Comment on YOGL and other indicators

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Paul Sutton

Mar 23, 2022, 1:21:33 PM3/23/22

 Thanks for this seminar. I have found it most enlightening and rewarding.


My brief thoughts on YOGL and indicators in general.


I think YOGL is a good composite indicator for ‘wellbeing’ just as I believe the Ecological Footprint is a good composite indicator for something along the lines of ‘sustainability’.

These kinds of metrics are good for general public communication.

However, an airplane pilot does not want a single indicator to fly her plane.

Good governance cannot manifest from a few crude composite indicators.

We need a suite of indicators at finer spatial resolution for social justice, human wellbeing, environmental quality, ecosystem health, and ecological resilience and health.

The bureau of labor statistics is a BIG institution with lots of money. It is not monitoring everything that is important.

Social and Environmental accounting will have to be a bigger part of our budget and we will need more than a few indicators to engage in good stewardship and governance going forward.

My issue with the SDGs is there are too many that we lack data for and many of them are highly correlated. They are also too often so spatially disaggregated as to limit effective response.

Nonetheless I think the SDGs are more on the right track than wrong.


My colleagues are engaging in developing ‘Context Sensitive Sustainable Development Performance Indicators’ (a mouthful I know)

at high spatial resolution using mostly Earth Observation Data.

An example has recently been published in ‘Sustainable Development’ here:


Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals: A context sensitive indicator for sustainable use of water at the facility level



🖖   ‘Live long and prosper’  🖖


Professor Paul C. Sutton

Department of Geography and the Environment

University of Denver

2050 East Iliff Avenue

Denver, CO  80208-0710

Google Scholar Site

Phone: 303.871.2399

DU Portfolio Site:

ORCID 0000-0001-6972-3256



"Ángel G. Muñoz"

Mar 23, 2022, 1:42:26 PM3/23/22
to Paul Sutton,
Hi Paul and all,

I completely agree. Different metrics measure different things, and we need tailored answers (metrics) depending on the question we want to answer.

Ángel G. Muñoz, PhD (he/they) | Associate Research Scientist
ACToday Country Lead for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)
The Earth Institute — Columbia University.
61 Route 9W, Monell Building. Office 228. Palisades, NY 10964-1000
Phone: +1 (845) 680-4453 


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