Section 4 - Indicator Projects and Resources
The purpose of this section is to introduce participants to
additional criteria and tools for evaluating sustainability
indicators. We will also examine several different frameworks for sets of
sustainability indicators, as well as potential sources of indicator
data. Finally, participants will be given an overview
of communities and organizations that are working on indicators
and other sustainability projects.
By the end of this section, the participants will be familiar with
different criteria and frameworks for indicators, know some of the
many ways that communities have worked on sustainability and
indicators, and be familiar with some of the tools for evaluating
sustainable projects and indicators.
Tips for Teaching/Key Elements
The important concepts to emphasize are:
1) Indicator sets should balance the economy, environment, and
society. Category-based frameworks tend to reinforce disconnected
thinking. Goal-vision matrices encourage connected thinking.
2) Although there is data available at the global, national, and
state/province level for indicators, the best source of data may
be local sources such as town halls, local employment offices, and
local health agencies.
3) Because sustainable community projects require that
diverse members of a community work together, facilitation is an
essential element in the process.
4) A number of communities and organizations have developed guides
to getting started. The Resource section describes some of these
guides. The guides can be helpful, but should be modified to fit
the needs of each community.
5) There are a number of economic tools that communities are
using to build sustainability. These emphasize that a sustainable
global economy is dependent on healthy local economies.
6) There are a number of tools available for evaluating the
sustainability of individual lifestyles, communities and
projects. The Resource section describes where to get more information on
7) There are many organizations that can provide support for
communities dealing with the issue of sustainability. Although
some funding is available, in general, community projects that
are mainly self-supported are the most successful.