This summer, Zach Moon worked on the creation of a Genuine Progress Index for Pennsylvania, the first of it’s kind.

A Genuine Progress Index, or GPI for short, is a metric used to measure the health of a nations economy. While it is similar to the more commonly known GDP (Growth Domestic Product), the GDI takes into account environmental and social factors that GDP does not include. It allows us to know whether the environmental impact of the production of goods and services hurts or helps the economy.

The GDI measures sustainability over time, and it doesn’t just add in finished products but also subtracts costs that affect sustainability over time. Such as the costs of commuting, and the cost of air pollution.

With the creation of the GPI for Pennsylvania, Zach says we must now ask ourselves, “Can we scale our index down to measure regional and local sustainability in a quantitative way?”