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Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 10 (October 2012), Pages 2366-2784

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Open AccessArticle Is Sustainablity Possible in Protected Areas in Mexico? Deer as an Example of a Renewable Resource
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2366-2376; doi:10.3390/su4102366
Received: 24 July 2012 / Revised: 12 September 2012 / Accepted: 17 September 2012 / Published: 27 September 2012
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Abstract
In 2000, Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP) was created to encourage the protection, management and restoration of natural and cultural resources and their conservation. Protected areas were recently increased by more than 3 million hectares, for a current total of more
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In 2000, Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP) was created to encourage the protection, management and restoration of natural and cultural resources and their conservation. Protected areas were recently increased by more than 3 million hectares, for a current total of more than 25 million hectares, corresponding to 174 protected areas that cover 12.90% of the country’s surface area. The information obtained by research helps us understand both biodiversity and ecological processes, as well as the social and economic phenomena that influence the use of ecosystems. In Mexico there are four species of deer: white-tailed deer, mule deer, red brocket and brown brocket. These ungulates have been an important part of the diet of indigenous people and rural communities, and represent an important resource for sport and trophy hunting. We found the best deer populations in protected areas; these can therefore maintain the gene pool and serve as source populations for other areas. These populations are also useful from a research perspective. People living in some protected areas continue to use natural resources such as deer, and also receive economic inputs to develop ecotourism programs, and support from the government for the environmental services derived from conserving biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development in Natural Protected Areas)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Features of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2377-2398; doi:10.3390/su4102377
Received: 31 May 2012 / Revised: 24 August 2012 / Accepted: 12 September 2012 / Published: 27 September 2012
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Abstract
The nuclear fuel cycle is the series of stages that nuclear fuel materials go through in a cradle to grave framework. The Once Through Cycle (OTC) is the current fuel cycle implemented in the United States; in which an appropriate form of the
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The nuclear fuel cycle is the series of stages that nuclear fuel materials go through in a cradle to grave framework. The Once Through Cycle (OTC) is the current fuel cycle implemented in the United States; in which an appropriate form of the fuel is irradiated through a nuclear reactor only once before it is disposed of as waste. The discharged fuel contains materials that can be suitable for use as fuel. Thus, different types of fuel recycling technologies may be introduced in order to more fully utilize the energy potential of the fuel, or reduce the environmental impacts and proliferation concerns about the discarded fuel materials. Nuclear fuel cycle systems analysis is applied in this paper to attain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of fuel cycle alternatives. Through the use of the nuclear fuel cycle analysis code CAFCA (Code for Advanced Fuel Cycle Analysis), the impact of a number of recycling technologies and the associated fuel cycle options is explored in the context of the U.S. energy scenario over 100 years. Particular focus is given to the quantification of Uranium utilization, the amount of Transuranic Material (TRU) generated and the economics of the different options compared to the base-line case, the OTC option. It is concluded that LWRs and the OTC are likely to dominate the nuclear energy supply system for the period considered due to limitations on availability of TRU to initiate recycling technologies. While the introduction of U-235 initiated fast reactors can accelerate their penetration of the nuclear energy system, their higher capital cost may lead to continued preference for the LWR-OTC cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Nuclear Energy)
Open AccessArticle Recent Research of Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor from a Sustainability Viewpoint
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2399-2418; doi:10.3390/su4102399
Received: 3 July 2012 / Revised: 20 August 2012 / Accepted: 24 August 2012 / Published: 27 September 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The most important target of the concept “sustainability” is to achieve fairness between generations. Its expanding interpolation leads to achieve fairness within a generation. Thus, it is necessary to discuss the role of nuclear power from the viewpoint of this definition. The history
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The most important target of the concept “sustainability” is to achieve fairness between generations. Its expanding interpolation leads to achieve fairness within a generation. Thus, it is necessary to discuss the role of nuclear power from the viewpoint of this definition. The history of nuclear power has been the control of the nuclear fission reaction. Once this is obtained, then the economy of the system is required. On the other hand, it is also necessary to consider the internalization of the external diseconomy to avoid damage to human society caused by the economic activity itself, due to its limited capacity. An extreme example is waste. Thus, reducing radioactive waste resulting from nuclear power is essential. Nuclear non-proliferation must be guaranteed. Moreover, the FUKUSHIMA accident revealed that it is still not enough that human beings control nuclear reaction. Further, the most essential issue for sustaining use of one technology is human resources in manufacturing, operation, policy-making and education. Nuclear power will be able to satisfy the requirements of sustainability only when these subjects are addressed. The author will review recent activities of a thorium molten-salt reactor (MSR) as a cornerstone for a sustainable society and describe its objectives and forecasts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Nuclear Energy)
Open AccessArticle Sedimentation Rate and 210Pb Sediment Dating at Apipucos Reservoir, Recife, Brazil
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2419-2429; doi:10.3390/su4102419
Received: 20 August 2012 / Revised: 10 September 2012 / Accepted: 11 September 2012 / Published: 27 September 2012
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Abstract
The Apipucos Reservoir is located in Pernambuco-Brazil. Several districts of the metropolitan area use this reservoir to dispose of rubbish, waste and sewage. Dating sediments uses the 210Pb from the atmosphere. 210Pb is a daughter of the 222Rn, which emanates
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The Apipucos Reservoir is located in Pernambuco-Brazil. Several districts of the metropolitan area use this reservoir to dispose of rubbish, waste and sewage. Dating sediments uses the 210Pb from the atmosphere. 210Pb is a daughter of the 222Rn, which emanates from the soil but is different from that contained in the sediment, which is in balance with the 226Ra. The chosen model for dating sediments depends on certain conditions: in environments where the amount of sediment can vary, the Constant Rate of Supply (CRS) model is adopted. In environments where the sediments can be considered to be constant, a Constant Initial Concentration (CIC) model is applied. A 70 cm long and 5 cm internal-diameter wide core was used for sediment sampling. Samples were dried at 105 °C, and about 5 g dry material was dissolved with acids. The 210Pb and 226Ra content was determined by their radioactive descendants’ concentrations. For the second sampling point, both models could be used. The results showed an increase in sedimentation rate over the last 50–60 years. We could conclude that the top sediment interval had been there 30 years ago. We could decide that the CRS was the best applicable model. Full article
Open AccessArticle Tragedy of the Commons, Business Growth and the Fundamental Sustainability Problem
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2443-2471; doi:10.3390/su4102443
Received: 6 August 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 20 September 2012 / Published: 28 September 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (440 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reviews the major issues involved in Hardin’s [1] tragedy of the commons, written over 44 years ago, and examines whether these issues are still relevant today. We assert that this model still provides important insight to aid in the solution to
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This paper reviews the major issues involved in Hardin’s [1] tragedy of the commons, written over 44 years ago, and examines whether these issues are still relevant today. We assert that this model still provides important insight to aid in the solution to our global problems. In particular, we maintain that the underlying issues of growth against limits and bounded rationality are still not adequately recognized and addressed; this underlies many of the reasons for our unsustainable world. Examples from fisheries management are used to examine potential solutions and reveal weaknesses in current approaches. We show how our current, restricted mental models promote social injustice and blind us to developing sustainable solutions. Both the neo-liberal economic view of business that directly seeks growth and the new sustainable development view that indirectly supports growth are leading our global economy in the wrong direction and away from prosperity and sustainability. Current thinking has not realized Hardin’s message that sustainability is of the class of no technology solution problems. We conclude with recommendations to radically advance a new world view and business paradigm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tragedy or Transcendence: Reflections on 'The Tragedy of the Commons')
Open AccessArticle Self-Sustaining Thorium Boiling Water Reactors
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2472-2497; doi:10.3390/su4102472
Received: 14 August 2012 / Revised: 14 September 2012 / Accepted: 17 September 2012 / Published: 1 October 2012
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (583 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A thorium-fueled water-cooled reactor core design approach that features a radially uniform composition of fuel rods in stationary fuel assembly and is fuel-self-sustaining is described. This core design concept is similar to the Reduced moderation Boiling Water Reactor (RBWR) proposed by Hitachi to
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A thorium-fueled water-cooled reactor core design approach that features a radially uniform composition of fuel rods in stationary fuel assembly and is fuel-self-sustaining is described. This core design concept is similar to the Reduced moderation Boiling Water Reactor (RBWR) proposed by Hitachi to fit within an ABWR pressure vessel, with the following exceptions: use of thorium instead of depleted uranium for the fertile fuel; elimination of the internal blanket; and elimination of absorbers from the axial reflectors, while increasing the length of the fissile zone. The preliminary analysis indicates that it is feasible to design such cores to be fuel-self-sustaining and to have a comfortably low peak linear heat generation rate when operating at the nominal ABWR power level of nearly 4000 MWth. However, the void reactivity feedback tends to be too negative, making it difficult to have sufficient shutdown reactivity margin at cold zero power condition. An addition of a small amount of plutonium from LWR used nuclear fuel was found effective in reducing the magnitude of the negative void reactivity effect and enables attaining adequate shutdown reactivity margin; it also flattens the axial power distribution. The resulting design concept offers an efficient incineration of the LWR generated plutonium in addition to effective utilization of thorium. Additional R&D is required in order to arrive at a reliable practical and safe design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Nuclear Energy)
Open AccessArticle Globalization, Latin American Migration and Catalan: Closing the Ring
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2498-2512; doi:10.3390/su4102498
Received: 16 July 2012 / Revised: 23 August 2012 / Accepted: 31 August 2012 / Published: 1 October 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article examines the effects of globalization dynamics on the use of Catalan among Latin American migrants living in Catalonia. The globalization process pushes towards an increasing mobility of workers and companies. Barcelona is one of the cities where this dynamic has been
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This article examines the effects of globalization dynamics on the use of Catalan among Latin American migrants living in Catalonia. The globalization process pushes towards an increasing mobility of workers and companies. Barcelona is one of the cities where this dynamic has been more evident in the last two decades, with big areas of the city being reshaped in order to suit the needs of global capital. At the same time, Catalonia has been receiving vast numbers of Latin American migrants who already speak Spanish, one of the official languages of the region, but not the other, Catalan. This article will examine the conflicting pressures experienced by those migrants both in the labor market and in their communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Human Diversity: Languages, Cultures, Epistemologies)
Open AccessArticle Nutrient Management in Support of Environmental and Agricultural Sustainability
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2513-2524; doi:10.3390/su4102513
Received: 9 July 2012 / Revised: 12 September 2012 / Accepted: 24 September 2012 / Published: 2 October 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Given that we must farm land in order to eat, the total environmental burden imposed by farming a crop, such as winter wheat in the UK, appears to be close to the minimum given current production techniques. The value of the services other
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Given that we must farm land in order to eat, the total environmental burden imposed by farming a crop, such as winter wheat in the UK, appears to be close to the minimum given current production techniques. The value of the services other than food production, such as flood water buffering, pollination, carbon storage and so on, that land can provide is relatively large compared with the value in reducing environmental burdens from pesticide use, nutrient pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that might arise by farming less intensively. More land will need to be brought into cultivation in order to provide the same amount of food if the intensity of farming is reduced and the resultant loss of ecosystem services (ES) outweighs the reduction in other burdens. Nevertheless, losses of nutrients, especially nitrogen (N), from agriculture are a serious concern and the current cost of the environmental footprint of agriculture is significant compared with the value of the food it produces. This article examines nutrient burdens and analyses the means by which the total environmental burden might be reduced relative to productivity. These include increasing the efficiency of farming, removing constraints to yield, and establishing multiple uses for land at the same time as farming. It concludes that agronomic measures which improve nutrient capture and which obtain more yield per unit area are valuable means to avoid degradation of environmental quality because both nutrient pollution and land consumption can be avoided. Full article
Open AccessArticle Incremental Change, Transition or Transformation? Optimising Change Pathways for Climate Adaptation in Spatial Planning
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2525-2549; doi:10.3390/su4102525
Received: 23 July 2012 / Revised: 17 September 2012 / Accepted: 24 September 2012 / Published: 3 October 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (5161 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to incorporate climate adaptation in spatial planning change is required, because climate change impacts the way we live. This implies that spatial planning, as the arranger of the spatial organisation and layout needs to be able to support this change. Current
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In order to incorporate climate adaptation in spatial planning change is required, because climate change impacts the way we live. This implies that spatial planning, as the arranger of the spatial organisation and layout needs to be able to support this change. Current spatial planning is not yet well equipped to play this role. In this research article three possible routes to navigate change are explored. Incremental change is seen as a slow process, which modifies the landscape only slightly. Transition is seen as a fluent change towards a new future, which is an improved version of the existing; and transformation is seen as a change towards a future that is fundamentally different from the existing. The three pathways are compared and it is concluded that transformational change offers the best perspective in dealing with uncertain, unexpected and unprecedented futures, such as developing in times of climate change. Therefore, transformation is theoretically further elaborated and it is found that a transformational change to a new system already starts at a time when the existing system still fully operates. The change to a new system (called B in this article) therefore already started and the predecessors of B already existed. These ‘B-minuses’ of the new system can be found through network analysis, where the most intense and connective nodes are the most likely ‘B-minuses’. Alternatively B-minuses can be created through locating the areas where key-nodes and existing infrastructure can be related to existing urban functions. As illustrated in the case-study design, these principles are able to guide the design of a climate proof landscape. Full article
Open AccessArticle How to Overcome the Slow Death of Intercropping in the North China Plain
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2550-2565; doi:10.3390/su4102550
Received: 30 August 2012 / Revised: 21 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 3 October 2012
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (2383 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Intercropping has a strong potential to counteract the severe degradation of arable land in the North China Plain (NCP). However, a rapid decline of intercropping can be observed in the last decades. The present paper investigates the reason for this development and suggests
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Intercropping has a strong potential to counteract the severe degradation of arable land in the North China Plain (NCP). However, a rapid decline of intercropping can be observed in the last decades. The present paper investigates the reason for this development and suggests solutions on how to adjust intercropping systems to fit modern agriculture. Firstly, the developments of socioeconomic conditions for farming were assessed, analyzing the statistical yearbooks of the seven provinces of the North China Plain. Secondly, a survey was conducted in the study region to understand the current state and future of intercropping systems. The investigations revealed that, due to limited off-farm income possibilities in the past, intercropping has been a viable solution to intensively use the limited land resources per farm household. However, a shift of rural laborers into other sectors has recently been observed. Thus, decreasing importance of income from agriculture and increasing labor costs are heralding the slow death of labor-intensive intercropping systems. Two possible solutions are discussed in the paper. Either the traditional row-intercropping systems can be transformed into strip-intercropping systems that can be mechanized using existing machinery; or, new machinery has to be developed that enables the mechanization of the traditional row-intercropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Amazon Rainforest Deforestation Daily Detection Tool Using Artificial Neural Networks and Satellite Images
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2566-2573; doi:10.3390/su4102566
Received: 7 August 2012 / Revised: 9 September 2012 / Accepted: 12 September 2012 / Published: 4 October 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (316 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main purpose of this work was the development of a tool to detect daily deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, using satellite images from the MODIS/TERRA [1] sensor and Artificial Neural Networks. The developed tool provides the parameterization of the configuration for the
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The main purpose of this work was the development of a tool to detect daily deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, using satellite images from the MODIS/TERRA [1] sensor and Artificial Neural Networks. The developed tool provides the parameterization of the configuration for the neural network training to enable us to find the best neural architecture to address the problem. The tool makes use of confusion matrixes to determine the degree of success of the network. Part of the municipality of Porto Velho, in Rondônia state, is located inside the tile H11V09 of the MODIS/TERRA sensor, which was used as the study area. A spectrum-temporal analysis of this area was made on 57 images from 20 of May to 15 of July 2003 using the trained neural network. This analysis allowed us to verify the quality of the implemented neural network classification as well as helping our understanding of the dynamics of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The great potential of neural networks for image classification was perceived with this work. However, the generation of consistent alarms, in other words, detecting predatory actions at the beginning; instead of firing false alarms is a complex task that has not yet been solved. Therefore, the major contribution of this paper is to provide a theoretical basis and practical use of neural networks and satellite images to combat illegal deforestation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis on Energy Consumption and Indoor Environment in Kunming, China
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2574-2585; doi:10.3390/su4102574
Received: 29 August 2012 / Revised: 28 September 2012 / Accepted: 1 October 2012 / Published: 8 October 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (435 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purposes of this study are to investigate and analyze the actual conditions of the urban residential energy consumption, and hence to ascertain what will be the important factors that influence the annual energy consumption in Kunming, which has a mild climate. The
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The purposes of this study are to investigate and analyze the actual conditions of the urban residential energy consumption, and hence to ascertain what will be the important factors that influence the annual energy consumption in Kunming, which has a mild climate. The questionnaire surveys reveal building characteristics, housing appliances, household characteristics, indoor thermal environment and aspects of life style, during winter and summer seasons. The questionnaire analyses show that only 5% of the investigated households have air conditioning, and 12% have heating appliances. Most households use solar energy as a water heater energy source because the sunshine hours in Kunming are long. The energy consumption analyses show that the average annual energy consumption of households in Kunming reached 12.2 GJ, and cooking accounted for 5.3 GJ, which is the largest part. Most of the time in summer, the outdoor temperature is lower than living room and bedroom temperatures; thus, natural ventilation is a useful cooling method for households in Kunming. The absolute humidity in summer is about 11 g/kg, while in winter it is about 5 g/kg. The influence factor analyses show that building construction year, water heater type and annual income are important influential factors on annual energy consumption. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Collection Schemes of Municipal Solid Waste Metallic Fraction: The Impacts on Global Warming Potential for the Case of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2586-2610; doi:10.3390/su4102586
Received: 16 July 2012 / Revised: 6 September 2012 / Accepted: 29 September 2012 / Published: 12 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this research article the sustainability of different practices to collect the metal fraction of household waste in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland is examined. The study is carried out by calculating and comparing the greenhouse gas reduction potential of optional practices for
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In this research article the sustainability of different practices to collect the metal fraction of household waste in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland is examined. The study is carried out by calculating and comparing the greenhouse gas reduction potential of optional practices for collecting the metal fraction of household waste in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland. In order to locate the greenhouse gas reduction potential of the separate collection of the metallic fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW) collected from residential sources, a comparative carbon footprint analysis using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on six different waste management scenarios is carried out. The modeled system consisted of a waste collection system, transportation, and different waste management alternatives, including on-site separation, separation at the waste management facility as well as metallurgical recovery of separated scrap. The results show that, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, separate collection and recycling of the metallic fraction of solid MSW at residential properties is the preferable option compared to a scenario with no source sorting and incineration of everything. According to this research scenario where the metal fraction of solid household waste was not source-separated or collected separately have clearly higher greenhouse gas emissions compared to all the other scenarios with separate collection for metals. In addition, metal recycling by regional collection points has considerably lower greenhouse gas emission potential than metal recycling by collection directly from residential properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Waste Management)
Open AccessArticle An Exergy-Based Model for Population Dynamics: Adaptation, Mutualism, Commensalism and Selective Extinction
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2611-2629; doi:10.3390/su4102611
Received: 3 August 2012 / Revised: 23 September 2012 / Accepted: 2 October 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (525 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Following the critical analysis of the concept of “sustainability”, developed on the basis of exergy considerations in previous works, an analysis of possible species “behavior” is presented and discussed in this paper. Once more, we make use of one single axiom: that resource consumption
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Following the critical analysis of the concept of “sustainability”, developed on the basis of exergy considerations in previous works, an analysis of possible species “behavior” is presented and discussed in this paper. Once more, we make use of one single axiom: that resource consumption (material and immaterial) can be quantified solely in terms of exergy flows. This assumption leads to a model of population dynamics that is applied here to describe the general behavior of interacting populations. The resulting equations are similar to the Lotka-Volterra ones, but more strongly coupled and intrinsically non-linear: as such, their solution space is topologically richer than those of classical prey-predator models. In this paper, we address an interesting specific problem in population dynamics: if a species assumes a commensalistic behavior, does it gain an evolutionary advantage? And, what is the difference, in terms of the access to the available exergy resources, between mutualism and commensalism? The model equations can be easily rearranged to accommodate both types of behavior, and thus only a brief discussion is devoted to this facet of the problem. The solution space is explored in the simplest case of two interacting populations: the model results in population curves in phase space that can satisfactorily explain the evolutionistic advantages and drawbacks of either behavior and, more importantly, identify the presence or absence of a “sustainable” solution in which both species survive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Experimental Study of Cement Mortar-Steel Fiber Reinforced Rammed Earth Wall
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2630-2638; doi:10.3390/su4102630
Received: 16 July 2012 / Revised: 6 August 2012 / Accepted: 17 August 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
PDF Full-text (328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rammed earth construction is an ancient technique which has recently attracted renewed interest throughout the world. Although rammed earth is currently regarded as a promising material in the construction industry in the context of sustainable development, it is difficult to quantify its bearing
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Rammed earth construction is an ancient technique which has recently attracted renewed interest throughout the world. Although rammed earth is currently regarded as a promising material in the construction industry in the context of sustainable development, it is difficult to quantify its bearing capacity, mechanical performance, as well as retrofitting approach, which discourages people from large-scale application in architectural engineering. This paper is devoted to the study of these problems based on rammed earth wall model experimentation. Three different models are studied considering different material components as well as structural configurations. By measuring the strain and deformation of the rammed earth wall models subjected to uniformly-distributed vertical loading, their ultimate bearing capacities are tested based on experimental investigation. Then the method of cement mortar-steel fiber reinforcement (CMSF) is carried out to study the ultimate bearing capacity enhancement of the wall models. Results show that the method of cement mortar-steel fiber reinforcement can increase the ultimate bearing capacity of the rammed earth wall models significantly, which is of relevant engineering significance in practical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Arabic and Chinese Rammed Earth Techniques in the Himalayan Region
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2650-2660; doi:10.3390/su4102650
Received: 14 August 2012 / Revised: 24 September 2012 / Accepted: 8 October 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1048 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper discusses different rammed earth construction technique in Asia. Rammed earth construction techniques from China, Indian, Nepal and Bhutan are examined. It is shown that these techniques are demonstrably different from each other, and argued that the techniques may have developed independently.
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This paper discusses different rammed earth construction technique in Asia. Rammed earth construction techniques from China, Indian, Nepal and Bhutan are examined. It is shown that these techniques are demonstrably different from each other, and argued that the techniques may have developed independently. Case study structures are discussed and it is shown that with care it is possible to chart the development of both techniques both chronologically and geographically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle Energy Recovery from Sludge and Sustainable Development: A Tanzanian Case Study
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2661-2672; doi:10.3390/su4102661
Received: 9 August 2012 / Revised: 9 October 2012 / Accepted: 10 October 2012 / Published: 16 October 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (752 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper retraces the implementation of a biogas energy programme within the Best Ray project run in Tanzania 2008–2011. The objective of the Best Ray project was to empower rural communities by providing them with modern and renewable energy technologies to better tackle
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The paper retraces the implementation of a biogas energy programme within the Best Ray project run in Tanzania 2008–2011. The objective of the Best Ray project was to empower rural communities by providing them with modern and renewable energy technologies to better tackle Millennium Development Goals. An important activity of the project was the construction of a biogas system in secondary school solve a sanitation problem and provide the school with a free and reliable energy supply. After a field assessment, the project directed the resources to small domestic biogas installation rather than large institutional ones as future sustainability seemed to be better granted. Best Ray merged the Tanzanian Domestic Biogas Programme. Trainings were organized and 25 biogas plants constructed. The technology is simple and the design effective, but still the cost seems high for a rural context. Final beneficiaries are appreciating the technologies for reasons that were not predictable by those who ideated the project. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Importance of Considering Product Loss Rates in Life Cycle Assessment: The Example of Closure Systems for Bottled Wine
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2673-2706; doi:10.3390/su4102673
Received: 23 July 2012 / Revised: 21 September 2012 / Accepted: 2 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
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Abstract
Purpose: The objective of this study is to discuss the implications of product loss rates in terms of the environmental performance of bottled wine. Wine loss refers to loss occurring when the consumer does not consume the wine contained in the bottle and
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Purpose: The objective of this study is to discuss the implications of product loss rates in terms of the environmental performance of bottled wine. Wine loss refers to loss occurring when the consumer does not consume the wine contained in the bottle and disposes of it because of taste alteration, which is caused by inadequate product protection rendering the wine unpalatable to a knowledgeable consumer. The decision of whether or not to drink the wine in such cases is guided by subjective consumer taste perception and wine quality expectation (drinking the bottle or disposing of the wine down the drain and replacing it with a new bottle). This study aims to illustrate the importance of accurately defining system boundaries related to wine packaging systems. Methods: The environmental impacts resulting from wine loss rates as related to two types of wine bottle closures—natural cork stoppers and screw caps—have been estimated based on literature review data and compared to the impact of the respective closure system. The system studied relates to the functional unit “a 750 mL bottle of drinkable wine” and includes bottled wine, bottle and closure production, wine production, wine loss and wine poured down the drain. Results: The range of wine alteration rates due to corked wine is estimated to be 2–5% based on interviews with wine experts. Consumer behavior was assessed through a sensitivity study on replacement rates. When the increase in loss rate with the cork stopper is higher than 1.2% (corresponding to 3.5% corked wine multiplied by a consumer replacement rate of 35%), the influence of losses on the impact results is higher than that of the closure material itself. The different closures and associated wine losses represent less than 5% of the total life cycle impact of bottled wine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Construction for Urban Infill Development Using Engineered Massive Wood Panel Systems
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2707-2742; doi:10.3390/su4102707
Received: 13 August 2012 / Revised: 1 October 2012 / Accepted: 4 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1120 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prefabricated engineered solid wood panel construction systems can sequester and store CO2. Modular cross-laminated timber (CLT, also called cross-lam) panels form the basis of low-carbon, engineered construction systems using solid wood panels that can be used to build residential infill developments
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Prefabricated engineered solid wood panel construction systems can sequester and store CO2. Modular cross-laminated timber (CLT, also called cross-lam) panels form the basis of low-carbon, engineered construction systems using solid wood panels that can be used to build residential infill developments of 10 storeys or higher. Multi-apartment buildings of 4 to 10 storeys constructed entirely in timber, such as recently in Europe, are innovative, but their social and cultural acceptance in Australia and North America is at this stage still uncertain. Future commercial utilisation is only possible if there is a user acceptance. The author is part of a research team that aims to study two problems: first models of urban infill; then focus on how the use of the CLT systems can play an important role in facilitating a more livable city with better models of infill housing. Wood is an important contemporary building resource due to its low embodied energy and unique attributes. The potential of prefabricated engineered solid wood panel systems, such as CLT, as a sustainable building material and system is only just being realised around the globe. Since timber is one of the few materials that has the capacity to store carbon in large quantities over a long period of time, solid wood panel construction offers the opportunity of carbon engineering, to turn buildings into ‘carbon sinks’. Thus some of the historically negative environmental impact of urban development and construction can be turned around with CLT construction on brownfield sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design and Construction)
Open AccessArticle A Phased Development of Breed-and-Burn Reactors for Enhanced Nuclear Energy Sustainability
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2745-2764; doi:10.3390/su4102745
Received: 3 September 2012 / Revised: 24 September 2012 / Accepted: 28 September 2012 / Published: 19 October 2012
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Abstract
Several options for designing fast reactors to operate in the Breed-and-Burn (B&B) mode are compared and a strategy is outlined for early introduction of B&B reactors followed by a gradual increase in the fuel utilization of such reactors. In the first phase the
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Several options for designing fast reactors to operate in the Breed-and-Burn (B&B) mode are compared and a strategy is outlined for early introduction of B&B reactors followed by a gradual increase in the fuel utilization of such reactors. In the first phase the fast reactor core will consist of a subcritical B&B blanket driven by a relatively small critical seed. As the required discharge burnup/radiation-damage to both driver and blanket fuel had already been proven, and as the depleted uranium fueled B&B blanket could generate close to 2/3 of the core power and will have very low fuel cycle cost, the deployment of such fast reactors could start in the near future. The second phase consists of deploying self-sustaining stationary wave B&B reactors. It will require development of fuel technology that could withstand peak burnups of ~30% and peak radiation damage to the cladding of ~550 dpa. The third phase requires development of a fuel reconditioning technology that will enable using the fuel up to an average burnup of ~50%—the upper bound permitted by neutron balance considerations when most of the fission products are not separated from the fuel. The increase in the uranium ore utilization relative to that provided by contemporary power reactors is estimated to be 20, 40 and 100 folds for, respectively, phase 1, 2 and 3. The energy value of the depleted uranium stockpiles (“waste”) accumulated in the US is equivalent to, when used in the B&B reactors, up to 20 centuries of the total 2010 USA supply of electricity. Therefore, a successful development of B&B reactors could provide a great measure of energy sustainability and cost stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Nuclear Energy)
Open AccessArticle “The Gong Gong Was Beaten” —Adamorobe: A “Deaf Village” in Ghana and Its Marriage Prohibition for Deaf Partners
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2765-2784; doi:10.3390/su4102765
Received: 31 August 2012 / Revised: 3 October 2012 / Accepted: 12 October 2012 / Published: 22 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Adamorobe is a village in Ghana where the historical presence of a hereditary form of deafness resulted in a high number of deaf inhabitants. Over the centuries, a local sign language emerged, which is used between deaf and hearing people in everyday life,
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Adamorobe is a village in Ghana where the historical presence of a hereditary form of deafness resulted in a high number of deaf inhabitants. Over the centuries, a local sign language emerged, which is used between deaf and hearing people in everyday life, rendering Adamorobe into a unique place of inclusion of deaf people. However, in 1975, a law was introduced to reduce the number of deaf people in Adamorobe: deaf people cannot marry each other in order to avoid deaf offspring. In the long term, this law threatens the linguistic and cultural diversity in this village where the use of sign language is omnipresent and where deaf people are perceived as fully productive and worthy members of society. This article is structured around two sets of tensions in the village, Firstly, hearing people’s acceptance and inclusion of the deaf inhabitants, versus the wish to live in a village with no (or less) deaf people. Secondly, there is a tension between deaf people’s subjection to, and resistance against, the law, this is a tension that can be observed in the existence of relationships between deaf partners, and abortions when these unions lead to pregnancies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Human Diversity: Languages, Cultures, Epistemologies)

Review

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Open AccessReview Identification and Selection of Alternative Scenarios in LCA Studies of Integrated Waste Management Systems: A Review of Main Issues and Perspectives
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2430-2442; doi:10.3390/su4102430
Received: 2 August 2012 / Revised: 22 August 2012 / Accepted: 12 September 2012 / Published: 27 September 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a decision support tool that can be used to assess the environmental performance of an integrated waste management system or to identify the system with the best performance through a comparative analysis of different scenarios. The results of
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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a decision support tool that can be used to assess the environmental performance of an integrated waste management system or to identify the system with the best performance through a comparative analysis of different scenarios. The results of the analysis depend primarily on how the scenarios to be compared are defined, that is on which waste fractions are assumed to be sent to certain treatments/destinations and in what amounts. This paper reviews LCAs of integrated waste management systems with the aim of exploring how the scenarios to be compared are defined in the preliminary phase of an LCA. This critical review highlighted that various criteria, more or less subjective, are generally used for the definition of scenarios. Furthermore, the number of scenarios identified and compared is generally limited; this may entail that only the best option among a limited set of possibilities can be selected, instead of identifying the best of all possible combinations. As a result, the advisability of identifying an integrated life cycle-based methodological approach that allows finding the most environmentally sound scenario among all of those that are theoretically possible is stressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Waste Management)

Other

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Open AccessDiscussion Sustainable Technology Research and Demonstration Center for Earth Structures
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2639-2649; doi:10.3390/su4102639
Received: 26 July 2012 / Revised: 7 August 2012 / Accepted: 17 August 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
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Abstract
This is a discussion paper that the authors presented at the International Workshop on Rammed Earth Materials and Sustainable Structures and Hakka Tulou Forum 2011: Structures of Sustainability, 28–31 October 2011, Xiamen University, China. A Sustainable Technology Research and Demonstration Center for Earth
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This is a discussion paper that the authors presented at the International Workshop on Rammed Earth Materials and Sustainable Structures and Hakka Tulou Forum 2011: Structures of Sustainability, 28–31 October 2011, Xiamen University, China. A Sustainable Technology Research and Demonstration Center for Earth Structures is proposed to study, preserve, advance, promote, and implement rammed earth structures. The Center concept including the objectives, scope of activities and benefits of the proposed center are outlined. The Center for Alternative Technology in Wales, UK has been examined as a good base model along with a few successful environmental sustainability initiatives in China. The funding options to establish the proposed center have been discussed. The breadth of activities ultimately depends on funding capability. It is believed that the proposed center development will require significant government support at the initial stage but once corporate sponsorships are in place, the proposed center will potentially become self-supporting. The strategies, for the establishment of the proposed center are also addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessNew Book Received 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years. By Jorgen Randers, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012; 304 pages. Price US24.95 ISBN 978-1-60358-467-8
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2743-2744; doi:10.3390/su4102743
Received: 11 October 2012 / Accepted: 12 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
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Abstract
Forty years ago, The Limits to Growth study addressed the grand question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth. It predicted that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint
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Forty years ago, The Limits to Growth study addressed the grand question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth. It predicted that during the first half of the 21st century the ongoing growth in the human ecological footprint would stop—either through catastrophic “overshoot and collapse”—or through well-managed “peak and decline.” Full article

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