About Catherine O’Brien

Catherine O'Brien
I developed the concept of sustainable happiness with the aim of stimulating discussions regarding the relationship between happiness, well-being and sustainability. I’m convinced that there is tremendous potential for happiness studies to contribute to a more sustainable world.

On a daily basis you have many opportunities to engage in sustainable happiness. For example, consider where your morning coffee comes from. Is it Fair Trade coffee – coffee that was grown and harvested with respect for workers and the environment? Were your clothes made in a country that respects human rights? How do you travel to work or school? Are you able to use non-motorized transportation – walking, cycling, skateboarding that is better for both human and environmental health and well-being? When you socialize with family, friends and co-workers, do you express appreciation – do you take time to really listen to them?

The actions of individuals, communities and organizations have tremendous impact locally, nationally, and globally. We have the inspiring ability to leave a wake of sustainable happiness throughout our lives by being accountable for the choices we make and policies we support.

My workshops and presentations assist participants to explore the applications of sustainable happiness in their personal and professional life.

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Sustainable Happiness

If you would like to explore sustainable happiness in greater depth, consider signing up for the online course on sustainable happiness. There are 35 mini-lectures in video format and 15 activities to deepen your learning. Use the coupon code SH4Teachers to get 50% off!

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Keynote Presentations and Workshops

Happiness is at the heart of who we are and how we live. Sustainable happiness inspires you to appreciate all the ways that your life touches and is touched by other people and the natural environment every day.

Sustainable happiness is applicable to every person, every organization, and every community. The examples of presentations below demonstrate some of the diverse audiences who have enjoyed learning about sustainable happiness.


How Living Schools are supporting well-being for all, Keynote at the Health, Wellness & Sustainability conference, University of Toronto, January, 2018

Sustainable Happiness: How your happiness and well-being are intertwined with sustainability, Keynote, Environmental Education conference, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, January 2018

Sustainable happiness and well-being for all. Sustainability Alliance of New Brunswick, November, 2017.

O’Brien, C., & Murray, S.E. Transforming ourselves and education through food.International Food Studies conference, Rome, October, 2017.

Sustainable Happiness and Wellbeing for All, Holistic Education conference, Winnipeg, 2016

Sustainable Happiness Training Certificate – 5-day program, Montreal, 2014
Positive Aging & Sustainable Happiness, four workshops with seniors in Montreal, 2014
Sustainable Happiness, Canadian Schools of Nursing Association conference, 2013
Sustainable Happiness, Sustainability & Environmental Research Symposium, Dalhousie, 2013
AHIMSA and Sustainable Happiness Conference, Cal Poly Pomona, CA, 2012
Celebrating Sustainable Happiness in Nunavut, Keynote, Nunavut Teachers Conference, 2012
Sustainable Happiness, Keynote, Building Healthy Communities, St. John’s, 2011
Sustainable Happiness, Keynote, Intelligent Mobility, Guadalajara, Mexico, 2011
Sustainable Happiness, TEDX UTIHP, Toronto, 2011
Sustainable Happiness, Keynote, Canadian Environmental Education Assoc, Fredericton, 2011

See CV for a full list of presentations.


Sustainable Happiness Intensive Course/Program

This is a three-five day program that provides an in depth introduction to sustainable happiness. Participants develop the knowledge and skills to apply sustainable happiness both personally and professionally. Here’s a glimpse of what that looks like! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCD0GPjlBFs

Sustainable Happiness: Personal and Professional Well-being

This workshop provides an overview of happiness studies and the concept of sustainable happiness. We look at the strengths and limitations of happiness studies and why taking happiness to the next level is vital. Activities assist participants to explore what makes their heart sing and how to integrate their passions into their life and work. Looking beyond individual happiness, we delve into opportunities for contributing to community and global well-being.

Sustainable Happiness for Teachers

This workshop provides an overview of happiness studies and the concept of sustainable happiness with implications for educators. Activities assist participants to explore what makes their heart sing and how to integrate their passions into their life and classroom. Using the Sustainable Happiness and Health – Teacher’s Guide, we identify initiatives that teachers are already doing that reflect sustainable happiness and investigate further opportunities for embracing sustainable happiness in classrooms, schools and communities.

Positive Aging and Sustainable Happiness

This program can be offered as a single workshop or series of workshops. Seniors enjoy the opportunity to explore happiness, well-being, healthy lifestyles and sustainability in an engaging and highly interactive format. This brief video provides some highlights from workshops in Montreal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCD0GPjlBFs