Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sustainability Indicators and Climate Change

I just got an interesting newsletter from Japan for Sustainability (JFS). Their set of sustainability indicators (and the process they used to select their "headline indicators") is quite interesting, and their graphical display of the changes from 1990 to 2005 is clear and concise.

Compare that to the Central Texas Sustainability Indicators Project. The Central Texas report is bigger (surprising neither Texan nor non-Texan) . But the subjects covered are similar, though not identical -- while both are concerned with the natural environment and climate change, Japan's project measures greenhouse gas emissions per capita, while Central Texas examines energy consumption, renewable energy production, and total CO2 emissions (see page 88-89 of the 2006 Biennial Report (PDF file).

The Australian Government has an interesting Headline Sustainability Indicators report that also approaches the same sustainability concept. Their climate change value section measures CO2 emissions (though the data needs updating) but also suggests measuring land and sea temperature change.

If you're looking at climate change indicators, this report from the U.K. is colorful and interesting. Be sure to check out the sustainable development strategy indicators measuring greenhouse gases from international aviation and shipping bunkers.

For a local sustainability indicators effort, however, is a per capita measure of CO2/greenhouse gas emissions better than an energy consumption/vehicle miles traveled per capita measure? Which is more likely to encourage individual behavior change? Which is more likely to influence public policy? What do you (or would you) measure?


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