Evaluating Indicators
  • Relevant
  • Understandable
  • Useable
  • Long-term view
  • Linkages
  • Addresses carrying capacity
  • Pressure state or response
  • Type of capital

Talking Points
  • Points to keep in mind when evaluating sustainability indicators
  • Relevant to the community
  • Understandable and useable by the community
  • Takes a long-term view
  • Links different facets of community
  • Addresses carrying capacity--use of resources and size of population
  • Pressure state or response need to be considered
  • Types of capital include social, financial and natural

When you look at an indicator from the point of view of sustainability, you need to consider: whether the indicator is:
  • relevant to the community it will be used by
  • understandable and useable by that community
  • looking at the long term (20 or 50 years, not just 5 or 10 years)
  • helping to show the links among economy, environment and society
  • incorporating the concept of limits, carrying capacity or ecological footprint
Think about whether the indicator is looking at the pressure, the state or the response. Make sure that at least some of the indicators are measuring the causes. Don't just concentrate on the effects.

It is also important to think about the type of capital that you are trying to measure. Communities are made up of social and natural capital as well as financial capital. Social and natural capital are much more difficult to quantify, but they are just as important for a community.

Now we are going to look at a number of different indicators in several different areas and use these criteria for evaluating them.

(Note: Depending on the audience and time available, you should select whichever of the following topics are the most relevant to the participants.)
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.