Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

Posted by Michael Keating

Sustainability Signals

Are we on a pathway toward or away from sustainability? There are no simple answers, but experts in sustainability can provide many key indicators that give us important signals. Following are a number of environment and sustainability measuring systems.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing

This is a composite index built to measure the well-being of Canadians. It uses indicators from eight interconnected categories: community vitality, democratic engagement, education, environment, healthy populations, leisure and culture, living standards, and time use.


Vital Signs

Vital Signs produces an annual series of reports by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of communities in a number of sectors, and identifies significant trends.


Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

A series of indicators are used to measure the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, and report on key environmental sustainability issues.


United Nations Environment Programme, Global Environment Outlook 

GEO reports periodically assess the state of the global environment, and identify priorities for action. They are integrated and scientifically-based environmental findings on the state of the planet, globally and regionally. They look at causes and effects of environmental problems as well as options for change and success stories of sustainability.


United Nations Human Development Reports and Index

The reports are about the state of world development, and whether people in different parts of the world can have a long and healthy life, be educated, and enjoy a decent standard of living. They are widely known for the Human Development Index, which ranks countries based on a number of factors, such as life expectancy, education and gross national income per capita.


Ecological Footprint 

The Global Footprint Network uses the Ecological Footprint to measure humanity’s demand on nature, based on how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resource it consumes and to absorb its wastes. It is a good way to compare the relative impact of different societies.


Happy Planet Index 

This measures the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for their people, based on life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint.


The Living Planet Report 

This is a report by the World Wide Fund For Nature on the state of the world’s ecosystems, based on the health of the planet’s ecosystems and human demand on these ecosystems.


Good Country Index

This online report calculates what more than 150 of the world’s countries contribute or take away from the common good of humanity, relative to their size. It is based on their performance in such fields as science, culture, peace, equality, health and the environment.


Environmental Doomsday Clock

This annual survey does not measure the environment, but how people feel about the future of humanity given the global environmental deterioration. The result of the annual survey is reported in minutes to midnight on a clock face.


Nature conservation facts

EcoWatch an environmental news and information website has produced a list of top nature conservation facts with trends in deforestation, wildlife preservation, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.