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ANALYSIS OF A SUSTAINABILITY INDEX AND A SUSTAINABILITY INDICATOR REPORT
3-10 pages double-spaced
12 point font
Cite your sources (such as Gibson and Mayer) using APA citation style. (Links to an external site.)
The purpose of Assignment 1 is to explore the basic building block of sustainability assessment: sustainability indicators. Sustainability indicators are unique in that they tell us something about the behavior of a socio-ecological system over time. Indicators may be combined into two types of assessments: a sustainability index (see below e.g., ecological footprint, happy planet index, living planet index) or sustainability indicator report (see below e.g., EPA Climate Change Indicator Report, Sustainable Seattle Indicators of Sustainable Community, Cascadia Scorecard). The goal is to include appropriate indicators for the intended audience (e.g., policy makers, business leaders, educators, citizens) that are easily accessed and monitor system behavior and trends that matter to quality of life. In this assignment, you are to critically analyze one sustainability index and one sustainability indicator report as described below.
I. Introduction (1/2-1 page): Introduce the topic of sustainability and sustainability assessments and briefly introduce the assessments (index, indicator report) you choose to analyze and why.
II. Body (2-3 pages): Explain each assessment “tool” (one index and one indicator report) you choose from list below and analyze each through the lens of Gibson’s 8 core criteria for sustainability assessment as explained in this article: Gibson_Sustainability assessment basic components of a practical approach-1.pdf
Socio-ecological system integrity
Livelihood sufficiency and opportunity
Resource maintenance and efficiency
Socio-ecological civility and democratic governance
Precaution and adaptation
Immediate and long term integration
Also address the potential biases and limitations in the methodologies of each of these assessments. Each assessment website includes an explanation of their methods (what data is included, where they got it, why they include certain indicators) and the indicators that are included in their assessment so look for this. Mayer provides examples of methodological biases of sustainability indices in the assigned reading for this module: Mayer_Strengths and Weaknesses of Common Sustainability Indices (3)-1.pdf download
III. Conclusion (1/2-1 page) – summarize your analysis with some overall remarks of your critiques.
Step 1. Choose one index and one indicator report from the list of sustainability indicators and indices here:
Sustainability Indices (choose one to analyze):
Ecological Footprint (Links to an external site.): identify what is being measured (Links to an external site.) by this index and explore the data sets to compare national footprints and analyze how well it meets Gibson’s criteria.
Living Planet Index (LPI) (Links to an external site.): identify what is being measured (Links to an external site.) by the LPI and explore the data portal and and analyze how well it meets Gibson’s criteria.
Happy Planet Index (HPI) (Links to an external site.): Identify what is being measured (Links to an external site.) and explore the data and analyze how well it meets Gibson’s criteria.
Sustainability Indicator Reports (choose one to analyze):
Sustainable Seattle Community Indicator Report.pdf download (1998) – review the entire report and take note of the overall trends shown at the beginning of the report and the “Linkages” noted for each indicator. Read closely the Introduction (pages 1-6). Know what is being measured, explore the data, and analyze how well it meets Gibson’s criteria.
Sightline Institute’s Cascadia Scorecard.pdf download (2007) – review the entire report, read closely the Introduction (pages 1-7) and take note of the seven key trends (Table 1). Identify what is being measured, explore the data, and analyze how well it meets Gibson’s criteria.
EPA Climate Indicators Report_2016.pdf download (US EPA, 2016) – Examine the underlying systems being monitored for climate change and the variety of indicators monitored to understand the systems. Identify what is being measured, explore the data, and analyze how well it meets Gibson’s criteria.
Step 2: Based on criteria for effectiveness stated in the Gibson (2006) article and methodology bias and limitations explained by Mayer (2008), write a 3-5 page analysis of how effective the sustainability index and indicator report that you chose are according to the outline suggested above. Be sure to analyze the effectiveness of the tool itself. This is not an analysis of the results of the tool. You are encouraged to provide examples from the results to illustrate your points about how effective these two tools are in assessing sustainability, but your analysis is focused on how effective the sustainability assessment tools you choose meet Gibson’s 8 criteria for effectiveness.
Assignment 1 is due Sunday at the end of Week 2 by 11:59 pm PT.
A Grading Rubric is included in this assignment. Please note that for full credit, write a complete response in accordance with the guidelines above and offer unique critical insights and analyses. Student will receive partial credit if their response is not related to course materials and is incomplete based on the guidelines above. Student will receive no credit if their work is not original, or plagiarized, or if the specific question was not answered directly.