You don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate that the happiness and well-being of humans and animals is deeply interconnected. Without a shift to a Gross National Happiness paradigm or something like it, many creatures – including giraffes and elephants – may be doomed to extinction. Without tending to the animal kingdom, we humans may also be doomed. Fortunately, there are some fine examples of how a GNH approach can help save the day.
Ginny Sassaman grew up in Central Pennsylvania before moving as a young adult to Washington, D.C. where she was media communications director for Common Cause, The American University, and the Women’s Legal Defense Fund before leaving the D.C. fast track to pursue a fulltime career as a watercolor painter. In 2001, she and her husband Bob moved to Vermont. In 2006, Ginny returned to school, earning a Master’s in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies at Woodbury College in Vermont. While working as a professional mediator, Ginny stumbled upon the science of happiness, which she considers her true calling. She is a co-founder and past president of Gross National Happiness USA, & now serves on the GNHUSA advisory board. With a Certificate in Positive Psychology, Ginny’s specialty is the intersection between personal happiness and systems change to support wellbeing for all. Ginny is a member of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, where she delivered her first sermon in 2013. Since then, Ginny has led services in local UU churches as well as churches in South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Over the last three summers, Ginny led 16 services at the summers-only Barnard, VT UU Church. Those sermons are being compiled into a book, Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just, Joyful World due out in spring 2020. Ginny is always grateful to share the wisdom of happiness with UU congregations.