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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sustainability in Chester, Connecticut

There's a nice write-up on Justin Good's SolarClarity blog of Maureen Hart's work to help Chester, Connecticut develop sustainability indicators.

(Maureen Hart is the President of Sustainable Measures, author of the Guide to Sustainable Community Indicators, staff of the International Sustainability Indicators Network, and a really good person to have help you if your community is working on indicators of sustainability, as Justin clearly shows.)

Here's a couple of selections from the blog article:

"The single most important issue of the next century is going to be sustainability. Communities that make the jump to sustainability, economically and philosophically, will prosper, while those that cling dogmatically to the conventional wisdom of the 20th century will suffer the harsh, unpredictable consequences of a deepening oil and natural gas crisis, global climate change and the ensuing political, economic chaos of a post-9/11, post-Katrina world. "

"The word ‘sustainability’ is really just a new term for the old fashioned idea of stewardship: the careful, long-term management of community, land and resources. So what should we understand to be the goal of sustainable development? According to the widely-accepted definition adopted by the United Nations Brundtland Commission, sustainable development is development which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” and it can only be pursued if “population size and growth are in harmony with the changing productive potential of the ecosystem.” By this standard, many of the economic processes and systems upon which our daily life depends in Chester are clearly very far from being sustainable."

"Now from a long-term planning perspective, the difficulty with becoming a genuinely sustainable community lies not in how you define sustainability, but in how you measure it."

The blog goes on to list the indicators that were developed in the community workshops. Check out the good work happening in Connecticut!

(While you're poking around Justin's blog, check out his article on Green Burial -- something to think about.)


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