Global sustainability: Toward measurement

Diana M. Liverman, Mark E. Hanson, Becky J. Brown, Robert W. Merideth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


The widespread interest in the concept of sustainable environment and development has been accompanied by the need to develop useful systems of measurement. We discuss the use of indicators which might be used to assess such conditions. Our characteristics, or criteria, for desirable global sustainability indicators are:sensitivity to change in time sensitivity to change across space or within groups predictive ability availability of reference or threshold values ability to measure reversibility or controllability appropriate data transformation integrative ability relative ease of collection and use We discuss the basis of these characteristics, and examine two categories of indicators (soil erosion and population) and two specific indicators (physical quality of life index and energy imports as a percentage of consumption) for their value as sustainability measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1988


  • Global sustainability
  • Indicators
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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