Sustainable Happiness

A happiness that is sustainable is perhaps ‘the thing’ most people struggle with, especially in times of immense challenge and or uncertainty.

Our constant seeking of happiness. The fleeting moments of happiness. Our confusion of what happiness really is. The way that happiness is perceived or has changed. I mean, is happiness really so important?

If you were to ask a good friend of mine or a close colleague if they would connect ‘Jon Earle’ with ‘happiness’, the answer would be, ‘No’.

These two people, however, are synonymous with sustainable happiness. (Left – Aukje van Gerven. Right – Philip de Roo. 2014)

Philip de Roo.

On March 20th, 2013, Philip launched Expeditie Geluk. This walking expedition aimed to bring awareness of the 400,000 children living below the poverty line in the Netherlands. Many of these children described their circumstances as being ‘unhappy or unsafe’.

The project team engaged with local government during their 1600 kilometre tour of the Netherlands and asked Mayors for their support on bringing this issue to the forefront. Philip himself was passionate about sustainable development and used his skills to bring the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) to as many children around the country.

Dedication to this project through all of its challenges and his commitment to an active and healthy lifestyle, make Philip a true Sustainable Happiness ambassador. Philip de Roo (1985 -2015)


Aukje van Gerven.

On March 20th, 2013, Aukje launched project ‘motherhood’, and me, naively into fatherhood. If you ask one of Aukje’s friends or colleagues about her relationship with the word ‘happiness’, there would be a quick answer, ‘Yes’. Aukje knows what sustainable happiness is not, and more importantly what it is.

I could write a long story about some of the hardships she has endured, yet that is simply not her style. Aukje’s view of happiness is simple.

Be kind. Enjoy what you have. Be your best self.

Her enjoyment of all the in-between moments not only the highlights ensures an uplifting and positive outlook. Aukje is a role model first and foremost to her daughters, but I also know for a wider group.


Philip’s commitment and dedication to an important cause and Aukje’s care, compassion and authenticity make for some strong values for sustainable happiness.

In this phase of rapid global change, leaders like Philip and Aukje with strong values are needed. It is not a time for watching and waiting. It is time to act for and with your communities.

Sustainable happiness is only possible together, and yes, I believe it is very important.

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