New, Interactive Tool Allows Users To Visualize The Impact Of Sustainable Investments

Governor O'Malley Releases the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator Policy Maker Calculator

Annapolis, Md. (January 26, 2012) — Governor Martin O’Malley today released the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator Policy Maker calculator, a tool that will allow users to manipulate various economic, environmental and social factors to see what impact these mock scenarios would have on the world around them.

“This tool will help us see how small lifestyle changes can help ensure a more sustainable future for ourselves and for our State,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

The new Calculator allows visitors to alter one, some, or all of the 26 indicators that make up the Genuine Progress Indicator. This means users can create true-to-life or hypothetical situations to see how certain factors compliment or play against one another. Once the factors are adjusted, the results show the user whether the changes positively or negatively affect Maryland’s genuine progress rating, information that can be used to assist in policy decisions.

“This new interactive calculator is very exciting,” said project leader Sean McGuire of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Office for a Sustainable Future. “For the first time, users can play ‘sustainability czar’ and manipulate the indicators to see what would happen if we invest in long-term, sustainable policies and priorities – or the adverse effects if we don’t.”

The Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator incorporates 26 factors in three categories – economic, social and environmental – from the costs of crime to the costs of ozone depletion. These numbers are not presented as the ultimate value to society, but rather as a standard against which to measure yearly changes. This is designed to allow citizens and policymakers to better balance the true costs and benefits of resource decisions.

Governor O’Malley launched the MD-GPI in February 2010. Maryland is the only state to officially adopt the GPI, and Governor O’Malley is the first elected official to advocate for its use, according to New Economics Institute. Developed by experts from several State agencies, the Governor’s Office and the University of Maryland, the GPI is designed to complement – but not replace – traditional economic measurements, such as the Gross State Product.

The Maryland GPI is based on models developed and published by academic institutions as a means for nations, states and local governments to more accurately measure their standard of living by taking into account economic, social, and environmental well-being. To date, several nations and states have calculated their GPIs, but no other state has developed and applied it as a public, web-based, and yearly updated tool as Maryland does today.

The GPI joins a host of innovative interactive tools - such as GreenPrint, BayStat and the Maryland Green Registry - that have been developed for Maryland citizens under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative. The GPI - along with a helpful new video that explains the indicator - is available at the State’s Smart, Green & Growing website, green.maryland.gov/mdgpi/. The Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator Policy Maker calculator can be found at green.maryland.gov/mdgpi/calculator.asp.

McGuire explains the GPI in a recent radio interview on WYPR, the Baltimore affiliate of NPR. To listen, visit http://mdmorn.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/125122/.

   January 26, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office | 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.