A good indicator is not at someone else's expense
 
 
 
  • Not at the expense of:
     
    • Another community's sustainability
       
    • Global sustainability
 


 
Talking Points
 
 
 
  • Making your life better by making someone else's worse is not sustainability
     
  • What goes around comes around: everyone is downstream or downwind of someone else


 
Narrative
 
 
 
If you develop an indicator that makes your community better at the expense of another community (local, regional, or global), then you are not measuring sustainability. For example:
  • If the indicator is "median income that is 110 percent of the national average," then you are saying that someone else has to be at 90 percent. This is not sustainability.
     
  • If the indicator is "amount of solid waste landfilled in your community," and you stop landfilling by dumping everything in the ocean, you are not measuring sustainability.
This does not mean that one community will not be better than another. It just can't get there at the expense of another community.
  • Instead of median income compared to other places, measure whether local people can afford local basic needs on the local wage.
     
  • Instead of measuring the amount of solid waste landfilled in the community, measure the amount of solid waste produced and work to reduce it.
 
 
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.