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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ecological Accounts: Prerequisite to Planning for Sustainability

  • Author(s): Meier, Richard L
  • et al.

This article describes a three-part model for comprehensive ecological planning for urban communities. It reviews the history of accounting, from the measurement of material wealth to the measurement of complex physical systems characterized by multiple energy flows. Models of sustain­ able ecosystems, Meier argues, must account for the flow of information and the generation (or loss) of new knowl­ edge within and between communities, which challenges the conservative principles of monetary and energy-based forms of accounting. Sustainable outcomes, Meier argues, should also be measured in terms of increasing numbers of voluntary transactions, qualitative redistribution of human time and attention, and overall improvements in the qual­ity of life.

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