Measuring Sustainable Lifestyles and Sustainability

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					   Measuring Sustainable
Lifestyles and Sustainability

   Sylvia Karlsson and Arthur Dahl
      International Environment Forum
• No system can be managed without
• Dashboards
• Bank statements
• Achieving sustainability also requires
• Indicators are numbers/symbols that tell
  something about the system
           Use of indicators
•   Information for decision-making
•   Public information
•   Early warning, vulnerability
•   Indicators can provide guidance for
    adaptive management, which is
    necessary when we do not fully
    understand complex systems.
         Types of indicators
•   Statistics (GNP, unemployment rate)
•   Materials flows
•   Ecological footprints
•   Scientific data (CO2 concentration)
•   Maps, GIS
•   Other types of information
    Indicators of sustainable
• Rio Earth Summit adopted Agenda 21
• UNDP Human Development Index
• Commission on Sustainable Development,
  Programme of Work on Indicators
• SCOPE project on Indicators of Sustainability
• Menu of 134 indicators, DSIR framework
• Revised set of 52 core indicators
• SCOPE Assessment of Sustainability
             NGO Initiatives
•   Environmental Sustainability Index
•   Ecological Footprint
•   WWF Living Planet Index
•   IUCN Wealth of Nations
•   BIC Spiritually Based Indicators for
         Local Indicators
• Sustainable Seattle
• Fraser Valley, BC, Canada
• Local Agenda 21 in many communities
        Status of indicator
Challenge of measuring sustainability and
  sustainable development
• Temporal and spatial scales
• Planetary limits
• Vulnerability and resilience
• Irreversibility
• Reference values, baselines, targets
• Data drivenness
     Defining Development
Other dimensions than material:
• Cultural diversity
• Global consciousness
• Equality of men and women
• Participation in science/knowledge
       Process of indicator
Challenges of developing indicators
  through processes that ensure their
  universal applicability:
• Comparing countries
• Diversity of development goals
• Equity
• Democracy
        Individual indicators
• There are indicators that individuals, families
  and communities can use to measure the
  sustainability of their lifestyles.
• More should be done to help each person
  develop and use such indicators to manage
  their own well-being and sustainability.
• Such indicators can also contribute
  substantially to education for sustainable
      Examples of individual
• Water consumption, use of polluting materials
  (detergent, cleaners, toxics)
• Energy: Electricity/gas consumption, heating
  bills, CO2 budget
• Transport: automobile mileage, public
  transport use, bicycle use, walking
• Food: purchases of fast food,organic, fair
  trade; weight gain; number of meatless meals
             Examples 2
• Clothing: number of shirts, dresses,
  shoes; expenditures on clothes
• Housing: number of rooms per person,
• Technology: number of electronic
  devices bought/discarded
• Contact with nature, animals (hrs/week)
• Travel for recreation, tourism (km)
• Experiences of beauty, cultural diversity
               Examples 3
•   Community: participation in activities
•   Solidarity: gifts to charity, development
•   Altruism: volunteer service
•   Spirituality: daily prayer

• Make up your own sustainability
  indicator profile
• Compare your progress yearly
• In school, develop a class indicator
  profile (choose, measure, analyze)