We are what we measure.   It's time to measure what we want to be.

Traditional vs. sustainability indicators

The tables below compare traditional indicators with sustainable community indicators.
Economic Indicators
Traditional Indicators Sustainability Indicators Emphasis of Sustainability Indicators
Median income Per capita income relative to the U.S. average Number of hours of paid employment at the average wage required to support basic needs What wage can buy Defines basic needs in terms of sustainable consumption
Unemployment rate Number of companies Number of jobs Diversity and vitality of local job base Number and variability in size of companies Number and variability of industry types Variability of skill levels required for jobs Resilience of the job market Ability of the job market to be flexible in times of economic change
size of the economy as measured by GNP and GDP Wages paid in the local economy that are spent in the local economy Dollars spent in the local economy which pay for local labor and local natural resources Percent of local economy based on renewable local resources Local financial resilience
Environmental Indicators
Traditional Indicators Sustainability Indicators Emphasis of Sustainability Indicators
Ambient levels of pollution in air and water Use and generation of toxic materials (both in production and by end user) Vehicle miles traveled Measuring activities causing pollution
Tons of solid waste generated Percent of products produced which are durable, repairable, or readily recyclable or compostable Conservative and cyclical use of materials
Cost of fuel Total energy used from all sources Ratio of renewable energy used at renewable rate compared to nonrenewable energy Use of resources at sustainable rate
Social Indicators
Traditional Indicators Sustainability Indicators Emphasis of Sustainability Indicators
SAT and other standardized test scores Number of students trained for jobs that are available in the local economy Number of students who go to college and come back to the community Matching job skills and training to needs of the local economy
Number of registered voters Number of voters who vote in elections Number of voters who attend town meetings Participation in democratic process Ability to participate in the democratic process