainable development, law


In the article, the author discusses the main reasons for the failure to achieve sustainable development. He believes that the main reason for that failure is the excessive and one-sided orientation of Western civilization toward the material dimension of our lives. Behind that lies an even deeper mechanism that controls our actions: the human desire “to be happy”. The author believes that we are not aware that the path to happiness is associated with both spiritual and material growth, not material growth alone. Our obsession with materials is rooted in the belief that material (economic) growth is the way to happiness. We have interfered in the environment and in other people’s lives so recklessly primarily due to our material insatiability. However, love is essential in our lives, and the path to love goes through spiritual and material growth. Therefore, the author stresses the necessity of transforming the existing development paradigm into a new one with a comprehensive view of development, which will include spiritual and material growth. We should “use” the state and the law as primary tools in achieving happiness as our main goal. To achieve sustainable development, we need a “sustainable state” and “sustainable law”.


Attfield, A. & Belsey, A. (1994) Philosophy and the Natural Environment (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).

Baker, S., Kousis, M., Richardson, D. & Young, S. (ed) (1997) The Politics of Sustainable Development (London: Routledge).

Breyer, S. (1982) Regulation and Its Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press)

Brooks, R. O. (1986) Coercion to Environmental Virtue: Can and Should Law Mandate Environmentally Sensitive Life Styles, The American Journal of Jurisprudence, 31(1), pp. 21-64.

Buckingham-Hatfield, S. & Evans, B. (1996) Environmental Planning and Sustainability, (Chiceste: John Wiley & Sons).

Bugarič, B. (1987) From Plan to Market – One Way or Alternative Paths? (A Critique of Institutional Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe), doctoral thesis (Wisconsin).

Capra, F. (1983) The Turning Point (Science, Society and the Rising Culture) (New York: Bantam Books).

Capra, F. (1991) The Tao of the Physics (Boston: Shambala).

Capra, F. (1996) The Web of Life (New York: Anchor Books).

Corcoran, T. (2012) Get ready for the Rio Happiness Summit, available at: http://www.business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-are-you-happier-than-this-woman> (May 21, 2019).

Dryzek, J. S. (1997) The Politics of the Earth (Environmental Discourses) (New York: Oxford University Press).

Eder, K. (1996) The Social Construction of Nature (A Sociology of Ecological Enlightenment) (London: SAGE Publications).

Europen Commission (2010) Europe 2020: A European Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Brussels: European Commission).

European Commission (2019) What is the ‘Beyond GDP’ initiative (Brussels: European Commission), available at: www.ec.europa.eu/environment/beyond_gdp/index_en.html (May 21, 2019).

European Environment Agency (2015) SOER: The European Environment: State and Outlook 2014 (Copenhagen: European Environment Agency).

Forbes, J. D. (1992) Columbus and Other Cannibals (The Wetiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism and Terrorism) (New York: Autonomedia).

Gottlieb, R. S. (ur.) (1997) The Ecological Community (New York: Routledge).

Grof, S. (1993) The Holotropic Mind (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco).

Grof, S. (2012) Healing our Deepest Wounds: The Holotropic Paradigm Shift, Stream of Exeperience Production (Washington DC: Newcaste).

Ching, I. (1996) Book of Changes, The Ancient Chinese Guide to Wisdom and Fortunetelling (New York: Gramercy Books).

Jaspers, K. (1990) Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus (The Paradigmatic Individuals) (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company).

Kettl, D. F. (2002) Environmental Governance, A Report on The Next Generation of Environmental Policy (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press).

King, P. W. (2011) Climbing Maslow Pyramid (Leceister: Kilworth Beauchamp).

King, P. N. (2010) Can the green economy help to eredicate powerty?, available at: https://www.unosd.org/content/documents/99SDplanNet-AP_for_UNOSD%20Panel%202.pdf (May 21, 2019).

Klein, .N. (2014) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (New York: Simon/Schuster).

Klein, N. (2015) The Economic System We Have Created Global Warming, available at: https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/global-warming-interview-with-naomi-klein-a-1020007.html (May 21, 2019).

Kloepfer, M. (1989) Umweltrecht (Munchen: C. H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung).

Krishnamurti, J. (1995) On Fear (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco).

Kurzweil, R. (2005) The Singularity Is Near (New York: Penguin Group).

Latin, H. (1985) Ideal Versus Real Regulatory Efficiency: Implementation of Uniform Standards and “Fine-Tuning” Regulatory Reforms, Stanford Law Review, 37(5), pp. 1267-1332.

Makeover, J. (ur.) (2009) Strategies for the Green Economy (New York: McGrawHill).

McCormick, J. (1995) The Global Environmental Movement (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons).

Meadows, D. H. (1972) The Limits to Growth (New York: Universe Books).

Merchant, C. (1983) The Death of Nature (Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution) (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco).

Miller, L. (ed.) (1995) From the Heart (Voices of the American Indian) (new York: Vintage Books).

Nisker, W. (1990) Crazy Wisdom (Berkley, CA: Ten Speed Press).

O'Brien, C. (2013) Lessons in Sustainable Happiness (Nova Scotia: Thinking Rock).

Odum, E. P. (1996) Ecology (A Bridge Between Science and Society) (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc. Publishers).

Onida, M. (ed.) (2004) Europe and the Environment (Groeningen: Europa Law Publishing).

Osho (2008) Joy – the Hapiness That Comes from Within (New York: St Martin Griffin).

Osho (2008) Being in Love (New York: Harmony Books).

Osho (2011) Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships (Zürich: Osho International Foundation).

Penn, Universit of Pensylvania (2019) Authentic Hapiness: Penn University in the US, based on positive psychology, Martin Seligman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania), available at: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ (May 21, 2019).

Percival, R. V. & Alevizatos, D. C. (ed.) (1997) (Philadelphia: Temple University Press).

Pličanič, S. (2003) Temelji ekološkega prava (Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba).

Pličanič, S. (2014) Trajnostno prostorsko načrtovanje in trajnostni gospodarski razvoj Slovenije – vloga prava in države, Javna uprava, 50(3-4), pp. 141-171.

Plicanic, S. (2019) The Concept of (New) Ecocentric Legal Philosophy in Gatherings, The Journal of International Community for Ecopsychology, available at: http://www.ecopsychology.org/journal/ezine/law.html (May 21 2019).

Ponting, C. (1993) A Green History of the World (The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations) (New York: Penguin Books).

Posner, R. a. (1990) The Problems of Jurisprudence (Cambridge: MA: Harvard University Press).

Przeworski, A. (1995) Sustainable Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press).

Ramadan, T. (2009) Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity (Leicester: The Islamic Foundation).

Revesz, R. L. (ed.) (1997) Foudations of Environmental Law and Policy (New York: Oxford University Press).

Rifkin, J. (1980) Entropy – a New World View (New York: Bantam Books).

Rose-Ackerman, S. (1995) Controlling Environmental Policy (The Limits of Public Law in Germany and the United States) (New Haven, London: Yale University Press).

Rose-Ackerman, S. (1994) American Administrative Law Under Siege: Is Germany a Model?, Harvard Law Review, 107(6), 1279-1301.

Ross, A. (2012) Sustainable Development Law in the UK: From rhetoric to reality (New York: Earthscan).

Sachs, J. D. (2015) The Age of Sustainable Development (New York: Columbia University Press).

Salzmann, J. & Barton, T. H. (2010) Environmental Law and Policy (New York: Foundation Press).

Sanderson, S. K. (1995) Social Transformations (A General Theory of Historical Development) (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers Inc.).

Seligman, M. (2011) Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Hapiness and Well-Being (New York: Free Press).

Služba Vlade RS za razvoj in evropsko kohezijsko politiko (2016) Vizija Slovenije (Ljubljana: Služba Vlade RS za razvoj in evropsko kohezijsko politiko), available at: https://www.rtvslo.si/files/novice/kako_vizija_slovenije.pdf (May 21, 2019).

Solomon, R. C. & Higgins, K. M. (1996) A Short History of Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press).

Spring, D. & Spring, E. (1985) Ecology and Religion in History. New York, Evantson, San Francisco, In: Pasti razvoja (ekološke študije) (Ljubljana: Komunist), str. 36–48.

Stone, C. (1996) Should Trees Have Standing (New York: Oxford University Press).

Stres, A. (1996) Svoboda in pravičnost (Oris politične filozofije) (Ljubljana: Mohorjeva družba).

The World Revolution (2019) available at: http://www.worldrevolution.org/projects/globalissuesoverview/overview2/EnvironmentNew.htm (May 21, 2019).

The Hunger Project (2019) Know your world: facts about hunger and poverty (Washington DC: The Global Hunger Project), available at: http://thp.org/knowledge-center/know-your-world-facts-about-hunger-poverty/ (May 21, 2019).

Tolle, E. (1999) The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightement (Novato: New World Library).

Tarlock, D. A. (1992) Environmental Protection: The Potential Misfit Between Equity and Efficiency, University of Colorado Law Review, 63(4), pp. 871-900.

Thornton, J. & Beckwith, S. (1997) Environmental Law (London: Sweet & Maxwell).

Ulluwishewa, R. (2014) Spirituality and Sustainable Development (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

United Nations (2012) UN Resolution 66/288 The Future We Want (Rio +20), available at: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/476/10/PDF/N1147610.pdf?OpenElement (May 21 2019).

United Nations (2012) Defining a New Economic Paradigm: The Report on High-Level Meeting on Well-Being and Happiness (New York: United Nations), available at: https://docs.google.com/gview?url=http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/617BhutanReport_WEB_F.pdf&embedded=true> (May 21, 2019).

UNESCO (2007) Education for Sustainable Development: Linking Learning and Happiness (Bangkok: UNSECO), available at: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000155943 (May 21, 2019).

US Supreme Court (2005) What did the founding fathers mean by “the pursuit of happiness”, available at: www.blog.dictionary.com/happiness/ (May 21 2019).

Weatherford, J. (1988) Indian Givers (How the Indians of the Americas transformed the World) (New York: Ballantine Books).

WHO (2019) WHO – Health, available at: WHO – Health, http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story046/en/ (May 21, 2019).