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Sustainability, Volume 2, Issue 1 (January 2010), Pages 1-399

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Structured Mental Model Approach for Analyzing Perception of Risks to Rural Livelihood in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 1-29; doi:10.3390/su2010001
Received: 11 November 2009 / Accepted: 21 December 2009 / Published: 24 December 2009
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (670 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents the Structural Mental Model Approach aimed at understanding differences in perception between experts and farmers regarding the various livelihood risks farmers are confronted with. The SMMA combines the Sustainable Livelihood Framework with the Mental Model Approach and consists of three
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This paper presents the Structural Mental Model Approach aimed at understanding differences in perception between experts and farmers regarding the various livelihood risks farmers are confronted with. The SMMA combines the Sustainable Livelihood Framework with the Mental Model Approach and consists of three steps: (i) definition and weighting of different livelihood capitals; (ii) analysis of livelihood dynamics, and (iii) definition of the social capital by means of agent networks. The results provide a sound basis for the design of sustainable policy interventions such as communication and educational programs which consider farmers’ priorities and viewpoints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Policies in Supporting the Diffusion of Solar Photovoltaic Systems: Experiences with Ontario, Canada’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 30-47; doi:10.3390/su2010030
Received: 10 November 2009 / Accepted: 22 December 2009 / Published: 24 December 2009
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (518 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditionally, high initial capital costs and lengthy payback periods have been identified as the most significant barriers that limit the diffusion of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. In November, 2006, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) introduced the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP), offering
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Traditionally, high initial capital costs and lengthy payback periods have been identified as the most significant barriers that limit the diffusion of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. In November, 2006, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) introduced the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP), offering owners of solar PV systems with a generation capacity under 10 MW a 20 year contract to sell electricity back to the grid at a guaranteed rate of CAD $0.42/kWh. While it is the intent of incentive programs such as the RESOP to begin to lower financial barriers in order to increase the uptake of solar PV systems, there is no guarantee that the level of participation will in fact rise. The "on-the-ground" manner in which consumers interact with such an incentive program ultimately determines its effectiveness. This paper analyzes the relationship between the RESOP and solar PV system consumers. Experiences of current RESOP participants are presented, wherein the factors that are either hindering or promoting utilization of the RESOP and the adoption of solar PV systems are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Policy and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Agriculture in the United States: A Critical Examination of a Contested Process
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 48-72; doi:10.3390/su2010048
Received: 30 October 2009 / Accepted: 22 December 2009 / Published: 28 December 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigates the political economy of the development of sustainable agriculture programs and initiatives in the United States. Sustainable agriculture emerged as part of a growing critique of the negative environmental consequences of unquestioned modern farming methods. The USDA/Sustainable Agriculture Research Education
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This paper investigates the political economy of the development of sustainable agriculture programs and initiatives in the United States. Sustainable agriculture emerged as part of a growing critique of the negative environmental consequences of unquestioned modern farming methods. The USDA/Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Program created in 1990 and the National Organics Program created in 2002 are the current government-sponsored programs in support of sustainable agriculture. Recently, private approaches to develop a national sustainable agriculture standard for the U.S. have emerged. The events of the cases developed in the paper reveal that because the concept of sustainability is deeply contested, agribusiness is able to exploit the ambiguity surrounding the definition of sustainable and exercise power in attempts to frame sustainable agriculture in their favor. Most recently, this contested process has focused on whether genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) will be included as part of the national sustainable agriculture standard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)
Open AccessArticle Socioeconomic Obstacles to Establishing a Participatory Plant Breeding Program for Organic Growers in the United States
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 73-91; doi:10.3390/su2010073
Received: 3 November 2009 / Accepted: 24 December 2009 / Published: 29 December 2009
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (183 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Proponents of participatory plant breeding (PPB) contend that it is more conducive to promoting agricultural biodiversity than conventional plant breeding. The argument is that conventional plant breeding tends to produce crops for homogenous environments, while PPB tends to be directed at meeting the
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Proponents of participatory plant breeding (PPB) contend that it is more conducive to promoting agricultural biodiversity than conventional plant breeding. The argument is that conventional plant breeding tends to produce crops for homogenous environments, while PPB tends to be directed at meeting the diverse environmental conditions of the farmers participating in a breeding program. Social scientific research is needed to highlight the complex socioeconomic factors that inhibit efforts to initiate PPB programs. To contribute, we offer a case study of a participatory organic seed production project that involved a university breeding program, commercial organic seed dealers, and organic farmers in the Northeastern United States. We demonstrate that, although PPB may indeed promote agricultural biodiversity, several socioeconomic obstacles must be overcome to establish such a program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle On Prerequisites for the Application of Sustainable Development Indicators in Urban Water Management
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 92-116; doi:10.3390/su2010092
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 29 December 2009 / Published: 5 January 2010
PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Semi-structured interviews with 47 key actors were conducted in Swedish water utilities on why Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) are or are not used. Important influencing aspects identified included organizational inertia, social capital, the national water sector and authorities. Divergent views of SD and
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Semi-structured interviews with 47 key actors were conducted in Swedish water utilities on why Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) are or are not used. Important influencing aspects identified included organizational inertia, social capital, the national water sector and authorities. Divergent views of SD and indicators appear to hinder SDI initiatives. Possible explanations are that: (a) not all actors look at decision-making as the kind of rational process the focus on indicators implies, and (b), Swedish urban water systems are widely regarded as sustainable. The water sector itself and regulation are identified as the strongest potential drivers for increased use of SDIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management)
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Open AccessArticle Eco-Efficiency Assessments as a Tool for Revealing the Environmental Improvement Potential of New Regulations
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 117-126; doi:10.3390/su2010117
Received: 11 November 2009 / Accepted: 17 December 2009 / Published: 5 January 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public regulations can result in improved environmental performance of products. In this paper eco-efficiency is used to assess the most likely outcome of potential new regulations. The paper presents a case study of furniture production in Norway where different scenarios for improving the
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Public regulations can result in improved environmental performance of products. In this paper eco-efficiency is used to assess the most likely outcome of potential new regulations. The paper presents a case study of furniture production in Norway where different scenarios for improving the environmental performance of the products are presented. Four regulatory options for imposing environmental improvements are assessed; (1) an introduction of a tax on emissions, (2) an increase of the tax on landfills, (3) an introduction of a tax on raw material consumption, and (4) introduction of take-back legislation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Eco-nomics: Are the Planet-Unfriendly Features of Capitalism Barriers to Sustainability?
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 127-144; doi:10.3390/su2010127
Received: 1 December 2009 / Accepted: 4 January 2010 / Published: 6 January 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper argues that there are essential features of capitalist modes of production, consumption, and waste dispersal in interaction with the environment and its built-in systemic features that contradict long-term sustainable development. These features include: (a) contradictions in the origin and meaning of
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This paper argues that there are essential features of capitalist modes of production, consumption, and waste dispersal in interaction with the environment and its built-in systemic features that contradict long-term sustainable development. These features include: (a) contradictions in the origin and meaning of sustainability; (b) the central role of the productivity ethic in capitalism and its reproduction in emergent green capitalism; (c) the commodification of nature and the continued promotion of expanding consumption; (d) globalism and the contradictions of continued Western-style development; and (e) the emergence of anthropogenic ecocrises and crises interaction. In light of these barriers to capitalist sustainability, an alternative social narrative is needed, one that embraces values, understandings, and relationships that promote ecological stability and justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: An Impossible Future?)
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Open AccessArticle Overcoming the Barriers to Organic Adoption in the United States: A Look at Pragmatic Conventional Producers in Texas
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 163-188; doi:10.3390/su2010163
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 5 January 2010 / Published: 8 January 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Organics is the one of the fastest growing segments in food sales. Though the amount of certified organic land is increasing, the supply of organic foods lags behind demand in the United States. The reasons for this gap include a lack of government
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Organics is the one of the fastest growing segments in food sales. Though the amount of certified organic land is increasing, the supply of organic foods lags behind demand in the United States. The reasons for this gap include a lack of government support for organics, and the peculiarities of organics as an innovation. In an attempt to close this gap, and increase the environmental sustainability of U.S. agriculture, this paper has two objectives. The first is to document the structural and institutional constraints to organic adoption. This is accomplished through a review of organic programs and policies in the U.S., in particular the National Organic Program. The second objective is to investigate the predictors of interest and the perceived barriers to organic adoption among pragmatic conventional producers in Texas, compared to organic and conventional producers. This is accomplished through a survey of a representative sample of producers in Texas. The results indicate that more than forty percent of producers who currently have conventional operations have at least some interest in organic production (pragmatic conventional producers). There are significant differences among the three groups in their structural and attitudinal characteristics related to organic adoption. For the pragmatic conventional producers, an increase in revenue would be a major facilitator of organic adoption. Their high levels of uncertainty regarding organic production and marketing, and especially organic certification constrain organic adoption. The results also reveal that the institutional setting in the U.S. hindered adoption. The paper concludes that increased institutional support would facilitate organic adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Local Selling Decisions and the Technical Efficiency of Organic Farms
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 189-203; doi:10.3390/su2010189
Received: 16 November 2009 / Accepted: 5 January 2010 / Published: 11 January 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (192 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The primary purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that influence earned income of organic farmers explicitly incorporating farmer decisions to engage in local selling. The stochastic frontier model identifies role model producers who are the most technically efficient in achieving
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The primary purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that influence earned income of organic farmers explicitly incorporating farmer decisions to engage in local selling. The stochastic frontier model identifies role model producers who are the most technically efficient in achieving the maximum output that is feasible with a given set of inputs along with farm and demographic factors that enhance efficiency. Organic earnings equations that control for producer and farm characteristics reveal that organic farmers who are involved in local sales achieve lower earnings. Producer involvement in local sales has little impact on observed technical efficiency on organic farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle On the Feasibility of a Timely Transition to a More Sustainable Energy Future
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 204-214; doi:10.3390/su2010204
Received: 10 November 2009 / Accepted: 5 January 2010 / Published: 11 January 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (372 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper uses the framework of the IPAT equation, as applied to CO2 emission, to decompose the various driving forces in the global energy use. Data from recent history are superimposed on projections of SRES IPCC scenarios to determine if enough sustainable
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The paper uses the framework of the IPAT equation, as applied to CO2 emission, to decompose the various driving forces in the global energy use. Data from recent history are superimposed on projections of SRES IPCC scenarios to determine if enough sustainable capacity can be built to prevent irreversible ecological deterioration. The conclusion from the analysis is that, in agreement with the IPCC 4th report, until about 2030 there are no large differences between a sustainable scenario and the one that resembles “business as usual”. The sharp divergence that follows stems from different estimates in population growth and in the percentage of use of fossil fuels in the total energy mix. Decomposition of alternative energy options indicate that the rate of increase of alternatives such as hydroelectric and nuclear start with a relatively high base but a growth rate too short for major contribution to a timely replacement of fossil fuels while wind and solar starts from a much lower base but rate of growth, if maintained, that can satisfy a timely replacement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Community Vitality: The Role of Community-Level Resilience Adaptation and Innovation in Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 215-231; doi:10.3390/su2010215
Received: 12 November 2009 / Accepted: 7 January 2010 / Published: 11 January 2010
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Community level action towards sustainable development has emerged as a key scale of intervention in the effort to address our many serious environmental issues. This is hindered by the large-scale destruction of both urban neighbourhoods and rural villages in the second half of
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Community level action towards sustainable development has emerged as a key scale of intervention in the effort to address our many serious environmental issues. This is hindered by the large-scale destruction of both urban neighbourhoods and rural villages in the second half of the twentieth century. Communities, whether they are small or large, hubs of experimentation or loci of traditional techniques and methods, can be said to have a level of community vitality that acts as a site of resilience, adaptation and innovation in the face of environmental challenges. This paper outlines how community vitality acts as a cornerstone of sustainable development and suggests some courses for future research. A meta-case analysis of thirty-five Canadian communities reveals the characteristics of community vitality emerging from sustainable development experiments and its relationship to resilience, applied specifically to community development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Barriers and Opportunities for Sustainable Food Systems in Northeastern Kansas
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 232-251; doi:10.3390/su2010232
Received: 19 November 2009 / Accepted: 6 January 2010 / Published: 12 January 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (391 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Survey responses of producers and institutional buyers in northeastern Kansas (United States) were analyzed to understand barriers and opportunities for sustainable food systems in the region where their emergence has been limited. Producers and buyers identified barriers previously noted regarding mismatches of available
[...] Read more.
Survey responses of producers and institutional buyers in northeastern Kansas (United States) were analyzed to understand barriers and opportunities for sustainable food systems in the region where their emergence has been limited. Producers and buyers identified barriers previously noted regarding mismatches of available quantities and prices. Producers’ enthusiasm to supply locally exceeded buyers’ interest to source locally. Transportation was identified as one of the major concerns by producers, and their responses to choice tasks revealed producers’ preferences to sell locally while pricing their products to secure sales revenue and to cover their logistics expenses at least partially. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Rainwater Storage Gutters for Houses
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 266-279; doi:10.3390/su2010266
Received: 27 November 2009 / Accepted: 5 January 2010 / Published: 13 January 2010
PDF Full-text (441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A history of the implementation of a system of water storage roof gutters illustrates the difficulties which may be encountered in delivering more sustainable construction systems. Utilizing some rainwater at the site where it falls has considerable conservation benefit but it requires builders,
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A history of the implementation of a system of water storage roof gutters illustrates the difficulties which may be encountered in delivering more sustainable construction systems. Utilizing some rainwater at the site where it falls has considerable conservation benefit but it requires builders, roofers and plumbers to vary some of their standard practices. The observed change delivery process involves incorporation of trade knowledge, attention to detail, flexibility and the willingness of all parties including local building control authorities to try new options. Lessons learned have implications for the introduction of many kinds of environmentally driven improvements to domestic construction. Full article
Open AccessArticle Is Globalisation Sustainable?
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 280-293; doi:10.3390/su2010280
Received: 23 November 2009 / Accepted: 8 January 2010 / Published: 14 January 2010
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (253 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is clear that globalisation is something more than a purely economic phenomenon manifesting itself on a global scale. Among the visible manifestations of globalisation are the greater international movement of goods and services, financial capital, information and people. In addition, there are
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It is clear that globalisation is something more than a purely economic phenomenon manifesting itself on a global scale. Among the visible manifestations of globalisation are the greater international movement of goods and services, financial capital, information and people. In addition, there are technological developments, more international cultural exchanges, facilitated by the freer trade of more differentiated products as well as by tourism and immigration, changes in the political landscape and ecological consequences. In this paper, we link the Maastricht Globalisation Index with Sustainability Indices to analyse if more globalised countries are doing better in terms of sustainable development and its dimensions. The results seem to suggest that the process of globalisation may render world development more sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Developing a Sustainability Assessment Model: The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-Use, Environment and Transport Model
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 321-340; doi:10.3390/su2010321
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 11 January 2010 / Published: 18 January 2010
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (823 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Measuring the comparative sustainability levels of cities, regions, institutions and projects is an essential procedure in creating sustainable urban futures. This paper introduces a new urban sustainability assessment model: “The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-use, Environment and Transport Model (SILENT)”. The SILENT Model is an
[...] Read more.
Measuring the comparative sustainability levels of cities, regions, institutions and projects is an essential procedure in creating sustainable urban futures. This paper introduces a new urban sustainability assessment model: “The Sustainable Infrastructure, Land-use, Environment and Transport Model (SILENT)”. The SILENT Model is an advanced geographic information system and indicator-based comparative urban sustainability indexing model. The model aims to assist planners and policy makers in their daily tasks in sustainable urban planning and development by providing an integrated sustainability assessment framework. The paper gives an overview of the conceptual framework and components of the model and discusses the theoretical constructs, methodological procedures, and future development of this promising urban sustainability assessment model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle A Fair Accord: Cradle to Cradle as a Design Theory Measured against John Rawls’ Theory of Justice and Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 371-382; doi:10.3390/su2010371
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 19 January 2010 / Published: 25 January 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This essay explores a specific aspect of the role of attitude in design. The design of the built environment requires us constantly to make aesthetic and ethical judgments; every design decision has to be satisfactorily justified. Surprisingly perhaps, this requires a clear concept
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This essay explores a specific aspect of the role of attitude in design. The design of the built environment requires us constantly to make aesthetic and ethical judgments; every design decision has to be satisfactorily justified. Surprisingly perhaps, this requires a clear concept of justice against which a design can be grounded. Aesthetic concerns about quality spill into ethical concerns about the rightness of a decision and vice versa. This essay discusses a simple but crucial question: if a designer is aware of Cradle to Cradle as a theory of design but fails to act according to its principles, is it then possible to justify the resultant design? In other words, is Cradle to Cradle as a design theory that most rare of transcendental notions: a Categorical Imperative? Why might it be useful to describe it as such? Does the fact that we do not yet know how to redesign most products and processes according to its principles disqualify the theory? Does a dismissal of the Cradle to Cradle theory inevitably lead to an unfair society? These are serious questions, with interesting answers and far reaching implications for the way we think about design. First we shall explain what Cradle to Cradle means and how it distinguishes itself from other theories of sustainability. Then we shall put that explanation in the context of two ethical theories, first of all John Rawls’ Theory of Justice and second Immanuel Kant’s concept of the Categorical Imperative. After that we shall note a few problems concerning Cradle to Cradle design theory and put those into perspective. This will lead to an important attitudinal conclusion, namely that Cradle to Cradle can legitimately be described as one of those extremely rare cases which deserves universal applicability. We will offer a two-pronged strategy as to how to proceed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Participation and Sustainable Management of Coastal Lagoon Ecosystems: The Case of the Fosu Lagoon in Ghana
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 383-399; doi:10.3390/su2010383
Received: 11 December 2009 / Accepted: 19 January 2010 / Published: 25 January 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (361 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Participation as a tool has been applied as a social learning process and communication platform to create awareness among stakeholders in the context of resource utilisation. The application of participatory processes to aquatic ecosystem management is attracting a growing body of literature. However,
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Participation as a tool has been applied as a social learning process and communication platform to create awareness among stakeholders in the context of resource utilisation. The application of participatory processes to aquatic ecosystem management is attracting a growing body of literature. However, the application of participation as a tool for sustainable management of coastal lagoon ecosystems is recent. This paper examines the context and the extent of participation of stakeholders in the management of the Fosu lagoon in Ghana. Six hundred individuals from twenty seven stakeholder groups were randomly selected for study. Both closed and open-ended questions were used in face-to-face interviews with stakeholders. The findings indicate that the stakeholder groups were not involved in decision-making regarding the conservation of the lagoon irrespective of their expertise in planning and/or their interest in lagoon resource utilisation. This situation has created apathy among some of the stakeholders who feel neglected in the decision-making process. There is scope for broadening the base of interest groups in decision-making processes regarding the lagoon and improving stakeholder participation in the management of the lagoon to ensure the sustainability of the management process. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Comparative Studies on Vehicle Related Policies for Air Pollution Reduction in Ten Asian Countries
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 145-162; doi:10.3390/su2010145
Received: 4 November 2009 / Accepted: 28 December 2009 / Published: 7 January 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (445 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Asian countries are facing major air pollution problems due to rapid economic growth, urbanization and motorization. Mortality and respiratory diseases caused by air pollution are believed to be endemic in major cities of these countries. Regulations and standards are the first requirement for
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Asian countries are facing major air pollution problems due to rapid economic growth, urbanization and motorization. Mortality and respiratory diseases caused by air pollution are believed to be endemic in major cities of these countries. Regulations and standards are the first requirement for reducing emissions from both fixed and mobile sources. This paper emphasizes monitoring problems such as vehicle registration systems, inspection and maintenance (I/M) systems and fuel quality monitoring systems for vehicles in use. Monitoring problems in developing countries share similar characteristics such as a weakness in government initiatives and inadequate operation of government agencies, which results from a lack of human resources and availability of adequate facilities. Finally, this paper proposes a method to assure air quality improvements under the different shares of emission regulations in these Asian countries and introduces an example of an evaluation method based on a policy survey to improve air quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Pollution)
Open AccessReview A Systems Dynamics Approach to Explore Traffic Congestion and Air Pollution Link in the City of Accra, Ghana
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 252-265; doi:10.3390/su2010252
Received: 4 December 2009 / Accepted: 7 January 2010 / Published: 13 January 2010
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Economic development and urbanization poses myriad challenges to transportation systems in relation to negative externalities such as traffic congestion and environmental health risks. Accra, the capital of Ghana, faces mounting urban planning problems, for example traffic congestion, air pollution, traffic safety, and land
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Economic development and urbanization poses myriad challenges to transportation systems in relation to negative externalities such as traffic congestion and environmental health risks. Accra, the capital of Ghana, faces mounting urban planning problems, for example traffic congestion, air pollution, traffic safety, and land use planning, among others. The paper aims to provide a system dynamics perspective of the problems. Most of the drivers and cause-effect relationships of traffic congestion and its attendant air pollution are investigated and analyzed using causal loop diagrams. The paper further suggests mechanisms by which the negative externalities associated with road transport in the city of Accra can be addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Pollution)
Open AccessReview Black Carbon’s Properties and Role in the Environment: A Comprehensive Review
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 294-320; doi:10.3390/su2010294
Received: 13 November 2009 / Accepted: 7 January 2010 / Published: 15 January 2010
Cited by 58 | PDF Full-text (396 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Produced from incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuel in the absence of oxygen, black carbon (BC) is the collective term for a range of carbonaceous substances encompassing partly charred plant residues to highly graphitized soot. Depending on its form, condition of origin
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Produced from incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuel in the absence of oxygen, black carbon (BC) is the collective term for a range of carbonaceous substances encompassing partly charred plant residues to highly graphitized soot. Depending on its form, condition of origin and storage (from the atmosphere to the geosphere), and surrounding environmental conditions, BC can influence the environment at local, regional and global scales in different ways. In this paper, we review and synthesize recent findings and discussions on the nature of these different forms of BC and their impacts, particularly in relation to pollution and climate change. We start by describing the different types of BCs and their mechanisms of formation. To elucidate their pollutant sorption properties, we present some models involving polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and organic carbon. Subsequently, we discuss the stability of BC in the environment, summarizing the results of studies that showed a lack of chemical degradation of BC in soil and those that exposed BC to severe oxidative reactions to degrade it. After a brief overview of BC extraction and measurement methods and BC use for source attribution studies, we reflect upon its significance in the environment, first by going over a theory that it could represent parts of what is called the ‘missing sink’ of carbon in global carbon cycle models. Elaborating upon the relationship of BC with polycyclic hydrocarbons, we show its significance for the sorption and transport of pollutants. A description of pulmonary-respiratory health effects of soot BC inhalation is followed by a discussion on its impact on climate and climate change. We explain how soot BC acts as a global warming agent through light (and heat) absorption and how it reduces the snow’s albedo and promotes its uncharacteristic thawing. On a more positive note, we conclude this review by illustrating recent observations and simulations of how pyrolytic processes can stabilize plant carbon stocks in the form of biochar BC that can sequester carbon and can help mitigate climate change, in addition to improving soil fertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Pollution)
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Open AccessReview Sustainable Sanitation—A Cost-Effective Tool to Improve Plant Yields and the Environment
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 341-353; doi:10.3390/su2010341
Received: 7 December 2009 / Accepted: 6 January 2010 / Published: 20 January 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (66 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human urine and faeces are products formed every day in every human society. The volume and fertilisation value of urine is higher than that of faeces. This paper reviews data that urine has been used successfully as a fertiliser for cereals and some
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Human urine and faeces are products formed every day in every human society. The volume and fertilisation value of urine is higher than that of faeces. This paper reviews data that urine has been used successfully as a fertiliser for cereals and some vegetables. According to the literature, urine fertilised plants may have produced higher, similar or slightly lower yields than mineral fertilized plants but they invariably resulted in higher yields than non-fertilised plants. There have been no microbiological risks associated with any products. The taste and chemical quality of the products are similar to plants treated with mineral fertilisers. Separating toilets, where urine and faeces are separated already in the toilet, could be beneficial not only in poor but also in the industrialized countries. A separating toilet could be installed also in old buildings and it could allow individuals to live in coastal areas, mountainous or other sensitive environments. In poor areas, urine fertilisation could increase food production also in home plots and reduce hunger. It could also combat water contamination and help to reduce diseases caused by enteric micro-organisms. If urine were to be viewed as a resource rather than a waste product, more families could be encouraged to install low-cost toilets which would especially improve the wellbeing of women. Full article
Open AccessReview Toward Environmentally Sustainable Construction Processes: The U.S. and Canada’s Perspective on Energy Consumption and GHG/CAP Emissions
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 354-370; doi:10.3390/su2010354
Received: 3 December 2009 / Accepted: 18 January 2010 / Published: 21 January 2010
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the building and construction sector, most efforts related to sustainable development have concentrated on the environmental performance of the operation of buildings and infrastructure. However, several studies have called for the need to mitigate the considerable environmental impacts, especially air pollutant emissions
[...] Read more.
In the building and construction sector, most efforts related to sustainable development have concentrated on the environmental performance of the operation of buildings and infrastructure. However, several studies have called for the need to mitigate the considerable environmental impacts, especially air pollutant emissions and energy consumption, generated by construction processes. To provide a point of reference for initiating the development of environmentally sustainable construction processes, this article identifies energy consumption and air emissions resulting from construction activities and examines previous approaches utilized to assess such environmental impact. This research also identifies the opportunities and challenges to mitigate such environmental impact from construction processes, based on the investigation of current technology policies, regulations, incentives, and guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability and the Built Environment)

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