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Measuring Sustainable Lifestyles and Sustainability. Sylvia Karlsson and Arthur Dahl International Environment Forum. Indicators.  No system can be managed without information Dashboards Bank statements Achieving sustainability also requires information

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measuring sustainable lifestyles and sustainability

Measuring Sustainable Lifestyles and Sustainability

Sylvia Karlsson and Arthur Dahl

International Environment Forum

  •  No system can be managed without information
  • Dashboards
  • Bank statements
  • Achieving sustainability also requires information
  • Indicators are numbers/symbols that tell something about the system
use of indicators
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
Types of indicators
  • Statistics (GNP, unemployment rate)
  • Materials flows
  • Ecological footprints
  • Scientific data (CO2 concentration)
  • Maps, GIS
  • Other types of information
indicators of sustainable development
Indicators of sustainable development
  • 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 Indicators
ngo initiatives
NGO Initiatives
  • Environmental Sustainability Index
  • Ecological Footprint
  • WWF Living Planet Index
  • IUCN Wealth of Nations
  • BIC Spiritually Based Indicators for Development
local indicators
Local Indicators
  • Sustainable Seattle
  • Fraser Valley, BC, Canada
  • Local Agenda 21 in many communities
status of indicator development
Status of indicator development

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
Defining Development

Other dimensions than material:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Global consciousness
  • Equality of men and women
  • Participation in science/knowledge
process of indicator development
Process of indicator development

Challenges of developing indicators through processes that ensure their universal applicability:

  • Comparing countries
  • Diversity of development goals
  • Equity
  • Democracy
individual indicators
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 development.
examples of individual indicators
Examples of individual indicators
  • 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
Examples 2
  • Clothing: number of shirts, dresses, shoes; expenditures on clothes
  • Housing: number of rooms per person, cost
  • 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
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)