Introduction to the Workshop
Purpose and Audience

This workshop is for people and organizations who are reaching out to communities on issues of sustainability or who are considering developing economic, environmental, or social indicators for a community. This includes nonprofit organizations, grassroots activists, community development and economic development organizations, and state and local government officials.

The purpose of this workshop is to increase participants' understanding of sustainability issues at the grassroots level and provide tools for initiating or furthering community indicator projects. It is hoped that those who take this workshop, either in person or via the web site, will be able to present a one-day basic course in indicators of sustainability.

The one-day course provides an introduction to the concept of sustainability and the use of indicators, as well as tools for evaluating indicators and sustainability projects. The course is an interactive process that encourages the active involvement of the participants rather than a lecture session. In addition to learning about how others are defining and working on sustainability, participants will gain experience in developing and evaluating potential indicators of sustainability. The course also highlights useful resources and sources of data for indicators.

As a result of attending this course, participants will be able to provide more effective outreach to their constituents on issues of sustainability. They will also be able to work more effectively with groups developing indicators, so that those indicators are more aligned with the concepts of sustainability.

Suggested Agenda

8:30  -  9:00 Introduction and warmup exercise
9:00  -  9:30 What is sustainability?
9:30  -  10:30 What makes a good indicator of sustainability?
10:30  -  10:45 Break
10:45  -  12:30 Small group exercise: developing indicators
12:30  -  1:30 Lunch
1:30  -  2:00 Small group exercise continued
2:00  -  3:00 Report back on indicators
3:00  -  3:15 Break
3:15  -  3:45 How do we get there?
3:45  -  4:00 Wrap up

Setting Up to Present the Course

This workshop works best when seating is arranged in a U-shaped or semi-circle so that participants can talk to each other. The interaction between participants is as important to the success of the course as the material presented.

The equipment you will need includes an overhead projector, at least two flip charts with plenty of paper, markers, and tape for putting finished flip chart pages up on the wall.
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.