New, Interactive Tool Measures How Citizens Impact The Natural World

Governor O’Malley Releases the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator Calculator

Annapolis, Md. (March 12, 2012) — Maryland citizens can now gauge how they stack-up when it comes to sustainable living, with the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) Citizen Calculator. This interactive tool uses factors from individuals’ economic, environmental and social activities to compute how their lifestyle affects the world around them. This instrument is a more personalized adaptation of the Policy Maker Calculator, which was released this past January.

“This tool provides citizens with the ability to see exactly how our everyday choices affect the world around us,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Maryland is fortunate to have this resource as an aid in creating a more sustainable future for our State.”

The new calculator allows visitors to alter factors that make up the Genuine Progress Indicator to see their impact on Maryland’s overall quality of life measurements. In addition, each indicator links to government programs and initiatives that can help Marylanders make informed decisions.

“With the addition of the Citizen Calculator, residents now have a suite of tools to measure Maryland’s well-being, and more importantly, adjust the figures to see how we can improve – both on the statewide level and as individuals,” said Sean McGuire, project leader of the DNR Office for a Sustainable Future.

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 tool is designed to allow citizens and policymakers to better balance the true costs and benefits of everyday decisions.

Governor O’Malley launched Maryland’s 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 Citizen Calculator comes on the heels of the Policy Maker Calculator released earlier this year. The Policy maker calculator provides users with a more large-scale perspective on Maryland’s well-being and sustainability conditions, allowing users to create true-to-life or hypothetical situations to see how certain factors complement or play against one another. Once the factors are adjusted, the results show the user whether the changes positively or negatively affect the State’s genuine progress rating, information that can be used to assist in policy decisions.

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 is one of a host of innovative interactive tools - such as GreenPrint, BayStat and the Maryland Green Registry - 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/.

   March 12, 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.