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Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 4 (April 2013), Pages 1356-1763

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Open AccessArticle From Talloires to Turin: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Declarations for Sustainability in Higher Education
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1356-1371; doi:10.3390/su5041356
Received: 25 January 2013 / Revised: 8 March 2013 / Accepted: 12 March 2013 / Published: 25 March 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (467 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Declarations for sustainability in higher education are often seen as a set of guiding principles that aid institutions of higher learning to incorporate the concept of sustainability into their various institutional dimensions. As the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development draws to a
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Declarations for sustainability in higher education are often seen as a set of guiding principles that aid institutions of higher learning to incorporate the concept of sustainability into their various institutional dimensions. As the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development draws to a close and in the shadow of the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it seems appropriate to re-evaluate how these declarations have changed over the past two decades. In this study, we apply critical discourse analysis to examine how sustainability and the university are socio-politically constructed within these documents. Our analysis uncovers evidence of ideological assumptions and structures that are potentially misaligned with notions of sustainability often discussed in the Sustainability in Higher Education (SHE) literature. It is not the purpose of this study to provide a definitive reading of the documents, but rather to ply a novel critical lens to help elucidate how some taken-for-granted assumptions present in the declarations may work against their stated goals. Full article
Open AccessArticle Flexibility of Scope, Type and Temporality in Mustang, Nepal. Opportunities for Adaptation in a Farming System Facing Climatic and Market Uncertainty
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1387-1405; doi:10.3390/su5041387
Received: 12 December 2012 / Revised: 23 January 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 25 March 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (820 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is projected to increase the seasonality in river flows in the great river systems of Himalaya and impose challenges to regional food production. Since climate change increases the uncertainty in local weather patterns, people’s ability to maintain local agricultural production will
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Climate change is projected to increase the seasonality in river flows in the great river systems of Himalaya and impose challenges to regional food production. Since climate change increases the uncertainty in local weather patterns, people’s ability to maintain local agricultural production will probably depend on how flexible the local farming systems are to adjust to unpredictable changes. The objective of this paper is to investigate the flexibility of one such farming system which is located in Mustang, Nepal, Himalaya. Defining flexibility as “uncommitted potentialities for change” following Gregory Bateson, the paper identifies opportunities for change in the farming system, as well as factors that constrain flexibility. Further developing the concept of flexibility, it is suggested that flexibility may be analyzed in terms of scope, type and temporal flexibility. Although there are several underexploited resources in the studied farming system, the present situation is not regarded as one of irrational and suboptimal exploitation of resources. Instead, unexploited resources imply opportunities for change, which provide the system with flexibility to rapidly adjust agricultural production to varying and uncertain conditions of production. Full article
Open AccessArticle Household Solar Photovoltaics: Supplier of Marginal Abatement, or Primary Source of Low-Emission Power?
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1406-1442; doi:10.3390/su5041406
Received: 24 February 2013 / Revised: 15 March 2013 / Accepted: 18 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1672 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With declining system costs and assuming a short energy payback period, photovoltaics (PV) should, at face value, be able to make a meaningful contribution to reducing the emission intensity of Australia’s electricity system. However, solar is an intermittent power source and households remain
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With declining system costs and assuming a short energy payback period, photovoltaics (PV) should, at face value, be able to make a meaningful contribution to reducing the emission intensity of Australia’s electricity system. However, solar is an intermittent power source and households remain completely dependent on a “less than green” electricity grid for reliable electricity. Further, much of the energy impact of PV occurs outside of the conventional boundaries of PV life-cycle analyses (LCA). This paper examines these competing observations and explores the broader impacts of a high penetration of household PV using Melbourne, Victoria as a reference. It concludes that in a grid dominated by unsequestered coal and gas, PV provides a legitimate source of emission abatement at high, but declining costs, with the potential for network and peak demand support. It may be technically possible to integrate a high penetration of PV, but the economic and energy cost of accommodating high-penetration PV erodes much of the benefits. Future developments in PV, storage, and integration technologies may allow PV to take on a greater long term role, but in the time horizon usually discussed in climate policy, a large-scale expansion of household PV may hinder rather than assist deep cuts to the emission intensity of Australia’s electricity system. Full article
Open AccessArticle Knowledge of Indonesian University Students on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1443-1460; doi:10.3390/su5041443
Received: 16 January 2013 / Revised: 20 February 2013 / Accepted: 22 February 2013 / Published: 28 March 2013
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Abstract
Graduates of university programs addressing sustainable resource management are likely to shape strategies for natural resource use in the future. Their academic training needs to foster student knowledge of the multiple dimensions of natural resource management. This paper investigates university student understanding of
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Graduates of university programs addressing sustainable resource management are likely to shape strategies for natural resource use in the future. Their academic training needs to foster student knowledge of the multiple dimensions of natural resource management. This paper investigates university student understanding of such challenges. We differentiated situational, conceptual, and procedural types of knowledge, and three domains of knowledge (ecological, socio-economic and institutional knowledge), and sampled beginners (third semester) and seniors (seventh semester) of seven natural resource related programs at the leading Indonesian institution of higher education in the field of natural resource management (IPB Bogor; n = 882). The questionnaire consisted of multiple choice and rating scale items covering ‘locally’ relevant open-access resource use issues. With a confirmatory tau-equivalent LISREL model, construct validity was assessed. The ability to extract relevant information from problem descriptions provided (situational knowledge) did not differ between third and seventh semester students. While it was high for ecological and socio-economic items, it was markedly lower for institutional knowledge. Knowledge of relevant scientific concepts (conceptual knowledge) increased in the ecological and socio-economic domains but the effect was small. Conceptual knowledge in the socio-economical and institutional domains tended to be lower than ecological knowledge. Although there was certain improvement, student judgments on the efficacy of resource management options (procedural knowledge) differed strongly from expert judgments for beginners as well as for senior students. We conclude that many of the university students in the sampled programs displayed substantial gaps in their capacity to solve complex, real-world natural resource management problems. Specifically, the socio-economic and institutional knowledge domains—and their integration with ecological knowledge—may require attention by educational planners. Full article
Open AccessArticle Adaptation to and Recovery from Global Catastrophe
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1461-1479; doi:10.3390/su5041461
Received: 20 January 2013 / Revised: 28 January 2013 / Accepted: 19 March 2013 / Published: 28 March 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (718 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global catastrophes, such as nuclear war, pandemics and ecological collapse threaten the sustainability of human civilization. To date, most work on global catastrophes has focused on preventing the catastrophes, neglecting what happens to any catastrophe survivors. To address this gap in the literature,
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Global catastrophes, such as nuclear war, pandemics and ecological collapse threaten the sustainability of human civilization. To date, most work on global catastrophes has focused on preventing the catastrophes, neglecting what happens to any catastrophe survivors. To address this gap in the literature, this paper discusses adaptation to and recovery from global catastrophe. The paper begins by discussing the importance of global catastrophe adaptation and recovery, noting that successful adaptation/recovery could have value on even astronomical scales. The paper then discusses how the adaptation/recovery could proceed and makes connections to several lines of research. Research on resilience theory is considered in detail and used to develop a new method for analyzing the environmental and social stressors that global catastrophe survivors would face. This method can help identify options for increasing survivor resilience and promoting successful adaptation and recovery. A key point is that survivors may exist in small isolated communities disconnected from global trade and, thus, must be able to survive and rebuild on their own. Understanding the conditions facing isolated survivors can help promote successful adaptation and recovery. That said, the processes of global catastrophe adaptation and recovery are highly complex and uncertain; further research would be of great value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle CA-Markov Analysis of Constrained Coastal Urban Growth Modeling: Hua Hin Seaside City, Thailand
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1480-1500; doi:10.3390/su5041480
Received: 26 November 2012 / Revised: 25 February 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 2 April 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1769 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thailand, a developing country in Southeast Asia, is experiencing rapid development, particularly urban growth as a response to the expansion of the tourism industry. Hua Hin city provides an excellent example of an area where urbanization has flourished due to tourism. This study
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Thailand, a developing country in Southeast Asia, is experiencing rapid development, particularly urban growth as a response to the expansion of the tourism industry. Hua Hin city provides an excellent example of an area where urbanization has flourished due to tourism. This study focuses on how the dynamic urban horizontal expansion of the seaside city of Hua Hin is constrained by the coast, thus making sustainability for this popular tourist destination—managing and planning for its local inhabitants, its visitors, and its sites—an issue. The study examines the association of land use type and land use change by integrating Geo-Information technology, a statistic model, and CA-Markov analysis for sustainable land use planning. The study identifies that the land use types and land use changes from the year 1999 to 2008 have changed as a result of increased mobility; this trend, in turn, has everything to do with urban horizontal expansion. The changing sequences of land use type have developed from forest area to agriculture, from agriculture to grassland, then to bare land and built-up areas. Coastal urban growth has, for a decade, been expanding horizontally from a downtown center along the beach to the western area around the golf course, the southern area along the beach, the southwest grassland area, and then the northern area near the airport. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effect of Powdered Activated Carbon to Reduce Fouling in Membrane Bioreactors: A Sustainable Solution. Case Study
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1501-1509; doi:10.3390/su5041501
Received: 28 January 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2013 / Accepted: 27 March 2013 / Published: 3 April 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (649 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Membrane Bio Reactors (MBRs) are mainly used for industrial wastewaters applications where their costs can be more easily afforded. High costs are basically due to energy consumption and membrane cleaning or replacement. Membrane fouling is responsible for reducing treated water production and increasing
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Membrane Bio Reactors (MBRs) are mainly used for industrial wastewaters applications where their costs can be more easily afforded. High costs are basically due to energy consumption and membrane cleaning or replacement. Membrane fouling is responsible for reducing treated water production and increasing maintenance as well as operation costs. According to previous researches, the addition of Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) in high dosages could reduce membrane fouling; but such concentrations are economically unsustainable for operative conditions. A MBR pilot plant, fed by mixed liquor of a full-scale activated sludge process from a municipal wastewater treatment plant, was operated dosing low PAC concentrations (0, 2, 5, 10 and 20 mg·L−1, respectively). Experiments were also carried out at two different temperatures corresponding to summer and winter conditions. Results indicated that PAC addition was effective at the low dosages (2 and 5 mg·L−1) by reducing the permeate flux loss (from 16 up to 27%, respectively) while higher PAC concentrations turns out in a useless cost increase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Waste Management)
Open AccessArticle Impacts of Climatic Hazards on the Small Wetland Ecosystems (ponds): Evidence from Some Selected Areas of Coastal Bangladesh
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1510-1521; doi:10.3390/su5041510
Received: 9 February 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2013 / Accepted: 27 March 2013 / Published: 3 April 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (773 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most climate related hazards in Bangladesh are linked to water. The climate vulnerable poor—the poorest and most marginalized communities living in remote villages along Bangladesh’s coastal zone that are vulnerable to climate change impacts and who possess low adaptive capacity are most affected
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Most climate related hazards in Bangladesh are linked to water. The climate vulnerable poor—the poorest and most marginalized communities living in remote villages along Bangladesh’s coastal zone that are vulnerable to climate change impacts and who possess low adaptive capacity are most affected by lack of access to safe water sources. Many climate vulnerable poor households depend on small isolated wetlands (ponds) for daily drinking water needs and other domestic requirements, including cooking, bathing and washing. Similarly, the livelihoods of many of these households also depend on access to ponds due to activities of small-scale irrigation for rice farming, vegetable farming and home gardening. This is particularly true for those poorest and most marginalized communities living in Satkhira, one of the most vulnerable coastal districts in south-west Bangladesh. These households rely on pond water for vegetable farming and home gardening, especially during winter months. However, these pond water sources are highly vulnerable to climate change induced hazards, including flooding, drought, salinity intrusion, cyclone and storm surges, erratic rainfall patterns and variations in temperature. Cyclone Sidr and Cyclone Aila, which hit Bangladesh in 2007 and 2009 respectively, led to a significant number of such ponds being inundated with saline water. This impacted upon and resulted in wide scale implications for climate vulnerable poor households, including reduced availability of safe drinking water, and safe water for health and hygiene practices and livelihood activities. Those households living in remote areas and who are most affected by these climate impacts are dependent on water being supplied through aid, as well as travelling long distances to collect safe water for drinking purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Divergent Evolution in Education for Sustainable Development Policy in the United Kingdom: Current Status, Best Practice, and Opportunities for the Future
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1522-1544; doi:10.3390/su5041522
Received: 31 January 2013 / Revised: 23 March 2013 / Accepted: 27 March 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (763 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper discusses the current status of all aspects of education for sustainable development (ESD) across the United Kingdom (UK), drawing on evidence from its political jurisdictions (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), and setting out some characteristics of best practice. The paper
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This paper discusses the current status of all aspects of education for sustainable development (ESD) across the United Kingdom (UK), drawing on evidence from its political jurisdictions (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales), and setting out some characteristics of best practice. The paper analyzes current barriers to progress, and outlines future opportunities for enhancing the core role of education and learning in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. Although effective ESD exists at all levels, and in most learning contexts across the UK, with good teaching and enhanced learner outcomes, the authors argue that a wider adoption of ESD would result from the development of a strategic framework which puts it at the core of the education policy agenda in every jurisdiction. This would provide much needed coherence, direction and impetus to existing initiatives, scale up and build on existing good practice, and prevent unnecessary duplication of effort and resources. The absence of an overarching UK strategy for sustainable development that sets out a clear vision about the contribution learning can make to its goals is a major barrier to progress. This strategy needs to be coupled with the establishment of a pan-UK forum for overseeing the promotion, implementation and evaluation of ESD. Full article
Open AccessArticle “Friday off”: Reducing Working Hours in Europe
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1545-1567; doi:10.3390/su5041545
Received: 23 January 2013 / Revised: 16 February 2013 / Accepted: 25 March 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1109 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article explores the pros and cons for reducing working hours in Europe. To arrive to an informed judgment we review critically the theoretical and empirical literature, mostly from economics, concerning the relation between working hours on the one hand, and productivity, employment,
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This article explores the pros and cons for reducing working hours in Europe. To arrive to an informed judgment we review critically the theoretical and empirical literature, mostly from economics, concerning the relation between working hours on the one hand, and productivity, employment, quality of life, and the environment, on the other. We adopt a binary economics distinction between capital and labor productiveness, and are concerned with how working hours may be reduced without harming the earning capacity of workers. There are reasons to believe that reducing working hours may absorb some unemployment, especially in the short-run, even if less than what is advocated by proponents of the proposal. Further, there may well be strong benefits for the quality of peoples’ lives. Environmental benefits are likely but depend crucially on complementary policies or social conditions that will ensure that the time liberated will not be directed to resource-intensive or environmentally harmful consumption. It is questionable whether reduced working hours are sustainable in the long-term given resource limits and climate change. We conclude that while the results of reducing working hours are uncertain, this may be a risk worth taking, especially as an interim measure that may relieve unemployment while other necessary structural changes are instituted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degrowth: The Economic Alternative for the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle Consistent Aggregation of Generalized Sustainable Values from the Firm Level to Sectoral, Regional or Industry Levels
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1568-1576; doi:10.3390/su5041568
Received: 11 February 2013 / Revised: 28 March 2013 / Accepted: 28 March 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study presents a systematic method for aggregating firm level sustainable value indicators to sector, region or industry levels. The proposed method applies the generalized sustainable value that is based on frontier production functions. The method is illustrated by an empirical application to
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This study presents a systematic method for aggregating firm level sustainable value indicators to sector, region or industry levels. The proposed method applies the generalized sustainable value that is based on frontier production functions. The method is illustrated by an empirical application to the Finnish crop and dairy sectors, where the benchmark technology is estimated by data envelopment analysis. Our efficiency assessment shows that the representative crop farm achieves only about a half of its potential output. Efficiency of the representative dairy farm is somewhat higher. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Assessment of Thailand’s Biofuel Development
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1577-1597; doi:10.3390/su5041577
Received: 2 March 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 3 April 2013 / Published: 15 April 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (783 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper provides an assessment of first generation biofuel (ethanol and biodiesel) development in Thailand in terms of feedstock used, production trends, planned targets and policies and discusses the biofuel sustainability issues—environmental, socio-economic and food security aspects. The policies, measures and incentives for
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The paper provides an assessment of first generation biofuel (ethanol and biodiesel) development in Thailand in terms of feedstock used, production trends, planned targets and policies and discusses the biofuel sustainability issues—environmental, socio-economic and food security aspects. The policies, measures and incentives for the development of biofuel include targets, blending mandates and favorable tax schemes to encourage production and consumption of biofuels. Biofuel development improves energy security, rural income and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but issues related to land and water use and food security are important considerations to be addressed for its large scale application. Second generation biofuels derived from agricultural residues perform favorably on environmental and social sustainability issues in comparison to first generation biofuel sources. The authors estimate that sustainably-derived agricultural crop residues alone could amount to 10.4 × 106 bone dry tonnes per year. This has the technical potential of producing 1.14–3.12 billion liters per year of ethanol to possibly displace between 25%–69% of Thailand’s 2011 gasoline consumption as transportation fuel. Alternatively, the same amount of residue could provide 0.8–2.1 billion liters per year of diesel (biomass to Fischer-Tropsch diesel) to potentially offset 6%–15% of national diesel consumption in the transportation sector. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reclaim “Education” in Environmental and Sustainability Education Research
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1598-1616; doi:10.3390/su5041598
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 12 March 2013 / Accepted: 2 April 2013 / Published: 16 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (538 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The nascent research area of Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) needs a firm grounding in educational philosophy in order to focus more on education. This conclusion is based on experiences at two recent conferences focusing on research in this field. Issues related
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The nascent research area of Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) needs a firm grounding in educational philosophy in order to focus more on education. This conclusion is based on experiences at two recent conferences focusing on research in this field. Issues related to content, attitudes and long-term aims dominated at these conferences, while learning processes were often taken for granted. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development and Airport Surface Access: The Role of Technological Innovation and Behavioral Change
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1617-1631; doi:10.3390/su5041617
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 19 March 2013 / Accepted: 25 March 2013 / Published: 17 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable development reflects an underlying tension to achieve economic growth whilst addressing environmental challenges, and this is particularly the case for the aviation sector. Although much of the aviation-related focus has fallen on reducing aircraft emissions, airports have also been under increasing pressure
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Sustainable development reflects an underlying tension to achieve economic growth whilst addressing environmental challenges, and this is particularly the case for the aviation sector. Although much of the aviation-related focus has fallen on reducing aircraft emissions, airports have also been under increasing pressure to support the vision of a low carbon energy future. One of the main sources of airport-related emissions is passenger journeys to and from airports (the surface access component of air travel), which is the focus of this paper. Two aspects associated with the relationship between sustainable development and airport surface access are considered. Firstly, there is an evaluation of three technological innovation options that will enable sustainable transport solutions for surface access journeys: telepresence systems to reduce drop-off/pick-up trips, techniques to improve public transport and options to encourage the sharing of rides. Secondly, the role of behavioral change for surface access journeys from a theoretical perspective, using empirical data from Manchester airport, is evaluated. Finally, the contribution of technology and behavioral intervention measures to improvements in sustainable development are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Locative Meaning-making: An Arts-based Approach to Learning for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1645-1660; doi:10.3390/su5041645
Received: 11 February 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2013 / Accepted: 9 April 2013 / Published: 18 April 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The term sustainable development is often criticized for having lost credibility due to a lack of clear-cut delineation. The same holds true for education designed to foster sustainable development often referred to as education for sustainable development (ESD). This contribution agrees that the
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The term sustainable development is often criticized for having lost credibility due to a lack of clear-cut delineation. The same holds true for education designed to foster sustainable development often referred to as education for sustainable development (ESD). This contribution agrees that the term suffers from a want of meaning, but argues that the persistent hunt for a definition—i.e., a fixed generic description—produces rather than resolves this deficit. What sustainable development means is context and time dependent and is therefore necessarily ambiguous, open-ended and dynamic. Hence, the success of ESD depends on the paradoxical imperative of reducing vagueness while at the same time maintaining ambiguity. This paper explores how this can be established and proposes a process informed by the arts.  Drawing from dialogic practices, site-specific theatre and a project conducted in a British village, this writing discusses elements that constitute a process of “context-based meaning finding”. It concludes that ESD essentially starts with and revolves around re-embedding SD in life and the act of living, engaging people in place through processes in which communities yield their own, context and time specific interpretations of sustainable development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spreading the Eco-Message: Using Proactive Coping to Aid Eco-Rep Behavior Change Programming
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1661-1679; doi:10.3390/su5041661
Received: 6 March 2013 / Revised: 30 March 2013 / Accepted: 7 April 2013 / Published: 18 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (384 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Making pro-environmental behavior changes can be difficult, particularly when these changes challenge daily routines and comfortable lifestyles. We designed and implemented an eco-representative intervention program to help students reduce their energy use by proactively coping with barriers to pro-environmental behavior change, and then
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Making pro-environmental behavior changes can be difficult, particularly when these changes challenge daily routines and comfortable lifestyles. We designed and implemented an eco-representative intervention program to help students reduce their energy use by proactively coping with barriers to pro-environmental behavior change, and then communicate effective behavior change strategies to student peers. Twenty-nine first-year college students participated in a four-week proactive coping training to change five environmentally impactful behaviors and then spread behavior change messages to fellow residents during a two-week energy challenge. Eco-reps successfully changed their own behaviors in a pro-environmental direction by generating important barriers and successful facilitators for behavior change, and eco-rep residence halls were more likely to reduce energy and maintain reductions compared to non-eco-rep halls. Implications for future environmental behavior change interventions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Indoor Thermal Comfort: The Behavioral Component
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1680-1699; doi:10.3390/su5041680
Received: 25 February 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 3 April 2013 / Published: 22 April 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (926 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This is a study of how indoor temperature settings have changed over time in the United States based on data from the Energy Information Administration’s, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). It is shown that Americans have moderately raised indoor temperature settings during the
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This is a study of how indoor temperature settings have changed over time in the United States based on data from the Energy Information Administration’s, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). It is shown that Americans have moderately raised indoor temperature settings during the heating season over the past thirty years. It is also shown that most Americans keep their homes relatively cool in the summertime and are generally averse to implementing temperature setbacks. It is revealed that occupants in lower-income homes tend to set their thermostats higher in winter than other income groups, but that the most intense cooling tends to take place in both low-income and high-income homes. As expected, renters tend to heat and cool more intensively than homeowners. Getting Americans to change their temperature settings in order to save energy is not easy even though it comes with the promise of financial savings. The use of programmable thermostats thus far has proved unsuccessful. Greater utilization of social marketing to achieve energy savings is suggested, as well as a renewed effort on the part of electricity suppliers to work more closely with homeowners as part of the rollout of the “smart grid”. Full article
Open AccessArticle Optimal and Sustainable Plant Refurbishment in Historical Buildings: A Study of an Ancient Monastery Converted into a Showroom in Florence
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1700-1724; doi:10.3390/su5041700
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 25 March 2013 / Accepted: 9 April 2013 / Published: 22 April 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1920 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this research is to study the possibility and sustainability of retrofit and refurbishment design solutions on historical buildings converted to different uses and often clashing with their original purpose and architectural features. The building studied is an ancient monastery located
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The aim of this research is to study the possibility and sustainability of retrofit and refurbishment design solutions on historical buildings converted to different uses and often clashing with their original purpose and architectural features. The building studied is an ancient monastery located in the historical center of Florence (Italy). Today the original cloister is covered over by a single glazed pitched roof and used as a fashion showroom. Our proposed solution concerns a reversible and sustainable plant design integrated with an active transparent building casing. The existing glazed pitched roof was reconsidered and re-designed as part of the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plant system, based on the functioning of an active thermal buffer to control the high heat flow rates and external thermal loads due to solar radiation. Hourly whole building energy analysis was carried out to check the effectiveness and energy sustainability of our proposed solution. Results obtained showed, from the historical-architectural, energy and environmental points of view, its sustainability due to the building-plant system integration and interaction with its location, the external climatic conditions and defined expected uses, in particular with reference to indoor thermal comfort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing Heritage in the Light of Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Do We Teach What We Preach? An International Comparison of Problem- and Project-Based Learning Courses in Sustainability
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1725-1746; doi:10.3390/su5041725
Received: 11 February 2013 / Revised: 10 April 2013 / Accepted: 11 April 2013 / Published: 23 April 2013
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (843 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Problem- and project-based learning (PPBL) courses in sustainability address real-world sustainability problems. They are considered powerful educational settings for building students’ sustainability expertise. In practice, however, these courses often fail to fully incorporate sustainability competencies, participatory research education, and experiential learning. Only few
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Problem- and project-based learning (PPBL) courses in sustainability address real-world sustainability problems. They are considered powerful educational settings for building students’ sustainability expertise. In practice, however, these courses often fail to fully incorporate sustainability competencies, participatory research education, and experiential learning. Only few studies exist that compare and appraise PPBL courses internationally against a synthesized body of the literature to create an evidence base for designing PPBL courses. This article introduces a framework for PPBL courses in sustainability and reviews PPBL practice in six programs around the world (Europe, North America, Australia). Data was collected through semi-structured qualitative interviews with course instructors and program officers, as well as document analysis. Findings indicate that the reviewed PPBL courses are of high quality and carefully designed. Each PPBL course features innovative approaches to partnerships between the university and private organizations, extended peer-review, and the role of knowledge brokers. Yet, the findings also indicate weaknesses including paucity of critical learning objectives, solution-oriented research methodology, and follow-up research on implementation. Through the comparative design, the study reveals improvement strategies for the identified challenges and provides guidance for design and redesign of PPBL courses. Full article
Open AccessArticle Public Values and Community Energy: Lessons from the US and UK
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1747-1763; doi:10.3390/su5041747
Received: 31 January 2013 / Revised: 8 April 2013 / Accepted: 16 April 2013 / Published: 23 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (528 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines some of the normative aspects of “community energy” programmes—defined here as decentralized forms of energy production and distributed energy technologies where production decisions are made as close as possible to sources of consumption. Such projects might also display a degree
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This paper examines some of the normative aspects of “community energy” programmes—defined here as decentralized forms of energy production and distributed energy technologies where production decisions are made as close as possible to sources of consumption. Such projects might also display a degree of separation from the formal political process. The development of a community energy system often generates a great deal of debate about both the degree of public support for such programmes and the values around which programmes ought to be organized. Community energy programmes also raise important issues regarding the energy choice problem, including questions of process, that is, by whom a project is developed and the influence of both community and exogenous actors, as well as certain outcome issues regarding the spatial and social distribution of energy. The case studies, drawn from community energy programmes in both the United States and the United Kingdom, allow for a careful examination of all of these factors, considering in particular the complex interplay and juxtaposition between the ideas of “public value” and “public values”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Policy and Sustainability)

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Open AccessReview Explaining the Paradox: How Pro-Environmental Behaviour can both Thwart and Foster Well-Being
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1372-1386; doi:10.3390/su5041372
Received: 25 January 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2013 / Accepted: 7 March 2013 / Published: 25 March 2013
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although pro-environmental behaviour is often believed to be difficult, aggravating, and potentially threatening one’s quality of life, recent studies suggest that people who behave in a more pro-environmental way are actually more satisfied with their lives. In this manuscript, we aim to explain
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Although pro-environmental behaviour is often believed to be difficult, aggravating, and potentially threatening one’s quality of life, recent studies suggest that people who behave in a more pro-environmental way are actually more satisfied with their lives. In this manuscript, we aim to explain this apparent paradox by reviewing theoretical arguments and empirical evidence for both sides of the coin: why would acting pro-environmentally decrease one’s well-being, and why would it increase one’s well-being? We conclude that part of the answer lies in a different view on what well-being entails, and more specifically, whether the focus is on hedonic well-being (i.e., feeling pleasure) or eudaimonic well-being (i.e., feeling meaningful). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessReview Challenges for Crop Production Research in Improving Land Use, Productivity and Sustainability
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1632-1644; doi:10.3390/su5041632
Received: 20 December 2012 / Revised: 22 February 2013 / Accepted: 2 April 2013 / Published: 17 April 2013
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (661 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The demand for food, feed, and feedstocks for bioenergy and biofactory plants will increase proportionally due to population growth, prosperity, and bioeconomic growth. Securing food supply and meeting demand for biomass will involve many biological and agro-ecological aspects such as genetic plant improvement,
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The demand for food, feed, and feedstocks for bioenergy and biofactory plants will increase proportionally due to population growth, prosperity, and bioeconomic growth. Securing food supply and meeting demand for biomass will involve many biological and agro-ecological aspects such as genetic plant improvement, sustainable land use, water-saving irrigation, and integrated nutrient management as well as control of pests, diseases and weeds. It will be necessary to raise biomass production and economic yield per unit of land—not only under optimum growing conditions, but even more under conditions constrained by climate, water availability, and soil quality. Most of the advanced agronomic research by national and international research institutes is dedicated to the major food crops: maize, rice, wheat, and potato. However, research on crops grown as feedstock, for bio-energy and industrial use under conditions with biophysical constraints, is lagging behind. Global and regional assessments of the potential for growing crops are mostly based on model and explorative studies under optimum conditions, or with either water or nitrogen deficiencies. More investments in combined experimental and modeling research are needed to develop and evaluate new crops and cropping systems under a wide range of agro-ecological conditions. An integral assessment of the biophysical production capacity and the impact on resource use, biodiversity and socio-economic factors should be carried out before launching large-scale crop production systems in marginal environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)

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