Over the past few years, we've seen some encouraging developments with the measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. More and more people are using carbon footprint calculators to understand their own emissions, business are starting to analyse and report their own, and with the climate bill about to go through Congress it may soon become compulsory for fossil fuel providers and major greenhouse gas emitters to measure and report their impact. But while this is progress, it's easy to get "carbon goggles" and focus on carbon emissions to the exclusion of all the other impacts that our activities have on each other.
This is why Sustainable Seattle started out as an indicator organisation, and our core is still a set of community-generated indicators that measure sustainability in a very broad, but still objectively quantifiable, sense. Our Sustainability Training And Resources program aims to give people the tools to understand and apply these indicators in their own lives and work. With this mission in mind, we've been working on developing material that introduces useful comprehensive ways of measuring impacts. The first two workshops will be in July:
- In Triple Bottom Line Reporting, on July 15-16, our Executive Director Laura Musikanski will cover the methods and reasons for a company to report its environmental and social performance along with its economic performance.
- In Life Cycle Assessment, on July 28, Rita Schenck of the Institute for Environmental Research & Education will introduce what I believe is the gold standard for measuring the complete environmental impact of a product or process, from cradle to grave.
We are also hoping to announce a Gross National Happiness talk in the near future, but details of that still need to be confirmed, so watch this space for another announcement.