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Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2013), Pages 1764-2287

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Open AccessArticle Coping with Change: A Closer Look at the Underlying Attributes of Change and the Individual Response to Unstable Environments
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1764-1788; doi:10.3390/su5051764
Received: 20 March 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 17 April 2013 / Published: 25 April 2013
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Abstract
Although the study of environmental change has long been of academic interest, the effects of change have become a much more pressing concern in the past few decades due to the often disruptive effect of human expansion and innovation. Researchers from many fields
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Although the study of environmental change has long been of academic interest, the effects of change have become a much more pressing concern in the past few decades due to the often disruptive effect of human expansion and innovation. Researchers from many fields contribute to understanding our footprint on the natural world, problems we cause, and strategies we can employ to protect key species and ecosystems. Unfortunately, environmental change and its consequences are often studied without an awareness of the inherent attributes of the changes. As a result, the relevance of new advances in this field may be easily missed or misunderstood, and existing knowledge is not optimally applied. In this paper, we aim to facilitate the multi-disciplinary comparison of studies on environmental change, by offering a meta-level perspective on the process of change from the point of view of the individual animal. We propose an inclusive definition of change that can be applied across contexts, in which we take our understanding of “change” from an event to an interaction between a physical occurrence and an individual’s state. Furthermore, we discuss key event- and individual-based attributes of change, their relevance in today’s changing world, and how they relate to animals’ available behavioural, physiological and cross-generational responses. We hope that by uncovering the underlying fundamental (or structure) of change, fellow scientists may better share their experience and knowledge gained from years of studying individual species and situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Open AccessArticle Growing Green and Competitive—A Case Study of a Swedish Pulp Mill
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1789-1805; doi:10.3390/su5051789
Received: 28 January 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (674 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The experiences of past efforts of industrial pollution control while maintaining competitiveness should be of great value to research and policy practice addressing sustainability issues today. In this article, we analyze the environmental adaptation of the Swedish pulp industry during the period 1970–1990
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The experiences of past efforts of industrial pollution control while maintaining competitiveness should be of great value to research and policy practice addressing sustainability issues today. In this article, we analyze the environmental adaptation of the Swedish pulp industry during the period 1970–1990 as illustrated by the sulfite pulp producer Domsjö mill. We investigate how this company managed to adapt to heavy transformation pressure from increasing international competition in combination with strict national environmental regulations during the 1960s to the early 1990s. In line with the so-called Porter hypothesis, the company was able to coordinate the problems that were environmental in nature with activities aiming at production efficiency goals and the development of new products. Swedish environmental agencies and legislation facilitated this “win-win” situation by a flexible but still challenging regulatory approach towards the company. From the early 1990s and onwards, the greening of the pulp industry was also a result of increased market pressure for green paper products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Measuring Sprawl across the Urban Rural Continuum Using an Amalgamated Sprawl Index
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1806-1828; doi:10.3390/su5051806
Received: 5 February 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 8 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban sprawl is rapidly transforming the landscape of Kentucky’s prime farmland from a dominant agricultural land use pattern to a patchwork of dispersed and loosely defined parcels. This state, located in the east central portion of the U.S., is not unlike many states
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Urban sprawl is rapidly transforming the landscape of Kentucky’s prime farmland from a dominant agricultural land use pattern to a patchwork of dispersed and loosely defined parcels. This state, located in the east central portion of the U.S., is not unlike many states considered rural, nor is it unlike many rural regions found throughout the world where urban sprawl is concentrated in metropolitan areas that are often encroaching into these rural areas. Authors have argued for and against urbanization patterns generally understood to be sprawl on the basis of social, economic, and biophysical opportunities and constraints. Finding consensus in the literature about defining and measuring urban sprawl is difficult. This paper demonstrates a method for cost effectively measuring urban development using National Land Cover Data, Census data, and ancillary data across 34 counties. Based on seven indicators framed around the amount, configuration, and per capita land usage, an amalgamated sprawl index (ASI) is demonstrated through an example in north central Kentucky, USA. While the public believes this growth area of Kentucky is rapidly sprawling, this study indicates the pattern of sprawl is spreading faster in areas not obvious to this same public. Full article
Open AccessArticle Persuasive Normative Messages: The Influence of Injunctive and Personal Norms on Using Free Plastic Bags
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1829-1844; doi:10.3390/su5051829
Received: 17 January 2013 / Revised: 11 April 2013 / Accepted: 16 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (661 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this exploratory field-study, we examined how normative messages (i.e., activating an injunctive norm, personal norm, or both) could encourage shoppers to use fewer free plastic bags for their shopping in addition to the supermarket’s standard environmental message aimed at reducing
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In this exploratory field-study, we examined how normative messages (i.e., activating an injunctive norm, personal norm, or both) could encourage shoppers to use fewer free plastic bags for their shopping in addition to the supermarket’s standard environmental message aimed at reducing plastic bags. In a one-way subjects-design (N = 200) at a local supermarket, we showed that shoppers used significantly fewer free plastic bags in the injunctive, personal and combined normative message condition than in the condition where only an environmental message was present. The combined normative message did result in the smallest uptake of free plastic bags compared to the injunctive and personal normative-only message, although these differences were not significant. Our findings imply that re-wording the supermarket’s environmental message by including normative information could be a promising way to reduce the use of free plastic bags, which will ultimately benefit the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Mobility: Using a Global Energy Model to Inform Vehicle Technology Choices in a Decarbonized Economy
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1845-1862; doi:10.3390/su5051845
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 11 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2261 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The reduction of CO2 emissions associated with vehicle use is an important element of a global transition to sustainable mobility and is a major long-term challenge for society. Vehicle and fuel technologies are part of a global energy system, and assessing the
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The reduction of CO2 emissions associated with vehicle use is an important element of a global transition to sustainable mobility and is a major long-term challenge for society. Vehicle and fuel technologies are part of a global energy system, and assessing the impact of the availability of clean energy technologies and advanced vehicle technologies on sustainable mobility is a complex task. The global energy transition (GET) model accounts for interactions between the different energy sectors, and we illustrate its use to inform vehicle technology choices in a decarbonizing economy. The aim of this study is to assess how uncertainties in future vehicle technology cost, as well as how developments in other energy sectors, affect cost-effective fuel and vehicle technology choices. Given the uncertainties in future costs and efficiencies for light-duty vehicle and fuel technologies, there is no clear fuel/vehicle technology winner that can be discerned at the present time. We conclude that a portfolio approach with research and development of multiple fuel and vehicle technology pathways is the best way forward to achieve the desired result of affordable and sustainable personal mobility. The practical ramifications of this analysis are illustrated in the portfolio approach to providing sustainable mobility adopted by the Ford Motor Company. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decarbonised Economy)
Open AccessArticle Transport Pathways for Light Duty Vehicles: Towards a 2° Scenario
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1863-1874; doi:10.3390/su5051863
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 19 March 2013 / Accepted: 3 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (758 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transport sector is the second largest and one of the fastest growing energy end-use sectors, representing 24% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. The International Energy Agency has developed scenarios for the transport sector within the overall concept of mitigation pathways that
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The transport sector is the second largest and one of the fastest growing energy end-use sectors, representing 24% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. The International Energy Agency has developed scenarios for the transport sector within the overall concept of mitigation pathways that would be required to limit global warming to 2 °C. This paper builds on these scenarios and illustrates various passenger travel-related strategies for achieving a 2° transport scenario, in particular looking at how much technology improvement is needed in the light of different changes in travel and modal shares in OECD and non-OECD countries. It finds that an integrated approach using all feasible policy options is likely to deliver the required emission reductions at least cost, and that stronger travel-related measures result in significantly lower technological requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Bioenergy Consumption and Biogas Potential in Cambodian Households
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1875-1892; doi:10.3390/su5051875
Received: 11 February 2013 / Revised: 3 April 2013 / Accepted: 9 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (938 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residential bioenergy consumption and bioenergy resources based on by-products of residential agricultural production and animal husbandry have been analyzed statistically, based on a nationwide residential livelihood and energy survey conducted in Cambodia in 2009. Furthermore, the potential for biomethanation, residential biogas consumption and
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Residential bioenergy consumption and bioenergy resources based on by-products of residential agricultural production and animal husbandry have been analyzed statistically, based on a nationwide residential livelihood and energy survey conducted in Cambodia in 2009. Furthermore, the potential for biomethanation, residential biogas consumption and small-scale power generation for non-electrified rural areas has been assessed. Household potential of biogas substrates in Cambodia, based on nationally representative data has not been presented earlier. This paper proposes mixtures of substrates for biogas production for various livelihood zones of Cambodia. The occurrence of biomass suitable for biomethanation is most favorable in unelectrified rural areas, except for fishing villages. The theoretical daily biogas potential from animal dung and rice husk appears to be promising for households in unelectrified rural villages, both for household digesters and units designed for small-scale electricity generation. Theoretical CH4 content of biogas was 63.9% and specific biogas yield 0.41 Nm3/kg for households in unelectrified villages. Based on the survey, the energy content of biogas potential is 25.5 PJ per year. This study shows that biogas has nationally significant technical potential in Cambodia. Full article
Open AccessArticle Mature Hybrid Poplar Riparian Buffers along Farm Streams Produce High Yields in Response to Soil Fertility Assessed Using Three Methods
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1893-1916; doi:10.3390/su5051893
Received: 22 March 2013 / Revised: 16 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2846 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study had three main objectives: (1) to evaluate the aboveground biomass and volume yield of three unrelated hybrid poplar clones in 9 year-old riparian buffer strips located on four farms of southern Québec, Canada; (2) to compare yield data at 9 years
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This study had three main objectives: (1) to evaluate the aboveground biomass and volume yield of three unrelated hybrid poplar clones in 9 year-old riparian buffer strips located on four farms of southern Québec, Canada; (2) to compare yield data at 9 years with previous data (at 6 years); (3) to evaluate how soil fertility, measured using three different soil testing methods (soil nutrient stocks, soil nutrient concentrations, soil nutrient supply rates), is related to yield. Across the four sites, hybrid poplar productivity after 9 years ranged from 116 to 450 m3ha−1, for stem wood volume, and from 51 to 193 megagrams per hectare (Mg ha−1), for woody dry biomass. High volume and woody dry biomass yields (26.3 to 49.9 m3ha−1yr-1, and 11.4 to 21.4 Mg ha−1yr-1) were observed at the three most productive sites. From year 6 to 9, relatively high yield increases (8.9−15.1 m3ha−1yr−1) were observed at all sites, but the productivity gap between the less fertile site and the three other sites was widened. Clone MxB-915311 was the most productive across the four sites, while clone DxN-3570 was the least productive. However, at the most productive site, clone MxB-915311 experienced severe stem and branch breakages. Independently of the soil testing method used, available soil P was always the first soil factor explaining volume yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agroforestry)
Open AccessArticle Bringing People Back into Protected Forests in Developing Countries: Insights from Co-Management in Malawi
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1917-1943; doi:10.3390/su5051917
Received: 10 January 2013 / Revised: 1 February 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (992 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines struggles to bring people back into protected forests to enhance sustainable forest management and livelihoods using insights emerging from a co-management project in Malawi. It uses mixed social science methods and a process-based conceptualization of co-management to analyze experiences, and
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This study examines struggles to bring people back into protected forests to enhance sustainable forest management and livelihoods using insights emerging from a co-management project in Malawi. It uses mixed social science methods and a process-based conceptualization of co-management to analyze experiences, and theory of reciprocal altruism to explain major findings of continuing local forest-user commitment to co-management despite six years of conservation burdens largely for minimal financial benefits. It argues that overemphasis on cash incentives as the motivation for “self-interested” users to participate in co-management overlooks locally significant non-cash motivations, inflates local expectations, and creates perverse incentives that undermine socio-ecological goals. Some non-cash incentives outweighed cash-driven ones. Findings support broadening of incentives mechanisms, including via nested cross-scale institutional arrangements for holistic management that integrates adjacent forests into forest-reserve co-management. Strengthened institutions, improving community/government and intra-community trust, improved village forests easing pressure on the reserve, measures minimizing elite capture, and impetus from an external threat, enhanced forest condition. Generous forest rights and appropriate community licensing and benefit-sharing systems also helped. Bureaucratic/donor inefficiencies, wood-extraction challenges, poor forest-based enterprise development, and low resource value undermined performance. Insights on forest-management planning, fair cost-sharing, targeting the poor, and need for social learning are highlighted. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Complex Triangular Cells for the Evaluation of CO2 Emissions by Individuals instead of Nations in a Scenario for 2030
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1944-1959; doi:10.3390/su5051944
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 22 April 2013 / Accepted: 24 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
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Abstract
The concept of sustainable complex triangular cells may be applied to an individual of any human society. This concept was introduced in two recent articles. A case study was proposed to show the applicability of this new concept to Indian populations without contact
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The concept of sustainable complex triangular cells may be applied to an individual of any human society. This concept was introduced in two recent articles. A case study was proposed to show the applicability of this new concept to Indian populations without contact with civilization and with a low environmental impact. Here we propose to apply this concept to a recent study, which claims that the concept of “common but differentiated responsibilities” refers to the emissions of individuals instead of nations. The income distribution of a country was used to estimate how its fossil fuel CO2 emissions are distributed among its citizens and, from that a global CO2 distribution was constructed. We propose the extension of the concept of complex triangular cells where its area would be equivalent to the CO2 emission per individual. In addition, a new three-dimensional geometric model for the regular hexagonal structure is offered in which the sharing of natural resources (human cooperation) is employed to reduce CO2 emissions in two scenarios by 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decarbonised Economy)
Open AccessArticle Accounting for the Ecological Footprint of Materials in Consumer Goods at the Urban Scale
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1960-1973; doi:10.3390/su5051960
Received: 6 February 2013 / Revised: 13 April 2013 / Accepted: 26 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ecological footprint analysis (EFA) can be used by cities to account for their on-going demands on global renewable resources. To date, EFA has not been fully implemented as an urban policy and planning tool in part due to limitations of local data availability.
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Ecological footprint analysis (EFA) can be used by cities to account for their on-going demands on global renewable resources. To date, EFA has not been fully implemented as an urban policy and planning tool in part due to limitations of local data availability. In this paper we focus on the material consumption component of the urban ecological footprint and identify the ‘component, solid waste life cycle assessment approach’ as one that overcomes data limitations by using data many cities regularly collect: municipal, solid waste composition data which serves as a proxy for material consumption. The approach requires energy use and/or carbon dioxide emissions data from process LCA studies as well as agricultural and forest land data for calculation of a material’s ecological footprint conversion value. We reviewed the process LCA literature for twelve materials commonly consumed in cities and determined ecological footprint conversion values for each. We found a limited number of original LCA studies but were able to generate a range of values for each material. Our set of values highlights the importance for cities to identify both the quantities consumed and per unit production impacts of a material. Some materials like textiles and aluminum have high ecological footprints but make up relatively smaller proportions of urban waste streams than products like paper and diapers. Local government use of the solid waste LCA approach helps to clearly identify the ecological loads associated with the waste they manage on behalf of their residents. This direct connection can be used to communicate to citizens about stewardship, recycling and ecologically responsible consumption choices that contribute to urban sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle On the Non-Compliance in the North Sea Cod Stock
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1974-1993; doi:10.3390/su5051974
Received: 8 March 2013 / Revised: 15 April 2013 / Accepted: 17 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
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Abstract
This paper estimates the economic value of the North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) stock under recent catch and several recovery scenarios. The research presents results on: a) what the value of catches and biomass would have been if the EU fishing
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This paper estimates the economic value of the North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) stock under recent catch and several recovery scenarios. The research presents results on: a) what the value of catches and biomass would have been if the EU fishing fleet had followed the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea scientific recommendations (SRs) and Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in the 1986–2010 period; and b) what the value of catches and biomass will be for the 2010–2022 period if the fleet follows the current Common Fisheries Policy Reform (CFPR). Results show that the actual economic value of the stock for the 1986–2010 period has been US$7 billion, which is substantially lower than what would have been predicted had the industry followed the SRs (US$20.7 billion) or approved TACs (US$19.5 billion). Similarly, if catches do not follow the SRs or the approved TACs for the 2010–2022 period the estimated economic value of the stock is predicted to be lower than if they had done so. Further, the losses of non-compliance increase even when a scenario of 50% reduction of discards under the new CFPR is considered. We also show that the status of the stock is strongly dependent on the trade-offs generated by both the non-compliance of scientific recommendations and by the short-term economic incentives of the fishing industry. With most fishery resources fully exploited or overexploited in Europe, opportunities for development lie primarily in restoring depleted stocks and catching fish more efficiently, as is the case of the North Sea cod stock. Full article
Open AccessArticle Local Languages of Instruction as a Right in Education for Sustainable Development in Africa
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 1994-2017; doi:10.3390/su5051994
Received: 21 January 2013 / Revised: 8 April 2013 / Accepted: 18 April 2013 / Published: 6 May 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Today’s educational challenges in Africa have their roots in the colonial education system. The article explores the consequences of linguistic choices for quality education, self-determined development and children’s rights in education. The analysis centers on a case study of a curriculum change in
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Today’s educational challenges in Africa have their roots in the colonial education system. The article explores the consequences of linguistic choices for quality education, self-determined development and children’s rights in education. The analysis centers on a case study of a curriculum change in Zanzibar in which English has replaced Kiswahili as the language of instruction in the last years of primary school in Mathematics and Science subjects. The case study is grounded in an extensive review of theory and practices on the relationship between language of instruction, learning and rights in education. The field study researched the reasons behind the curriculum change, the extent to which schools were prepared for the change, and the consequences of the change for the learning environment. The article, therefore suggests that for the 21st century, Africa should place emphasis on rights policies that promotes not only access, but also inclusion and quality education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Human Diversity: Languages, Cultures, Epistemologies)
Open AccessArticle Paradoxes and Possibilities for a ‘Green’ Housing Sector: A Swedish Case
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2018-2035; doi:10.3390/su5052018
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 3 April 2013 / Accepted: 25 April 2013 / Published: 6 May 2013
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Abstract
As global and local visions for sustainable living environments are increasingly supported by policies and concrete practices in construction, the building and housing sector is seeking to mitigate its environmental impact as well as assume a greater social responsibility. The overarching policy objectives
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As global and local visions for sustainable living environments are increasingly supported by policies and concrete practices in construction, the building and housing sector is seeking to mitigate its environmental impact as well as assume a greater social responsibility. The overarching policy objectives set to concretize what a sustainable housing development entails, however, tend to rely on equivocal terminology, allowing a varied interpretation by key industry practitioners. Though in line with an ecological modernization paradigm in policy, the promotion of a market-driven environmentalism in housing faces multiple challenges as varying interests and perspectives collide. Supported by empirical findings of a semi-structured interview study conducted with housing developers in a new ‘green’ urban district in Göteborg, Sweden, theoretical frameworks surrounding the paradoxical path towards a sustainable housing development are presented. Inconsistencies between outspoken ambitions; social dimensions; and the framing of efficiency in new housing are discussed. Possibilities for the housing sector are given in the recognition of new forms of development, where a systemic perspective is required in the alignment between how industry, policy and the market perceives housing development and what is actually sustainable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle A Framework of Adaptive Risk Governance for Urban Planning
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2036-2059; doi:10.3390/su5052036
Received: 21 January 2013 / Revised: 7 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 6 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (780 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The notion “risk governance” refers to an integrated concept on how to deal with public risks in general, and so-called complex, ambiguous and uncertain risks in particular. These ideas have been informed by interdisciplinary research drawing from sociological and psychological research on risk,
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The notion “risk governance” refers to an integrated concept on how to deal with public risks in general, and so-called complex, ambiguous and uncertain risks in particular. These ideas have been informed by interdisciplinary research drawing from sociological and psychological research on risk, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and research by policy scientists and legal scholars. The notion of risk governance pertains to the many ways in which many actors, individuals and institutions, public and private, deal with risks. It includes formal institutions and regimes and informal arrangements. The paper will first develop an adaptive and integrative framework of risk governance and applies this model to the risks of urban planning. After a short summary of the roots of risk governance, key concepts, such as simple, uncertain, complex and ambiguous risks, will be discussed. The main emphasis will be on each of the five phases of risk governance: pre-assessment, interdisciplinary assessment, risk evaluation, risk management and risk communication. The paper will explain how these phases of risk governance can be applied to the area of urban planning and improve the dynamic sustainability of cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Global Insights Based on the Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI)
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2060-2076; doi:10.3390/su5052060
Received: 26 March 2013 / Revised: 22 April 2013 / Accepted: 26 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1014 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Energy access metrics are needed to track the progress towards providing sustainable energy for all. This paper presents advancements in the development of the Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI), as well as results and analysis for a number of developing countries. The MEPI
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Energy access metrics are needed to track the progress towards providing sustainable energy for all. This paper presents advancements in the development of the Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI), as well as results and analysis for a number of developing countries. The MEPI is a composite index designed to shed light on energy poverty by assessing the services that modern energy provides. The index captures both the incidence and intensity of energy poverty. It provides valuable insights–allowing the analysis of determinants of energy poverty–and, subsequently insights into policy efficacy. Building on previous work, this paper presents results obtained as a result of both increased data availability and enhanced methodology. Specifically, this analysis (i) includes an increased number of countries, and (ii) tracks the evolution of energy poverty over time of energy poverty in selected countries is reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measuring Socio-Economic Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability and Interest Group Participation in City Politics
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2077-2097; doi:10.3390/su5052077
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 28 April 2013 / Accepted: 30 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (601 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many cities across the United States have embraced programs aimed at achieving greater sustainability. This may seem surprising, particularly since adopting aggressive environmental protection programs is regarded by some as inimical to economic development. An alternative perspective is that in the modern city
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Many cities across the United States have embraced programs aimed at achieving greater sustainability. This may seem surprising, particularly since adopting aggressive environmental protection programs is regarded by some as inimical to economic development. An alternative perspective is that in the modern city sustainability can be part of an economic development strategy. What is largely missing from the literature on sustainable cities’ policies and programs is systematic analysis of the political dynamics that seem to affect support for, and adoption and implementation of, local sustainability policies. To explore the actual behavior of cities with respect to sustainability and economic development policies, two original databases on 50 large U.S. cities are used. One source of data is composed of survey responses from city councilors, agency administrators, and leaders of local advocacy groups in each of these cities. The second database contains information as to what these 50 cities actually do in terms of sustainable programs and policies. In testing a series of hypotheses, findings suggest that: a high number of programs aimed at achieving sustainability is linked to the inclusion of environmental advocacy groups; that this relationship is not compromised by business advocacy; and that inclusion of environmental groups in policymaking seems to be supported, rather than impeded, by high rates of economic growth by the cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Real-Time Study of Noxious Gas Emissions and Combustion Efficiency of Blended Mixtures of Neem Biodiesel and Petrodiesel
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2098-2107; doi:10.3390/su5052098
Received: 22 March 2013 / Revised: 29 April 2013 / Accepted: 29 April 2013 / Published: 8 May 2013
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Abstract
Neem biodiesel is currently being explored as a future biofuel and was extracted chemically from the vegetable oil. Many of its properties are still under investigation and our aim was to study its noxious-gas emission profiles from blends with regular petroleum diesel. The
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Neem biodiesel is currently being explored as a future biofuel and was extracted chemically from the vegetable oil. Many of its properties are still under investigation and our aim was to study its noxious-gas emission profiles from blends with regular petroleum diesel. The distinct advantage of a real-time study is acquisition of in situ data on the combustion behavior of gas components with actual progression of time. Mixtures of neem biodiesel and petroleum diesel corresponding to neem additives of 5%, 10%, 15% and 25% were tested for combustion efficiency and emitted gases using a high-performance gas analyzer. Our study, therefore, investigated the overall efficiency of the combustion process linked to emissions of the following gases: O2, CO2, NO, NOx and SO2. The results for the 95/5% blend compared to the neat sample were most promising and showed no serious change in performance efficiency (<2%). NO/NOx emission trends displayed maxima/minima, suggestive of interconvertible chemical reactivity. Declining CO and SO2 emissions were consistent with rapid chemical conversion. The CO and SO2 concentrations fell well below the toxic atmospheric limits in less than 300 s. The results are generally encouraging for blends below 10%. The potential environmental impact of the study is discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Towards Sustainable Cities: Extending Resilience with Insights from Vulnerability and Transition Theory
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2108-2128; doi:10.3390/su5052108
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 6 May 2013 / Accepted: 7 May 2013 / Published: 8 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities at all stages of development need to provide jobs, food and services for their people. There is no formula that can unilaterally be applied in all urban environments to achieve this. The complex interaction of social, economic and ecological cycles within cities
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Cities at all stages of development need to provide jobs, food and services for their people. There is no formula that can unilaterally be applied in all urban environments to achieve this. The complex interaction of social, economic and ecological cycles within cities makes it impossible to predict outcomes. Resilience theory, with its engineering, multi-equilibria and socio-ecological approaches, provides some of the foundations for understanding the full range of the complex social and ecological interactions that underpin sustainable cities. It is proposed that these insights could be extended by a sharper focus on the social and technological innovation that has traditionally been the emphasis of vulnerability and transition theories respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2129-2151; doi:10.3390/su5052129
Received: 29 March 2013 / Revised: 19 April 2013 / Accepted: 2 May 2013 / Published: 10 May 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2378 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Population growth and climate change are likely to impact upon food and water availability over the coming decades. In this study we use an ensemble of climate simulations to project the implications of both these drivers on regional changes in food and water.
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Population growth and climate change are likely to impact upon food and water availability over the coming decades. In this study we use an ensemble of climate simulations to project the implications of both these drivers on regional changes in food and water. This study highlights the dominant effect of population growth on per capita resource allocation over climate induced changes in our model projections. We find a strong signal for crop yield reductions due to climate change by the 2050s in the absence of CO2 fertilisation effects. However, when these additional processes are included this trend is reversed. The impacts of climate on water resources are more uncertain. Overall, we find reductions in the global population living in water stressed conditions due to the combined effects of climate and CO2. Africa is a key region where projected decreases in runoff and crop productivity from climate change alone are potentially reversed when CO2 fertilisation effects are included, but this is highly uncertain. Plant physiological response to increasing atmospheric CO2 is a major driver of the changes in crop productivity and water availability in this study; it is poorly constrained by observations and is thus a critical uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 40th Anniversary of 'The Limits to Growth')
Open AccessArticle Museums, Diasporas and the Sustainability of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2178-2190; doi:10.3390/su5052178
Received: 2 April 2013 / Revised: 23 April 2013 / Accepted: 6 May 2013 / Published: 13 May 2013
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Abstract
This article is about the work of museums in constructing the intangible cultural heritage of migration and diasporas. I address the cultural dimension of sustainability and examine what happens to living traditions in migratory contexts, in particular, in contexts of international migrations, and
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This article is about the work of museums in constructing the intangible cultural heritage of migration and diasporas. I address the cultural dimension of sustainability and examine what happens to living traditions in migratory contexts, in particular, in contexts of international migrations, and consider different participatory approaches used by museums. I propose that collaborative projects drawing upon the principles of ecomuseology and what I describe as participation by endowment may provide new ways of involving groups of immigrant background. I limit the discussion to questions tied to the intangible cultural heritage of migration to Europe and argue that by recording, documenting, safeguarding and keeping the intangible heritage of diasporas alive, museums contribute in promoting self-esteem among these populations and social cohesion in society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing Heritage in the Light of Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Coping with Climate Change among Adolescents: Implications for Subjective Well-Being and Environmental Engagement
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2191-2209; doi:10.3390/su5052191
Received: 13 March 2013 / Revised: 26 April 2013 / Accepted: 12 May 2013 / Published: 14 May 2013
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Abstract
The objective of this questionnaire study was to investigate how Swedish adolescents (n = 321) cope with climate change and how different coping strategies are associated with environmental efficacy, pro-environmental behavior, and subjective well-being. The results were compared to an earlier study on
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The objective of this questionnaire study was to investigate how Swedish adolescents (n = 321) cope with climate change and how different coping strategies are associated with environmental efficacy, pro-environmental behavior, and subjective well-being. The results were compared to an earlier study on 12-year-olds, and the same coping strategies, problem-focused coping, de-emphasizing the seriousness of the threat, and meaning-focused coping, were identified. As in the study on children, problem-focused and meaning-focused coping were positively related to felt efficacy and environmental behavior, while de-emphasizing the threat was negatively related to these measures. As expected, the more problem-focused coping the adolescents used, the more likely it was that they experienced negative affect in everyday life. This association was explained by the tendency for highly problem-focused adolescents to worry more about climate change. In contrast, meaning-focused coping was positively related to both well-being and optimism. When controlling for well-known predictors such as values and gender, meaning-focused and problem-focused coping were independent positive predictors of environmental efficacy and pro-environmental behavior, while de-emphasizing the threat was a negative predictor of pro-environmental behavior. The results are discussed in relation to coping theories and earlier studies on coping with climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle ¨ A Dilemma of Abundance: Governance Challenges of Reconciling Shale Gas Development and Climate Change Mitigation
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2210-2232; doi:10.3390/su5052210
Received: 18 March 2013 / Revised: 24 April 2013 / Accepted: 28 April 2013 / Published: 14 May 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (632 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Shale gas proponents argue this unconventional fossil fuel offers a “bridge” towards a cleaner energy system by offsetting higher-carbon fuels such as coal. The technical feasibility of reconciling shale gas development with climate action remains contested. However, we here argue that governance challenges
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Shale gas proponents argue this unconventional fossil fuel offers a “bridge” towards a cleaner energy system by offsetting higher-carbon fuels such as coal. The technical feasibility of reconciling shale gas development with climate action remains contested. However, we here argue that governance challenges are both more pressing and more profound. Reconciling shale gas and climate action requires institutions capable of responding effectively to uncertainty; intervening to mandate emissions reductions and internalize costs to industry; and managing the energy system strategically towards a lower carbon future. Such policy measures prove challenging, particularly in jurisdictions that stand to benefit economically from unconventional fuels. We illustrate this dilemma through a case study of shale gas development in British Columbia, Canada, a global leader on climate policy that is nonetheless struggling to manage gas development for mitigation. The BC case is indicative of the constraints jurisdictions face both to reconcile gas development and climate action, and to manage the industry adequately to achieve social licence and minimize resistance. More broadly, the case attests to the magnitude of change required to transform our energy systems to mitigate climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Government Policy and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Pragmatic Collective Interest as the Product of Civic Deliberation: The Case of Pesticide Management in Belgium
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2233-2251; doi:10.3390/su5052233
Received: 19 March 2013 / Revised: 29 April 2013 / Accepted: 6 May 2013 / Published: 16 May 2013
PDF Full-text (640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Through the issue of pesticide management in Belgium, this article offers an empirical and conceptual grasp on what Ulrich Beck called the second-order reflexive modernity; that which is exercised among citizens when they are confronted with threatening and uncertain situations. To achieve this,
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Through the issue of pesticide management in Belgium, this article offers an empirical and conceptual grasp on what Ulrich Beck called the second-order reflexive modernity; that which is exercised among citizens when they are confronted with threatening and uncertain situations. To achieve this, we use two case studies of two public policy instruments, which we offer to the public for discussion: food product labelling, and the modelling of toxic effects linked to pesticide use. To this end, we organised two focus groups designed to encourage discussion, composed of citizens/practitioners. The results obtained plead in favour of a collective deconstruction-reconstruction of these tools and can lead to what we propose calling a “pragmatic collective interest.” This “pragmatic collective interest” can take the form of a new set-up or new associations that enable the coexistence of conflicting propositions and points of view, and a suspension of efforts to hierarchize causes and required solutions. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Greening the Ivory Tower: A Review of Educational Research on Sustainability in Post-Secondary Education
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2252-2271; doi:10.3390/su5052252
Received: 30 March 2013 / Revised: 6 May 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 / Published: 21 May 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a deficit of multi-site studies examining the integration of sustainability in the policies and practices of post-secondary institutions. This paper reviews what comparative empirical research has been undertaken on sustainability in post-secondary education (PSE) within eight leading international journals publishing on
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There is a deficit of multi-site studies examining the integration of sustainability in the policies and practices of post-secondary institutions. This paper reviews what comparative empirical research has been undertaken on sustainability in post-secondary education (PSE) within eight leading international journals publishing on sustainability and education. Three predominant themes of research on the topic are identified within the review: research comparing sustainability curricula across institutions (both within specific disciplines of study and across disciplines); research comparing campus operations policies and practice across multiple institutions; and research on how to best measure or audit approaches and outputs in sustainability in PSE. This review of the research literature supports the contention within the literature on sustainability in PSE that most research on the topic is focused on case studies rather than comparison of multiple institutions. The comparative research that is emerging from the field is concentrated on assessing measurable outputs for environmental externalities within institutional operations, with little examination of sustainability uptake and outcomes across broader institutional policies and practices. Full article

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessConcept Paper A Practical Approach for Demonstrating Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship through a Net Ecosystem Service Analysis
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2152-2177; doi:10.3390/su5052152
Received: 6 March 2013 / Revised: 26 April 2013 / Accepted: 27 April 2013 / Published: 10 May 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increasing pressure on the earth’s resources due to population growth requires that development and resource use be managed to maintain a sustainable environment so as to preserve or enhance human well-being. A practical approach for demonstrating the environmental sustainability of an action
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The increasing pressure on the earth’s resources due to population growth requires that development and resource use be managed to maintain a sustainable environment so as to preserve or enhance human well-being. A practical approach for demonstrating the environmental sustainability of an action (e.g., green business practice) through ecosystem service analysis is presented. The overarching premise of the approach is that human well-being is directly related to changes in ecosystems and associated services. The approach evaluates the net change in ecosystem services, and hence human well-being, and is termed a net ecosystem service analysis (NESA). Using this approach, if a net positive change in ecosystem services relative to the baseline condition occurs for an action, that action would be considered potentially sustainable. In addition, if an action creates net ecosystem service value above the baseline condition, it would be considered to embody environmental stewardship. Established ecological and human use quantification methods are incorporated into the analysis. In addition, to demonstrate potential sustainability, the approach must also consider the need to satisfy intergenerational equity objectives. The use of a practical approach from which private business and government representatives can make decisions regarding environmental sustainability and stewardship will provide for improved decision-making based on quantifiable metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessNew Book Received Air Pollution Prevention and Control: Bioreactors and Bioenergy. By Christian Kennes, Maria C. Veiga, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013; 570 Pages. Price US $195.00, ISBN 978-1-119-94331-0
Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2272-2287; doi:10.3390/su5052272
Received: 16 May 2013 / Accepted: 16 May 2013 / Published: 22 May 2013
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Abstract
In recent years, air pollution has become a major worldwide concern. Air pollutants can affect metabolic activity, impede healthy development, and exhibit carcinogenic and toxic properties in humans. Over the past two decades, the use of microbes to remove pollutants from contaminated air
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In recent years, air pollution has become a major worldwide concern. Air pollutants can affect metabolic activity, impede healthy development, and exhibit carcinogenic and toxic properties in humans. Over the past two decades, the use of microbes to remove pollutants from contaminated air streams has become a widely accepted and efficient alternative to the classical physical and chemical treatment technologies. Air Pollution Prevention and Control: Bioreactors and Bioenergy focusses on these biotechnological alternatives looking at both the optimization of bioreactors and the development of cleaner biofuels. Full article

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