We are what we measure.   It's time to measure what we want to be.

Key term: Develop

Develop: to improve or bring to a more advanced state.

Notice that, in the context of sustainability, 'develop' does not mean continually getting bigger. People start out as infants and grow until they become adults. They don't continually get larger, but they do continue to develop: they go back to school, make new friends, learn new skills, start a new hobby, or travel to new places. In the same way, a sustainable community does not grow larger indefinitely. Sustainability does not mean sustained growth. At some point, a sustainable community stops getting larger but continues to change and improve, to develop in ways that enhance the quality of life for all its inhabitants. Sustainable development improves the economy without undermining the society or the environment. Sustainable development focuses on improving our lives without continually increasing the amount of energy and material goods that we consume. A sustainable community does not consume resources -- energy and raw materials -- faster than the natural systems they come from can regenerate them. We are currently living unsustainable lives. If we are not careful how we use and dispose of resources, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will have a poorer, more polluted world to live in.

A sustainable community is one where development is not unlimited growth; rather it is the enhancement of what already exists in the community. A sustainable community is not stagnant; sustainability does not mean things never change. On the contrary, it means always looking for ways to improve a community by strengthening the links between its economy, environment and society. A sustainable community is also not a utopia. It is not a community where nothing ever goes wrong. Sustainability does not mean that businesses never fail or that people never go hungry or that pollution never happens. Sustainable means that when problems arise, we look for solutions that take into account all three parts of the community instead of applying a quick fix in one area that causes problems in another.