Sustainable Lawrence In Action

Sustainability Indicators

People ask: Are We Making Progress?

Yes, but to be certain and precise, we want to conduct measurements. Consequently, we have implemented SUSTAINABILITY INDICATORS, ways to measure actual progress toward sustainability, using the four criteria of "The Natural Step", the sustainability model that frames all our efforts.

We're targeting energy use, water quality, and food habits as three priority areas where we want to focus first. Watch for announcements in coming months. Learn how anyone can help keep track of progress.

Tracking Our Progress in Community Sustainability (TOPICS)

Current priorities highlighted in green.

Natural Step System Conditions


Indicator Categories





1. Eliminate Lawrence Township’s dependence upon fossil fuels, scarce underground metals and minerals.


I-1. Energy


I-1a. Amount of carbon dioxide generated within the township.
I-1b. Number of residences decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels.


IT1a. Decrease total by 25% by 12/31/20.

IT1b. 20% of all residences with maximum 50% reliance on fossil fuels by 12/31/11.



I-2. Food


I-2a. Number of residents using locally produced food at home.
1-2b. Increase in amount of locally-produced food sold to local food outlets.


IT2a.  20% increase in number of Lawrence residents by end of 2010.
IT2b.  10% increase by end of 2010.



I-3. Transportation


I-3 Vehicle miles traveled per household.


IT3a. 20% increase in number of Lawrence households reporting lower number of miles traveled in 2010

2. Eliminate Lawrence Township’s dependence on chemicals and other manufactured/synthetic substances that can accumulate in Nature.


I-4. Recycling


I-4. Percent of generated waster being recycled


IT4a. 10% increase in total municipal recycling tonnage by end of measured period.



I-5. Water Consumption


I-5. Total annual consumption of water in gallons.


IT5a. 5% decrease in total municipal water consumption by end of 2010.



I-6. Surface Water Quality


I-6. Reduce harmful chemical run-off from lawns, landscapes


IT6a.  1/3 of all lawns enrolled in Living Lawns Campaign by 6/30/11.
IT6b. (Water quality measurement).

3. Eliminate policies and activities that harm Earth’s life-sustaining ecosystems or do damage to our area’s natural bioregional character.


I-7. Education


I-7. Shift to sustainability-based curricula at all levels throughout LTPS.





I-8. Land Use


I-8. Township planning and zoning policy changes
I-9. Open space preservation



4. Meet the present and future fundamental human needs of everyone in Lawrence Township fairly and efficiently.


I-9. Inclusion


I-9.  Broadened outreach contact in all neighborhoods and geographic sections of Lawrence.





I-10. Social Capital


I-10. Formation of neighborhood and social groups focused on collaborative sustainable living.