Here are three exercises that can help participants understand the topics presented in this section.

1. Linkages

Write the words "Air Quality" in the middle of a flip chart page. Ask the participants to help build a picture of the linkages. As each topic is mentioned, write it somewhere on the flip chart and draw a line connecting it to Air Quality and other topics. For example, topics that might be mentioned include: Human Health (from breathing poor quality air), Water Quality (from deposition of air borne emissions), Transportation (causes emissions), Energy Use (ditto), Production of Goods (ditto), Education (people learn to recognize activities that cause problems). Human Health is linked to Education as well.

Make another linkage page by writing the words "Resource Use" in the middle of another flip chart page. Again, ask the participants to help build a picture of the linkages. As each topic is mentioned, write it somewhere on the flip chart and draw a line connecting it to Resource Use. Examples include Production, Energy, Air Quality, Waste Generation, Transportation, Ecosystem Health, Human Health.

If the participants have a hard time thinking of links, start with two topics such as "Jobs" and "Income" with a line between them to show the linkage. Then ask the participants to list other linkages. Ideas may include Health (insurance and ability to pay for care), Poverty (not enough income), Crime (solution to not enough income), Charity (people who have money can afford to help others), Environment (people who have good jobs have time to enjoy the environment), Commuting (people with jobs have to get there), Transportation (how they get there), Connectedness (the more time people spend commuting, the less time for their community).

With one of the linkage pictures, ask the participants to identify the key links, those links where improving the second topic will help the first. For example, if the topic is jobs, education is a key link but crime or charity may not be. This will depend upon the circumstances of the community, since there are some places where crime is such a problem that employers do not want to locate there.

Next, ask the participants to think of indicators that show the connection involved in some of the key links that have been identified.

2. Evaluating Indicators

Using the indicator checklist in the appendix and the list of indicators developed by the Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development Indicators, walk the participants through evaluations of a couple of indicators. Then have them evaluate a few indicators individually and compare their answers as a group.

3. Pressure-state-response contexts and boundaries

Write a phrase at the top of a flip chart page that defines a problem of concern to the group, for example "crime." Ask the participants to name a few ways to measure the state of this problem. Examples might include the number of robberies and the number of violent crimes. Write these under the phrase in the middle of the page.

Ask the participants to name a few responses to the state and indicators for measuring those responses. Examples might include the number of police officers or the number of convicted criminals. Write these on the right side with lines from the center.

Ask for examples of pressures and how to measure them. Examples include lack of jobs or drug abuse. Write these on the left with lines to the center.

Ask participants to think of the "pressures" as "states" and think about examples of pressures that cause these states. Examples might include mechanization of jobs and moving jobs to areas with lower wage rates. Write these to the left of the original pressures with lines to the original pressures.

Have the participants look at the original "responses" (number of police officers, etc.) and think of those as a "state." Ask them to name responses to those states. Examples are increasing taxes to pay for the police or building more jails to house the criminals. Write these on the far right and draw lines to the original "responses."

Draw a dotted circle around the original state, pressures and responses. This is the boundary of the original context. The next level out is the first "ripple on the pond."

It is possible to continue adding pressures and responses and end up with a response that is a pressure, thereby creating a continuous loop.
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.