Friday, 22 July 2011

Short Film Friday: The Measure of All Things

"Our generation has fallen in love with the meta, with the virtual, with the hyper, with the derivative product, with the indexical. But you know what? When we're talking about food as an index, we're no longer talking about food."

I'm in the process of compiling sustainability data for a recently completed event. This particular event tracks about 20 different indicators, including carbon emissions, waste, water use, energy consumption and attendee satisfaction, among other things. Occasionally I wonder if it's possible to mix together the data points, sprinkle on some magic dust and bam! A single sustainability score emerges from the cauldron that lets me know in one number how this event is doing from a sustainability perspective. And most importantly, tells us if we're doing less harm, or maybe even getting better.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy. And after watching this thought-provoking talk by Frederick Kaufman I'm wondering: is it possible? Absurd? Essential? Risky? What do you think? Is an ultimate sustainability score desirable? Or does it make dangerously simple the deeper story of our sustainable events?

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