New Scorecard Measures Sustainability Progress in Northwest

Nightly newscasts report on the stock market and the GDP. But do these common measures really tell us how society is faring? Northwest Environment Watch, a Seattle-based think tank, doesn’t think so. Today it released its first annual Cascadia Scorecard, intended as a better assessment of the overall well-being of the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). On four of six measures, the region is improving: protecting and managing forests, containing sprawl, lowering birth rates, and improving life expectancy. On the other two — economic security and energy efficiency — little progress is being made. “There’s an old adage in business that what gets measured gets fixed,” said NEW’s Clark Williams-Derry. The report is intended to help the region build “a way of life that can last, where the human economy is reconciled with the natural systems that support it — where people are doing fine and nature is, too,” he said.