Making Sustainability Meaningful: Using Participatory Indicator Projects to Create a Viable Future
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In the United Nation’s words, “Humanity stands at a defining moment in history” (United Nations Agenda 21). This is humanity’s opportunity to act, to reverse the destructive trends it started. It is obvious that the world needs answers and a viable alternative. The global population still needs to meet its needs, but it needs to do so without incurring the momentous amounts of damage it has in the past. The answer and the key to our future lies in sustainability. Sustainability and sustainable development provide a feasible alternative in the face of the looming damage that the earth’s ecosystems have endured over the last 50 years. I argue that In consideration of the knowledge produced by systems theory and an understanding of the intricate interactions that exist between the different realms of society, a comprehensive and holistic view of sustainability needs to be adopted. In order to make this abstract concept a reality, I explore the importance of community indicator projects. Sustainability indicator projects provide a concrete application of sustainability. Through their use of participatory methods, the development of indicator projects allows the ownership and empowerment of local citizens necessary to make sustainability a reality. A clear and comprehensive understanding of sustainability and the use of indicator projects to provide concrete and empowering experiences are the best and most promising avenues through which to pursue a viable and sustainable future.