knowledge about the trends that shape the future is certain
to have some effect on our behavior. However, achieving the
long-term prosperity toward which we aspire will require specific
types of action. Where do you fit in?
Lifestyle. Indicators can challenge us personally to explore
how the way we live affects the world around us and how our
individual decisions move these indicators in a positive or
negative direction. They can help us better understand how each
individual makes a difference and guide us in taking actions
on our own and as a community.
Newspapers and broadcasters can now be aware of and cover these
long-term trends directly. Perhaps more importantly, the goals
and especially the indicators provide a critical context to
the reporting of news. They tell us the general conditions of
our economy, environment, and society, and offer linkages among
these interdependent systems. Are our economy, environment,
and society getting stronger in meaningful, lasting ways? These
indicators also can help answer the following important question:
What is the significance of any given event to the current and
future well-being of New Jerseyans?
Policy. For political debate to be meaningful, it needs
to be grounded in facts, mutual understanding of long-term goals,
and a common frame of reference. Candidate A accuses Candidate
B of being soft on the environment. Candidate C makes claims
about improving the economy. How can an informed citizenry evaluate
these claims? This report will enable all New Jerseyans to see
clearly how we are doing in the areas important to us.
and Economic Development. These indicators will provide
leading information on the long-term direction of society and
the role that the market and individual companies can play within
it. The indicators can be used for market analysis and to spur
the development of products and services that will advance our
progress toward a more sustainable society. Perhaps most importantly,
they can enable business leaders to see how their decisions
will affect society as a whole, for better or worse.
The indicators help to educate students about sustainability
and promote an understanding of the systems that support us.
The indicators and the associated knowledge gaps can also serve
as a basis for needed research projects, such as devising a
set of institutional indicators. The indicators can provide
the context for applying lessons in every subject to everyday
issues and to where students live.
The Civic Sector. Nonprofit and volunteer groups can link
their work to the broader cause of creating a more sustainable
society, and use the indicators to evaluate their efforts in
a broader context. We all do good work. How can we all work
well together to meet our common goals? Foundations and philanthropic
organizations can use the indicators to help set their funding
priorities as we move toward a common vision.