hat is planted in Canada's garden? Officially we seek nothing more than to perpetually expand the amount of money being spent - the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It doesn't matter if the money is spent on replacing stolen goods and pollution related illness or if it is spent on food and education.
There is a more elegant vision in the land and I want your readers to know about it. We are working to create an institution which will monitor the social, economic and environmental well-being of people, communities and ecosystems in Canada.
In every corner of the country, there are people looking into problems and experimenting with solutions. The "Canada Well-Being Measurement Act" (CWBMA) is a proposal being developed cooperatively in the House of Commons to tap into these concerns and visions. It would establish a set of measures to track improvement or loss of ground in related matters. The measures would then be regularly reported through the Auditor General's Office.
What we count and what we measure shows what we value. When we count only monetary transactions (GDP), environmental quality and social cohesion receive too little attention. When we legitimize other factors by measuring and reporting on them in our core measure of progress, they become visible. This visibility, in turn, enables us to see how policies and actions affect the measures, and encourages decision makers to pay attention to them.
The CWBMA is a part of what we call the 7th Generation Initiative. The intent is to encourage long term thinking in the decision making process. With eyes fixed on one thing, we have caused serious damage to the environment and the integrity of communities. We need to measure natural resources, pollution levels, biodiversity, durability of goods, employment satisfaction, income distribution, quality of education and health care, stress, leisure time, unpaid work, crime and other factors of consequence. Then we could more effectively steer our way toward a sustainable future.
We want to hear from people who have interests or concerns about the goals of society. If you would like, ask for a copy of the Discussion Kit we have produced to encourage groups to talk about what they value and how related circumstances might be measured.
You can write me, postage free, at Rm. 422, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6 or by email to the 7th Generation Initiative Coordinator, Mike Nickerson at: firstname.lastname@example.org More details at: www.cyberus.ca/choose.sustain/index3.html