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Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 1 (January 2013), Pages 1-386

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle 2050 Scenarios for Long-Haul Tourism in the Evolving Global Climate Change Regime
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 1-51; doi:10.3390/su5010001
Received: 1 November 2012 / Revised: 3 December 2012 / Accepted: 10 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2954 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tourism and its “midwife”, aviation, are transnational sectors exposed to global uncertainties. This scenario-building exercise considers a specific subset of these uncertainties, namely the impact of the evolving global climate change regime on long-haul tourism (LHT), with a 2050 horizon. The basic [...] Read more.
Tourism and its “midwife”, aviation, are transnational sectors exposed to global uncertainties. This scenario-building exercise considers a specific subset of these uncertainties, namely the impact of the evolving global climate change regime on long-haul tourism (LHT), with a 2050 horizon. The basic problematique is that unconstrained growth in aviation emissions will not be compatible with 2050 climate stabilisation goals, and that the stringency and timing of public policy interventions could have far-reaching impacts — either on the market for future growth of LHT, or the natural ecosystem on which tourism depends. Following an intuitive-logic approach to scenario-building, three meta-level scenarios that can be regarded as “possible” futures for the evolution of LHT are described. Two of these, i.e., the “grim reaper” and the “fallen angel” scenarios, are undesirable. The “green lantern” scenario represents the desired future. Long-haul tourist destinations should heed the early warning signals identified in the scenario narratives, and contribute towards realising the desired future. They should further guard against being passive victims if the feared scenarios materialise, by adapting, repositioning early upon reading the signposts, hedging against risks, and seizing new opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Climate Change in Developing Countries)
Open AccessArticle Climate and Food Production: Understanding Vulnerability from Past Trends in Africa’s Sudan-Sahel
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 52-71; doi:10.3390/su5010052
Received: 17 September 2012 / Revised: 6 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1464 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Just how influential is rainfall on agricultural production in the Sudan-Sahel of Africa? And, is there evidence that support for small-scale farming can reduce the vulnerability of crop yields to rainfall in these sensitive agro-ecological zones? These questions are explored based on [...] Read more.
Just how influential is rainfall on agricultural production in the Sudan-Sahel of Africa? And, is there evidence that support for small-scale farming can reduce the vulnerability of crop yields to rainfall in these sensitive agro-ecological zones? These questions are explored based on a case study from Cameroon’s Sudan-Sahel region. Climate data for 20 years and crop production data for six major food crops for the same years are used to find patterns of correlation over this time period. Results show a distinction of three periods of climatic influence of agriculture: one period before 1989, another between 1990 and 1999 and the last from 2000 to 2004. The analysis reveals that, while important in setting the enabling biophysical environment for food crop cultivation, the influence of rainfall in agriculture can be diluted by proactive policies that support food production. Proactive policies also reduce the impact of agriculturally relevant climatic shocks, such as droughts on food crop yields over the time-series. These findings emphasize the extent of vulnerability of food crop production to rainfall variations among small-holder farmers in these agro-ecological zones and reinforce the call for the proactive engagement of relevant institutions and support services in assisting the efforts of small-scale food producers in Africa’s Sudan-Sahel. The implications of climate variability on agriculture are discussed within the context of food security with particular reference to Africa’s Sudan-Sahel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Tensions Between Firm Size and Sustainability Goals: Fair Trade Coffee in the United States
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 72-89; doi:10.3390/su5010072
Received: 5 November 2012 / Revised: 12 December 2012 / Accepted: 20 December 2012 / Published: 4 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability marketing trends have typically been led by smaller, more mission-driven firms, but are increasingly attracting larger, more profit-driven firms. Studying the strategies of firms that are moving away from these two poles (i.e., mission-driven but larger firms, and profit-driven [...] Read more.
Sustainability marketing trends have typically been led by smaller, more mission-driven firms, but are increasingly attracting larger, more profit-driven firms. Studying the strategies of firms that are moving away from these two poles (i.e., mission-driven but larger firms, and profit-driven firms that are more committed to sustainability) may help us to better understand the potential to resolve tensions between firm size and sustainability goals. We used this approach to analyze a case study of the U.S. fair trade coffee industry, employing the methods of data visualization and media content analysis. We identified three firms that account for the highest proportion of U.S. fair trade coffee purchases (Equal Exchange, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks) and analyzed their strategies, including reactions to recent changes in U.S. fair trade standards. We found an inverse relationship between firm size and demonstrated commitment to sustainability ideals, and the two larger firms were much less likely to acknowledge conflicts between size and sustainability in their public discourse. We conclude that similar efforts to increase sustainability marketing for other products and services should be more skeptical of approaches that rely on primarily on the participation of large, profit-driven firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Branding and Marketing)
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Open AccessArticle Resilience of Outdoor Spaces in an Era of Climate Change: The Problem of Developing Countries
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 90-99; doi:10.3390/su5010090
Received: 9 October 2012 / Revised: 23 December 2012 / Accepted: 25 December 2012 / Published: 4 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper recommends expanding research on the interrelations between climate change, cities, culture and the way climate change influences participants’ thermal, emotional and perceptual well-being in public spaces as a key step in developing contextual design codes for outdoor public spaces. Proposing [...] Read more.
This paper recommends expanding research on the interrelations between climate change, cities, culture and the way climate change influences participants’ thermal, emotional and perceptual well-being in public spaces as a key step in developing contextual design codes for outdoor public spaces. Proposing a general framework to address climate challenges in developing countries, the paper advocates focusing on the developing world, where outdoor spaces are extremely vulnerable and available studies are scarce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Climate Change in Developing Countries)
Open AccessArticle Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Archaeological Perspectives on Culture and Sustainability
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 100-122; doi:10.3390/su5010100
Received: 5 November 2012 / Revised: 14 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 7 January 2013
PDF Full-text (223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Predictions of the imminent demise of Indigenous cultures have circulated among Western intellectuals for more than two hundred years. Capitalism, Christianity, and Western civilization were thought by 19th century scholars to be on the verge of eradicating global cultural variation. Contemporary scholars [...] Read more.
Predictions of the imminent demise of Indigenous cultures have circulated among Western intellectuals for more than two hundred years. Capitalism, Christianity, and Western civilization were thought by 19th century scholars to be on the verge of eradicating global cultural variation. Contemporary scholars have revived these views, suggesting that not only were Indigenous cultures about to succumb to Western hegemony, these forces were poised to bring about the end of history itself. What unites these perspectives are an ideology stressing asymmetrical power relations between the West and Indigenous cultures, and the proposition that only Western intervention is capable of rescuing Indigeneity. This paper examines the current crisis of Indigenous cultural sustainability, arguing that the epistemology informing many of these perspectives remain largely unchanged from their 19th century precursors. Citing case studies in archaeology and cultural heritage management, I suggest a ground-up approach to cultural sustainability in which Western institutions and individuals serve only the expressed desires and at the invitation of Indigenous peoples. Such restraint represents both recognition of Indigenous sovereignty regarding all cultural preservation efforts, as well as the dynamic, ever-changing nature of culture itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Human Diversity: Languages, Cultures, Epistemologies)
Open AccessCommunication Prospects and Challenges for Disseminating Life Cycle Thinking towards Environmental Conscious Behaviors in Daily Lives
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 123-135; doi:10.3390/su5010123
Received: 26 September 2012 / Revised: 20 December 2012 / Accepted: 24 December 2012 / Published: 7 January 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We examined the existing practices of various media to ascertain the usability of information based on life cycle thinking (LCT) which can be key to changing consciousness and behavior of consumers towards pursuing a sustainable society. Such information has been provided [...] Read more.
We examined the existing practices of various media to ascertain the usability of information based on life cycle thinking (LCT) which can be key to changing consciousness and behavior of consumers towards pursuing a sustainable society. Such information has been provided to consumers in various forms in various places at various times. Nevertheless, a number of issues, such as understandability, selectability, reliability, transparency, and costs etc., must still be addressed before consumers will be able to use such information as guidelines for pro-environmental behaviors in their everyday life. Further, it is also of critical importance that the consumers can culture LCT by encouraging themselves to be actively engaged in the design and evaluation processes of the upstream of productions and in the entire product life cycle. Another crucial challenge is finding ways to connect LCT with, not just product selection or designing and manufacturing, but lifestyle transformation. We need to encourage ourselves and others to think about what a sustainable life really means. Full article
Open AccessArticle The North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership: A Science-Management Collaboration for Responding to Climate Change
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 136-159; doi:10.3390/su5010136
Received: 31 October 2012 / Revised: 21 December 2012 / Accepted: 27 December 2012 / Published: 8 January 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (843 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and National Park Service (NPS) have highlighted climate change as an agency priority and issued direction to administrative units for responding to climate change. In response, the USFS and NPS initiated the North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) [...] Read more.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and National Park Service (NPS) have highlighted climate change as an agency priority and issued direction to administrative units for responding to climate change. In response, the USFS and NPS initiated the North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) in 2010. The goals of the NCAP were to build an inclusive partnership, increase climate change awareness, assess vulnerability, and develop science-based adaptation strategies to reduce these vulnerabilities. The NCAP expanded previous science-management partnerships on federal lands to a larger, more ecologically and geographically complex region and extended the approach to a broader range of stakeholders. The NCAP focused on two national forests and two national parks in the North Cascades Range, Washington (USA), a total land area of 2.4 million ha, making it the largest science-management partnership of its kind. The NCAP assessed climate change vulnerability for four resource sectors (hydrology and access; vegetation and ecological disturbance; wildlife; and fish) and developed adaptation options for each sector. The NCAP process has proven to be a successful approach for implementing climate change adaptation across a region and can be emulated by other land management agencies in North America and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Should We Trust in Values? Explaining Public Support for Pro-Environmental Taxes
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 210-227; doi:10.3390/su5010210
Received: 27 November 2012 / Revised: 24 December 2012 / Accepted: 1 January 2013 / Published: 16 January 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper we are concerned with what explains public acceptance and support of environmental taxes. We examine findings in environmental psychology emphasizing that people’s (environmental) value-orientation is the dominant driver determining individuals’ support for pro-environmental policy instruments. We introduce a complementary [...] Read more.
In this paper we are concerned with what explains public acceptance and support of environmental taxes. We examine findings in environmental psychology emphasizing that people’s (environmental) value-orientation is the dominant driver determining individuals’ support for pro-environmental policy instruments. We introduce a complementary model, mainly drawing upon findings in political science, suggesting that people’s support for policy instruments is dependent on their level of political trust and their trust in other citizens. More specifically, we analyze whether political trust and inter-personal trust affect individuals’ support for an increased carbon dioxide tax in Sweden, while checking their value orientation, self-interest, and various socio-economic values. We make use of survey data obtained from a mail questionnaire sent out to a random sample of 3,000 individuals in 2009. We find that apart from people’s values, beliefs, and norms, both political trust and interpersonal trust have significant effects on people's attitudes toward an increased tax on carbon dioxide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Government Policy and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Cumulative Pressures on Sustainable Livelihoods: Coastal Adaptation in the Mekong Delta
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 228-241; doi:10.3390/su5010228
Received: 9 November 2012 / Revised: 11 January 2013 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 17 January 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (315 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many coastal areas throughout the world are at risk from sea level rise and the increased intensity of extreme events such as storm surge and flooding. Simultaneously, many areas are also experiencing significant socio-economic challenges associated with rural-urban transitions, population growth, and [...] Read more.
Many coastal areas throughout the world are at risk from sea level rise and the increased intensity of extreme events such as storm surge and flooding. Simultaneously, many areas are also experiencing significant socio-economic challenges associated with rural-urban transitions, population growth, and increased consumption resulting from improving gross regional product. Within this context we explore the viability of proposed adaptation pathways in Soc Trang province, Vietnam — an area of the Mekong Delta experiencing cumulative pressures on coastal livelihoods. A participatory workshop and interviews, using a combination of systems thinking and futures techniques, revealed a shared goal of sustainable livelihoods, which provides an integrated and systemic focus for coastal adaptation strategies. Emphasizing sustainable livelihoods is less likely to lead to maladaptation because stakeholders consciously seek to avoid optimizing particular system elements at the expense of others — and thus engage in broader decision-making frameworks supportive of social-ecological resilience. However, the broad ambit required for sustainable livelihoods is not supported by governance frameworks that have focused on protective strategies (e.g., dyke building, strengthening and raising, to continue and expand agriculture and aquaculture production) at the expense of developing a diverse suite of adaptation strategies, which may lead to path dependencies and an ultimate reduction in adaptive capacity for system transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Community Engagement and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Kaikōura’s Biosolid Reuse Options
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 242-255; doi:10.3390/su5010242
Received: 31 October 2012 / Revised: 7 January 2013 / Accepted: 11 January 2013 / Published: 18 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (280 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports a life cycle assessment undertaken to assess the environmental impact of a range of biosolid reuse options selected by the Kaikōura community. The reuse options were identified as: vermiculture and open-air composting; mixture with biochar; direct land application to [...] Read more.
This paper reports a life cycle assessment undertaken to assess the environmental impact of a range of biosolid reuse options selected by the Kaikōura community. The reuse options were identified as: vermiculture and open-air composting; mixture with biochar; direct land application to disturbed sites for forestry using native tree species; and application to exotic forestry plantations or pastoral farmland. The aim of the study was to calculate the possible environmental impacts of the reuse options so the information can be used in a community dialogue process where the fate of the biosolids is decided upon. All reuse options showed improved environmental performance relative to landfilling. The direct application to land options showed the least environmental impact and the composting options had the most environmental impact. This is the first time this approach has been applied to biosolids management in New Zealand, and whilst there are limitations, the approach should be encouraged in other communities because it increases the engagement of the community with waste management decision-making and the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Waste Management)
Open AccessArticle New Levels of Climate Adaptation Policy: Analyzing the Institutional Interplay in the Baltic Sea Region
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 256-275; doi:10.3390/su5010256
Received: 31 October 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 18 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
International policy development and expected climate change impacts such as flooding, landslides, and the extinction of sensitive species have forced countries around the Baltic Sea to begin working on national climate adaptation policies. Simultaneously, the EU is building both a central and [...] Read more.
International policy development and expected climate change impacts such as flooding, landslides, and the extinction of sensitive species have forced countries around the Baltic Sea to begin working on national climate adaptation policies. Simultaneously, the EU is building both a central and a macro-regional Baltic Sea-wide adaptation strategy to support national policy developments. However, it yet remains unclear how these EU strategies will complement each other or national policies. This article analyzes the constraints and opportunities presented by this new institutional interplay and discusses the potential of the forthcoming EU strategies to support national policy. It does so by mapping how adaptation is institutionalized in two case countries, Sweden and Finland, and is organized in the two EU approaches. The vertical institutional interplay between scales is analyzed in terms of three factors: competence, capacity, and compatibility. Results indicate institutional constraints related to: risks of policy complexity for sub-national actors, an unclear relationship between the two EU approaches, an overly general approach to targeting contextualized climate change vulnerabilities, and a general lack of strategies to steer adaptation. However, there are also opportunities linked to an anticipated increased commitment to the national management of adaptation, especially related to biodiversity issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Heterodox Political Economy and the Degrowth Perspective
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 276-297; doi:10.3390/su5010276
Received: 14 November 2012 / Revised: 31 December 2012 / Accepted: 5 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transition to sustainability will be difficult. Environmental sustainability entails living within the Earth’s limits, yet the majority of scientific studies indicate a condition of overshoot. For mainstream economists sustainability means perpetuating economic growth. Consequently, environmental and economic sustainability are incompatible in [...] Read more.
The transition to sustainability will be difficult. Environmental sustainability entails living within the Earth’s limits, yet the majority of scientific studies indicate a condition of overshoot. For mainstream economists sustainability means perpetuating economic growth. Consequently, environmental and economic sustainability are incompatible in the present institutional context. This paper seeks to develop a new theory of sustainability based upon historical and institutional contexts, the role of economic crises, as well as focusing upon energy quality and meaningful work. Mainstream economics, which emphasizes market self-regulation and economic growth, is not a good vehicle for a theory of sustainability. Better insights are to be found in the literature of heterodox political economy and political ecology. Political ecology is based upon the theory of monopoly capital. Monopoly capitalism exhibits a tendency towards stagnation, because the economic surplus cannot be absorbed adequately in the absence of system-wide waste. The Monthly Review School continues this tradition in the context of the metabolic rift, while the Capitalism, Nature and Socialism School develops the idea of a second contradiction of capitalism. The Social Structure of Accumulation school pursues the idea of long swings of economic activity based upon institutional structures that aid or inhibit capital accumulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degrowth: The Economic Alternative for the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle Nondestructive Evaluation of Historic Hakka Rammed Earth Structures
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 298-315; doi:10.3390/su5010298
Received: 4 December 2012 / Revised: 10 December 2012 / Accepted: 11 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2648 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The in-service Hakka rammed earth buildings, in the Fujian Province of China, are unique in design and performance. Their UNESCO’s inscription as World Heritage sites recognizes their artistic, cultural, social and historic significance. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation of the United [...] Read more.
The in-service Hakka rammed earth buildings, in the Fujian Province of China, are unique in design and performance. Their UNESCO’s inscription as World Heritage sites recognizes their artistic, cultural, social and historic significance. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation of the United States, the authors have examined the engineering values of these buildings in terms of comfortable living at low energy consumption, sustainability and durability. The objective of this study was to better understand the thermo-mechanical and aging responses of Hakka earth buildings under thermal and earthquake loads through nondestructive field evaluation, including full-scale roof truss and floor testing, laboratory testing of field samples and finite element modeling. This paper presents our observations and findings from the field nondestructive evaluations with emphasis on the integrity of the rammed earth outer walls and inner wood structures, as well as the thermal comfort of living in these buildings, while a second paper presents the results from the material characterization of field samples and the structural responses of a representative building under earthquake induced loads through finite element analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle The Rule of Ecological Law: The Legal Complement to Degrowth Economics
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 316-337; doi:10.3390/su5010316
Received: 13 November 2012 / Revised: 7 January 2013 / Accepted: 14 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (225 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The rule of ecological law is a fitting complement to degrowth. Planetary boundaries of safe operating space for humanity, along with complementary measures and principles, provide scientific and ethical foundations of the rule of ecological law, which should have several reinforcing features. [...] Read more.
The rule of ecological law is a fitting complement to degrowth. Planetary boundaries of safe operating space for humanity, along with complementary measures and principles, provide scientific and ethical foundations of the rule of ecological law, which should have several reinforcing features. First, it should recognize humans are part of Earth’s life systems. Second, ecological limits must have primacy over social and economic regimes. Third, the rule of ecological law must permeate all areas of law. Fourth, it should focus on radically reducing material and energy throughput. Fifth, it must be global, but distributed, using the principle of subsidiarity. Sixth, it must ensure fair sharing of resources among present and future generations of humans and other life. Seventh, it must be binding and supranational, with supremacy over sub-global legal regimes as necessary. Eighth, it requires a greatly expanded program of research and monitoring. Ninth, it requires precaution about crossing global ecological boundaries. Tenth, it must be adaptive. Although the transition from a growth-insistent economy headed toward ecological collapse to an economy based on the rule of ecological law is elusive, the European Union may be a useful structural model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degrowth: The Economic Alternative for the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle On-Farm Diversity of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L) in Sudan: A Potential Genetic Resources Conservation Strategy
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 338-356; doi:10.3390/su5010338
Received: 17 December 2012 / Revised: 16 January 2013 / Accepted: 17 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (270 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although the main goal of traditional farming is to produce food, it can play an important role in conservation of genetic resources. This paper reports a study, which explored the diversity of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars grown by farmers [...] Read more.
Although the main goal of traditional farming is to produce food, it can play an important role in conservation of genetic resources. This paper reports a study, which explored the diversity of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars grown by farmers and their preferences for different cultivars. The possibilities of using farms as sites for conserving genetic resources are discussed. The data for the study were collected from personal interviews that involved randomly selected date palm farmers in the Northern State and River Nile State, Sudan. Ordered and binary logit models were used to account for possible factors influencing the diversity of cultivars grown by farmers and preferences for different cultivars, respectively. The results showed that the cultivars grown by the respondents vary widely. On average, the Northern State respondents grew twice the number of cultivars as those in the River Nile State. Of all the date palm cultivars, the Barakawi was the most preferred. The diversity of the cultivars grown by the respondents and their preferences were mainly influenced by factors, such as farm location, drought, uses of date palm, years of farming experience, education, income from date palm and household size. The findings will help in designing a more sustainable date palm breeding program, as well as a genetic resources conservation strategy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Enabling Eco-Friendly Choices by Relying on the Proportional-Thinking Heuristic
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 357-371; doi:10.3390/su5010357
Received: 11 October 2012 / Revised: 25 December 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecological (eco) taxes are promising mechanisms to enable eco-friendly decisions, but few people prefer them. In this study, we present a way in which eco-tax options may be communicated to general public to encourage their payment. Our implementation (called “information presentation”) takes [...] Read more.
Ecological (eco) taxes are promising mechanisms to enable eco-friendly decisions, but few people prefer them. In this study, we present a way in which eco-tax options may be communicated to general public to encourage their payment. Our implementation (called “information presentation”) takes advantage of the non-linear relationship between eco-tax payments and CO2 emissions and the human reliance on the proportional-thinking heuristic. According to the proportional-thinking heuristic, people are likely to prefer a small eco-tax increase and judge larger eco-tax increases to cause proportionally greater CO2 emissions reductions. In an online study, participants were asked to choose between eco-tax increases in two problems: In one, a smaller eco-tax increase resulted in greater CO2 emissions reduction, while in the other, a smaller tax increase resulted in lesser CO2 emissions reduction. Although the larger eco-tax increase did not reduce CO2 emissions the most, across both problems, people judged larger eco-tax increases to cause proportionally greater reductions in CO2 emissions and preferred smaller tax increases. Thus, eco-tax policies would benefit by presenting information in terms of eco-tax increases, such that smaller eco-tax increases (which are more attractive and are likely to be chosen by people) cause greater CO2 emissions reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Climate Change in Developing Countries)
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Open AccessArticle Engineering and Sustainability: Attitudes and Actions
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 372-386; doi:10.3390/su5010372
Received: 1 December 2012 / Revised: 23 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The results of an extensive survey of engineers and engineering students suggest there is a strong focus on the implementation of sustainability concepts, actions and measures in engineering. The main sustainable technology priorities are using less energy and natural resources, reducing emissions [...] Read more.
The results of an extensive survey of engineers and engineering students suggest there is a strong focus on the implementation of sustainability concepts, actions and measures in engineering. The main sustainable technology priorities are using less energy and natural resources, reducing emissions and material wastes, and utilizing renewable, recyclable and recycled materials. Sustainable engineering within organizations is mainly driven by regulatory requirements, rising energy costs and client demand, but challenges to sustainable engineering like economics need to be addressed to increase the incorporation of sustainability in engineering. Nonetheless, about two-thirds of practicing engineers have worked on sustainable products and processes, and over half of engineering students are involved with sustainable design in their studies. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Extinction or Survival? Behavioral Flexibility in Response to Environmental Change in the African Striped Mouse Rhabdomys
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 163-186; doi:10.3390/su5010163
Received: 29 October 2012 / Revised: 2 January 2013 / Accepted: 4 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The rapid rate of anthropogenic-related climate change is expected to severely impact ecosystems and their constituent organisms, leading to mass extinction. A rapid adaptive response of animals to such change could be due to reversible phenotypic flexibility, including behavioral flexibility. Our model, [...] Read more.
The rapid rate of anthropogenic-related climate change is expected to severely impact ecosystems and their constituent organisms, leading to mass extinction. A rapid adaptive response of animals to such change could be due to reversible phenotypic flexibility, including behavioral flexibility. Our model, the African striped mouse Rhabdomys, is a small rodent widely distributed in southern Africa. The desert-living species R. pumilio displays social flexibility, whereby individuals switch their social organization in response to prevailing conditions, potentially allowing for persistence in rapidly changing environments. Individuals of the species from the moist grasslands (R. dilectus) show some flexible traits, but opportunities to utilize this potential are apparently not realized. The climate in southern Africa is predicted to become drier, making both desert and grassland species vulnerable to environmental change. Based on realized or potential social flexibility in striped mice, we provide three (not mutually exclusive) scenarios that consider: (i) extinction of the desert species as its habitat changes; (ii) range expansion and utilization of pre-existing adaptations of the desert species to displace the current grassland species; and (iii) grassland species exploiting their potential flexibility (behavioral adaptation) and surviving in their current habitat. Behavioral flexibility is costly but could allow species to persist in rapidly changing environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessReview Rethinking What Counts. Perspectives on Wellbeing and Genuine Progress Indicator Metrics from a Canadian Viewpoint
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 187-202; doi:10.3390/su5010187
Received: 25 September 2012 / Revised: 29 November 2012 / Accepted: 2 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (257 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A prevailing undercurrent of doubt regarding the merits of economic growth has motivated efforts to rethink how we measure the success of economic policy and societal wellbeing. This article comments on efforts to better account for impacts of economic activity emphasizing genuine [...] Read more.
A prevailing undercurrent of doubt regarding the merits of economic growth has motivated efforts to rethink how we measure the success of economic policy and societal wellbeing. This article comments on efforts to better account for impacts of economic activity emphasizing genuine progress indicator (GPI) and wellbeing metrics from a Canadian viewpoint. The authors caution that GPI and related metrics are measures of human and social welfare and not adequate to account for the ecological costs associated with economic growth. In addition, the article discusses the suitability of wellbeing models and metrics for local scale applications, recognizing growing interest in these techniques at the urban and local level. The article concludes with a reflection on the uptake of GPI and wellbeing measures highlighting the Canadian experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measuring Socio-Economic Well-Being)

Other

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Open AccessNew Book Received Vulnerability, Risks, and Complexity: Impacts of Global Change on Human Habitats. By Sigrun Kabisch, Anna Kunath, Petra Schweizer-Ries and Annett Steinfuehrer, Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 2012; 322 pages. Price €66.95 ISBN 978-0-88937-435-5
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 160-162; doi:10.3390/su5010160
Received: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 10 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (122 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This volume offers state-of-the-art research on the interrelations between the social, built, and natural environments. It will be useful to scholars in cross-cutting areas of urban, hazard, planning, governance, and sustainability research in relation to socio-psychological perspectives. Readers will benefit from new [...] Read more.
This volume offers state-of-the-art research on the interrelations between the social, built, and natural environments. It will be useful to scholars in cross-cutting areas of urban, hazard, planning, governance, and sustainability research in relation to socio-psychological perspectives. Readers will benefit from new theoretical as well as empirically-based research findings in the emerging field of social-science vulnerability studies. Full article
Open AccessNew Book Received Sustainability in the Chemical Industry. By Eric Johnson, Springer, 2012; 173 pages. Price CHF 133.50, ISBN 978-94-007-3834-8
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 203-206; doi:10.3390/su5010203
Received: 11 January 2013 / Accepted: 11 January 2013 / Published: 15 January 2013
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Abstract
It’s the new rock and roll. It’s the new black. Sustainability is trendy, and not just among hipsters and pop stars. The uncool chemical sector helped pioneer it, and today, companies inside and outside the sector have embraced it. But what have [...] Read more.
It’s the new rock and roll. It’s the new black. Sustainability is trendy, and not just among hipsters and pop stars. The uncool chemical sector helped pioneer it, and today, companies inside and outside the sector have embraced it. But what have they embraced? Surely not the Brundtland definition of meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Full article
Open AccessNew Book Received Requalifying the Built Environment: Challenges and Responses. By Roderick J. Lawrence, Hülya Turgut, Peter Kellett, Hogrefe, 2012; 232 pages. Price: 54,95€, ISBN 978-0-88937-430-0
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 207-209; doi:10.3390/su5010207
Received: 11 January 2013 / Accepted: 11 January 2013 / Published: 15 January 2013
PDF Full-text (125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent decades, significant financial and professional resources have been invested in urban regeneration, housing renovation, and the revitalization of old neighborhoods, with considerable impacts on the social, physical, and economic structure of cities and their inhabitants. The first objective of this [...] Read more.
In recent decades, significant financial and professional resources have been invested in urban regeneration, housing renovation, and the revitalization of old neighborhoods, with considerable impacts on the social, physical, and economic structure of cities and their inhabitants. The first objective of this volume is to present the key issues related to these changes, which were discussed at an international symposium of experts organized by the International Association for People-Environment Studies and Housing and CSBE (Culture and Space in the Built Environment) Networks in Istanbul. The second objective is to show how concepts and methods in the field of people-environment studies can be successfully applied to study complex questions related to the revitalization of the built environment, both at the small scale of specific buildings and at the larger scale of neighborhoods. Full article

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