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Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 6 (June 2013), Pages 2288-2839

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Open AccessArticle Adaptation Turning Points in River Restoration? The Rhine Salmon Case
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2288-2304; doi:10.3390/su5062288
Received: 1 April 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 / Published: 24 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (871 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bringing a sustainable population of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) back into the Rhine, after the species became extinct in the 1950s, is an important environmental ambition with efforts made both by governments and civil society. Our analysis finds a significant [...] Read more.
Bringing a sustainable population of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) back into the Rhine, after the species became extinct in the 1950s, is an important environmental ambition with efforts made both by governments and civil society. Our analysis finds a significant risk of failure of salmon reintroduction because of projected increases in water temperatures in a changing climate. This suggests a need to rethink the current salmon reintroduction ambitions or to start developing adaptive action. The paper shows that the moment at which salmon reintroduction may fail due to climate change can only be approximated because of inherent uncertainties in the interaction between salmon and its environment. The added value of the assessment presented in this paper is that it provides researchers with a set of questions that are useful from a policy perspective (by focusing on the feasibility of a concrete policy ambition under climate change). Thus, it offers opportunities to supply policy makers with practical insight in the relevance of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
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Open AccessArticle Low-Carbon Sustainable Precincts: An Australian Perspective
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2305-2326; doi:10.3390/su5062305
Received: 29 March 2013 / Revised: 9 May 2013 / Accepted: 20 May 2013 / Published: 24 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (866 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Australia’s urban built environment contributes significantly to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions; therefore, encouraging urban development to pursue low-carbon outcomes will aid in reducing carbon in the overall economy. Cities and urban areas are configured in precincts, which have been identified as [...] Read more.
Australia’s urban built environment contributes significantly to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions; therefore, encouraging urban development to pursue low-carbon outcomes will aid in reducing carbon in the overall economy. Cities and urban areas are configured in precincts, which have been identified as an ideal scale for low-carbon technologies that address energy, water and waste. Even though new governance models and systems are being created to enable low-carbon precincts to operate with a degree of independence within a broader centralised utility structure, greater effort is required to refocus governance on this smaller scale of delivery. Furthermore, at this time, no consistent carbon accounting framework is in place to measure emissions or emission reductions at this scale, thereby limiting the ability to acknowledge or reward progressive, sustainable low-carbon developments. To respond to this situation, a framework is proposed that could form both the basis of a carbon certification scheme for the built environment and provide a platform for generating carbon credits from urban development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Reflecting on Education for Sustainable Development through Two Lenses: Ability Studies and Disability Studies
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2327-2342; doi:10.3390/su5062327
Received: 24 April 2013 / Revised: 6 May 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 / Published: 24 May 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (539 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The call for papers asked to cast “a critical eye on the practice and purpose of sustainability-focused education, and its successes and failures, thus far”. We approach this task in this paper through two lenses that have not yet been very visible [...] Read more.
The call for papers asked to cast “a critical eye on the practice and purpose of sustainability-focused education, and its successes and failures, thus far”. We approach this task in this paper through two lenses that have not yet been very visible in the education for sustainable development (ESD) discourse. One is the lens of disability studies which is the inquiry around the lived reality of disabled people; the other is the lens of ability studies which among others investigates (a) which abilities are seen as essential in a given context; (b) the dynamic of how an ability expectation consensus is reached, if it is reached and (c) the impact of ability expectations. We conclude that (a) no consensus has been reached within ESD discourses as to the process of how to identify essential abilities and as to a list of abilities seen as important and (b) that disabled people are invisible in the formal and informal ESD discourse. We expect the paper to be of interest to disabled people, ESD scholars, teachers of ESD in different educational settings, students of ESD training, NGOs involved in ESD as well as policy makers involved in ESD. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Deliberative Collaborative Governance in Achieving Sustainable Cities
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2343-2366; doi:10.3390/su5062343
Received: 22 April 2013 / Revised: 10 May 2013 / Accepted: 17 May 2013 / Published: 24 May 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (108 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability issues involve complex interactions between social, economic, and environmental factors that are often viewed quite differently by disparate stakeholder groups. Issues of non-sustainability are wicked problems that have many, often obscure causes, and for which there is no single, straightforward solution. [...] Read more.
Sustainability issues involve complex interactions between social, economic, and environmental factors that are often viewed quite differently by disparate stakeholder groups. Issues of non-sustainability are wicked problems that have many, often obscure causes, and for which there is no single, straightforward solution. Furthermore, the concept of sustainability is itself contested. For example there are disputes over whether a strong or weak interpretation of sustainability should be adopted. In cities, as elsewhere, sustainability therefore requires discursive plurality and multiple sites of action. It is the thesis of this paper that effective problem solving, decision-making and enacting of a sustainability agenda require deliberative collaborative governance (DCG), a logical hybrid of the closely related fields of deliberative democracy and collaborative governance. We provide a provisional typology of different modes of deliberative collaborative governance, explaining each with a sustainability example, with a particular focus on DCG initiatives for planning in Western Australia. It is argued that the lens provided by such a typology can help us to understand the factors likely to promote better resolution of wicked problems and increased sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle What Do the IUCN Categories Really Protect? A Case Study of the Alpine Regions in Spain
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2367-2388; doi:10.3390/su5062367
Received: 27 February 2013 / Revised: 24 April 2013 / Accepted: 10 May 2013 / Published: 28 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (366 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Protected area (PA) coverage is used as an indicator of biodiversity protection worldwide. The effectiveness of using PAs as indicators has been questioned due to the diversity of categories encompassed by such designations, especially in PAs established for purposes other than biodiversity [...] Read more.
Protected area (PA) coverage is used as an indicator of biodiversity protection worldwide. The effectiveness of using PAs as indicators has been questioned due to the diversity of categories encompassed by such designations, especially in PAs established for purposes other than biodiversity protection. Although international standards have been developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the policies on the ground have been developed independently of the IUCN categories, thus making the IUCN categories dubious measures of biodiversity conservation. Management plans are crucial for the effective management of parks and for guidance on how biodiversity maintenance should be prioritized relative to other goals. We therefore analyzed the aims and regulations of the management plans of alpine PAs in Spain as a first step in evaluating conservation performance. We used content analysis and correspondence analysis of instrumental variables (CAiv) to assess how aims and regulations vary in relation to three explanatory factors: IUCN categories, vegetation zones and autonomous communities. We found that the aims of many parks were vague, without clear indications of how to prioritize biodiversity goals. Furthermore, only 50% of the parks studied had any management plan, which strengthens our argument concerning the lack of clear guidance in PA management. Although certain aims were correlated with the IUCN categories, the regulations showed no clear relationship to international policies, which indicates that these aims do not necessarily influence management practices. Devolution to autonomous communities could be one explanation for the large variation in management practices among parks. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of such management policies on biodiversity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Impact of Business Activity in Sustainability Terms. Empirical Confirmation of Its Determination in Spanish Companies
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2389-2420; doi:10.3390/su5062389
Received: 30 March 2013 / Revised: 27 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 / Published: 31 May 2013
PDF Full-text (1086 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Because the issue of sustainability presents urgent problems crucial to the future of mankind, there has been serious discussion of the role accounting should play. In this context, a new line of research, still at a relatively unexplored, embryonic stage, has arisen, [...] Read more.
Because the issue of sustainability presents urgent problems crucial to the future of mankind, there has been serious discussion of the role accounting should play. In this context, a new line of research, still at a relatively unexplored, embryonic stage, has arisen, which tries to establish measurement of business sustainability and so compensate for the lack of information currently existing about the net impact of the company’s activity. Full Cost Accounting could allow sustainability to be translated into the language of business, together with analysis and comparison of its progress, so it might be the most appropriate vehicle for more participatory, democratic accounting, with greater dialogue, giving the accountant a much more active role, this being necessary in order to generalize the research, development and use. To analyze the current situation, a survey of 192 Spanish companies was carried out to obtain at first hand the perception of strategic positioning adopted with regard to Sustainable Development, measurement of the contribution of business activity to its achievement and the rendering of accounts carried out. Full article
Open AccessArticle Bottom Rail on Top: The Shifting Sands of Sustainable Development Indicators as Tools to Assess Progress
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2421-2441; doi:10.3390/su5062421
Received: 15 April 2013 / Revised: 10 May 2013 / Accepted: 21 May 2013 / Published: 31 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Human Development Index (HDI) is often employed to capture some of the more social concerns in sustainable development at the scale of the nation-state. The HDI is founded on three components; life expectancy, education and income per capita. To avoid a [...] Read more.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is often employed to capture some of the more social concerns in sustainable development at the scale of the nation-state. The HDI is founded on three components; life expectancy, education and income per capita. To avoid a dominance of the income component, proxied by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita per annum, it has been capped at a maximum level and transformed. Two methods for transforming the GDP/capita have been employed; the Atkinson transformation (1991 to 1998) and the Logarithmic transformation (all other years). The paper explores the impact that these transformations have had on the HDI rankings of 167 countries, by comparing the rank across two periods; 1991 to 1998 and 1999 to 2009. Results suggest that for the 167 countries in the dataset, the majority (65%) showed a high resilience to the transformations. For these countries, the use of the two alternatives does not alter the difference seen in the original ranking between the two periods. A significant proportion of countries had a medium (18%) and low (17%) resilience to the methodology for handling GDP/capita. For those countries the choice of methodology does matter in terms of their ranking, with some doing better and others worse relative to the original ranking. Consistency in methodology is desirable in order to avoid such misrepresentations but so is some flexibility to allow for new knowledge and experience. One can also question the value of the league table style of presentation so often employed with sustainable development indices given that change in rank for at least some countries is so vulnerable to shifts in methodology. Full article
Open AccessArticle Genetic Variation and Phenotypic Response of 15 Sweet Corn (Zea mays L.) Hybrids to Population Density
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2442-2456; doi:10.3390/su5062442
Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 20 May 2013 / Accepted: 28 May 2013 / Published: 3 June 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1037 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Planting sweet corn at higher densities may increase the canopy cover, reducing light transmission to the understory and suppressing weed growth. High planting densities can also negatively impact the crop, however, by decreasing ear size and overall yield. The objective of this [...] Read more.
Planting sweet corn at higher densities may increase the canopy cover, reducing light transmission to the understory and suppressing weed growth. High planting densities can also negatively impact the crop, however, by decreasing ear size and overall yield. The objective of this study was to determine the potential for increased density tolerance of 15 sweet corn hybrids by estimating the general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) for traits of interest. In 2010 and 2011, a half-diallel of six historic sweet corn inbreds was evaluated in a split-block randomized complete block design in four Wisconsin environments, with four replicates in each environment. Hybrids were planted at a low density of 29,936 plants ha−1, a medium density of 63,615 plants ha−1, and a high density of 97,293 plants ha−1. Significant differences between hybrids were found for phenomorphological traits and ear characteristics. Inbreds C68, C40 and Ia5125 produced the progeny most tolerant of the highest population density. Among these genotypes, tolerance to high density is a heritable trait, indicating the feasibility of breeding sweet corn for density tolerance and potential weed competitiveness. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Methodology for Mapping Meanings in Text-Based Sustainability Communication
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2457-2479; doi:10.3390/su5062457
Received: 29 March 2013 / Revised: 3 May 2013 / Accepted: 21 May 2013 / Published: 4 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (604 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In moving society towards more sustainable forms of consumption and production, social learning must play an important role. Making the assumption that it occurs as a consequence of changes in understanding, this article presents a methodology for mapping meanings in sustainability communication [...] Read more.
In moving society towards more sustainable forms of consumption and production, social learning must play an important role. Making the assumption that it occurs as a consequence of changes in understanding, this article presents a methodology for mapping meanings in sustainability communication texts. The methodology uses techniques from corpus linguistics and framing theory. Two large databases of text were constructed by copying material down from the websites of two different groups of social actors: (i) environmental NGOs and (ii) British green business, and saving it as .txt files. The findings on individual words show that the NGOs and business use them very differently. Focusing on words expressing concern for the natural environment, it is proposed that the two actors also conceptualize their concern differently. Green business’s cognitive system of concern has two well-developed frames; good intentions and risk management. However, three frames—concern for the natural environment, perception of the damage, and responsibility, are light on detail. In contrast, within the NGOs’ system of concern, the frames of concern for the natural environment, perception of the damage and responsibility, contain words making detailed representations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication for and about Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Capacity to Endure: Following Nature’s Lead
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2480-2494; doi:10.3390/su5062480
Received: 6 March 2013 / Revised: 18 May 2013 / Accepted: 27 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
PDF Full-text (660 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many businesses today are striving to improve their environmental sustainability for a variety of reasons, ranging from consumer demand for “greener” products to potential cost-savings. For many business decision-makers who lack formal environmental training, the process of identifying facets of their organization [...] Read more.
Many businesses today are striving to improve their environmental sustainability for a variety of reasons, ranging from consumer demand for “greener” products to potential cost-savings. For many business decision-makers who lack formal environmental training, the process of identifying facets of their organization that can be improved is unclear and challenging. Inspired by the fields of biomimicry, industrial ecology and organizational ecology, this paper draws on the inherent capacity to endure (CTE) of the natural world and recognizes that ecosystem function can be used as a technical advisor to guide business sustainability. We identified major attributes of ecosystems that both contribute to their CTE and can be easily translated into applications for the business world. Each of these attributes (fitness, functional redundancy, keystone species, waste and efficiency) and their applications are discussed at length. While further work is needed to evaluate their effectiveness and appropriateness for individual firms, we hope they can serve as a starting point for businesses seeking to improve their environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Whose Diversity Counts? The Politics and Paradoxes of Modern Diversity
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2495-2518; doi:10.3390/su5062495
Received: 8 April 2013 / Revised: 14 May 2013 / Accepted: 24 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (587 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Is “diversity” a modern concept, like indigeneity or biodiversity, which is conceived precisely at the time that it seems to be threatened and on the verge of disappearing? In the face of perceived threats to diversity, projects and policies have been crafted [...] Read more.
Is “diversity” a modern concept, like indigeneity or biodiversity, which is conceived precisely at the time that it seems to be threatened and on the verge of disappearing? In the face of perceived threats to diversity, projects and policies have been crafted to protect, promote, or conserve diversity, but in doing so they have often demonstrated a paradoxical propensity toward purity and authority in representations of diversity. Perceptions of “pure” natural diversity might represent native forests comprised solely of native species; “pure” cultural diversity might represent indigenous peoples who still speak indigenous languages and wear native dress. If purity is emblematic of diversity, what, then, is the place of hybrid landscapes and peoples? In our study, we draw on a range of examples—of agrobiodiversity conservation in Bolivia, satellite mapping initiatives in Madagascar and Ecuador, scientific authority about anthropogenic climate change, indigenous language and identity in Peru, and a comparison of the Amazon and Atlantic Forest in Brazil—to demonstrate gaps between representations of diversity, and the heterogeneous local realities they obscure. We suggest that hybridity is a form of diversity unto itself—albeit a form of diversity that is more complex, and thus harder to codify and categorize. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Human Diversity: Languages, Cultures, Epistemologies)
Open AccessArticle The Geography of Solar Photovoltaics (PV) and a New Low Carbon Urban Transition Theory
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2537-2556; doi:10.3390/su5062537
Received: 25 January 2013 / Revised: 28 May 2013 / Accepted: 29 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the early phases of a 21st century energy transition that involves distributed generation technologies employing low or zero carbon emission power sources and their take-up within Australia, with particular reference to the major cities and solar photovoltaics (PV). This [...] Read more.
This paper examines the early phases of a 21st century energy transition that involves distributed generation technologies employing low or zero carbon emission power sources and their take-up within Australia, with particular reference to the major cities and solar photovoltaics (PV). This transition is occurring in a nation with significant path dependency to overcome in relation to fossil fuel use. Tracking the diffusion of solar PV technology within Australia over the past decade provides a basis for assessing those factors underpinning its exponential growth and its associated geography of diffusion. Positive evidence that there are pathways for cities to decarbonise is apparent but there appear to be different pathways for different city forms with lower density suburban areas showing the biggest take-up of household-based energy technologies. This suggests a model for the low carbon urban transition involving combinations of simple technological changes and harder structural changes, depending upon which parts of the urban fabric are in focus. This is being called a New Low Carbon Urban Transition Theory. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effect of Systems to Manage Environmental Aspects on Environmental Performance
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2557-2588; doi:10.3390/su5062557
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 28 May 2013 / Accepted: 30 May 2013 / Published: 7 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (830 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes the effect of systems to manage environmental aspects on environmental performance at individual polluting facilities. Regulated polluting facilities are increasingly embracing pollution minimization strategies that involve the adoption of broadly defined systems to manage environmental aspects. Despite a meaningful [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the effect of systems to manage environmental aspects on environmental performance at individual polluting facilities. Regulated polluting facilities are increasingly embracing pollution minimization strategies that involve the adoption of broadly defined systems to manage environmental aspects. Despite a meaningful empirical literature, whether or not these systems lead to better environmental performance remains an open question. This study seeks to assess the possible connection between systems to manage environmental aspects and improved environmental performance. It also seeks to identify the factors determining the extent of the adopted system of management and the factors’ direct effects on environmental performance. For this empirical analysis, the study examines the extent of systems to manage environmental aspects employed by and the level of wastewater discharged by U.S. chemical manufacturing facilities during 2001. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Adding the “e-” to Learning for Sustainable Development: Challenges and Innovation
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2609-2622; doi:10.3390/su5062609
Received: 6 May 2013 / Revised: 4 June 2013 / Accepted: 5 June 2013 / Published: 13 June 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (643 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Education for sustainability (EfS) poses new challenges to higher education as it necessitates various shifts: from teacher- to learner-centered pedagogies, from input- to output-orientation and from a focus on content to problem-solving and process orientation. E-learning, which follows the principles of situated, [...] Read more.
Education for sustainability (EfS) poses new challenges to higher education as it necessitates various shifts: from teacher- to learner-centered pedagogies, from input- to output-orientation and from a focus on content to problem-solving and process orientation. E-learning, which follows the principles of situated, constructivist learning, addresses some of these challenges and offers opportunities to design powerful learning environments for EfS. In this conceptual paper, we elaborate characteristics of such e-learning environments that support competence development and education for sustainability. To illustrate and support our line of reasoning we use three mini case studies of our own educational praxis and critically discuss opportunities and threats of such e-learning settings. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable and Balanced Energy Efficiency and Preservation in Our Built Heritage
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2623-2643; doi:10.3390/su5062623
Received: 1 April 2013 / Revised: 21 April 2013 / Accepted: 8 June 2013 / Published: 17 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (875 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Today, conservation work in our built cultural heritage has to be reformulated due to the new energy efficiency requirements put forward. On both a national and an international level, energy efficiency measures are considered key actions within sustainability work, answering to the [...] Read more.
Today, conservation work in our built cultural heritage has to be reformulated due to the new energy efficiency requirements put forward. On both a national and an international level, energy efficiency measures are considered key actions within sustainability work, answering to the global issue of climate change. What does this imply for our built heritage? Contemporary conservation is characterized by the concept of sustainability, and integrated conservation is also expected to be sustainable. It is inherent in this tradition, but how are we going to balance the historic and architectural values with the new energy requirements? A research project, Energy Efficiency in Our Cultural Heritage (EEPOCH), consisting of a multiple case study, has been carried out over three years, studying selected objects restored within the Halland Model, a project over a decade long. In EEPOCH the multiple units of analysis are energy efficiency, historic and architectural values, management, and legislation. All are applied to the selected objects. The results and conclusions drawn from the analysis show that there are actions that are possible to take and to recommend, including national inventories of historic values in the existing building stock as well as guidance for the management of historic values on a municipal level for continued sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructing Heritage in the Light of Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Unraveling the Skilled Mobility for Sustainable Development Mantra: An Analysis of China-EU Academic Mobility
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2644-2663; doi:10.3390/su5062644
Received: 28 April 2013 / Revised: 6 June 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 18 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the name of sustainable development, skilled persons including scholars, researchers and students have become incorporated in the “sustainable development” visions and strategies of institutions, city centers and nation-states near and far from where these potentially mobile brains are. Policies and programs [...] Read more.
In the name of sustainable development, skilled persons including scholars, researchers and students have become incorporated in the “sustainable development” visions and strategies of institutions, city centers and nation-states near and far from where these potentially mobile brains are. Policies and programs have widely been implemented to foster move-in move-out mobility of these talents sans frontières who should contribute to the competitiveness of their affiliated institutions and structures in the global knowledge economy. This paper unravels this emergent academic mobility for sustainable development mantra. It unpacks the meanings of “sustainable development” and “sustainability” as used in relation to temporary (often circulatory) mobility of students and academics in different contexts. An analysis of European and specifically China-EU academic mobility initiatives illustrates the multi-fold meanings of sustainability in this policy terrain. Zooming into the Chinese-German case, the paper highlights the common dominance of economic and environmental elements in the current “academic mobility for sustainability” construct that sidelines important social components such as equity and diversity. Statistical data and narratives will be provided to illustrate the stark gender and disciplinary bias in the Chinese-German staff academic mobility field. The paper argues for conscious, affirmative efforts by policy-makers and funding agencies to correct existing imbalances. Full article
Open AccessArticle Motivations for Proactive Environmental Management
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2664-2692; doi:10.3390/su5062664
Received: 28 April 2013 / Revised: 29 May 2013 / Accepted: 30 May 2013 / Published: 19 June 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1012 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the extent to which there are differential incentives that motivate the adoption of environmental management practices (EMPs) and pollution prevention (P2) methods. We analyze the role of internal drivers such as managerial attitudes towards the environment and external pressures [...] Read more.
This paper examines the extent to which there are differential incentives that motivate the adoption of environmental management practices (EMPs) and pollution prevention (P2) methods. We analyze the role of internal drivers such as managerial attitudes towards the environment and external pressures using both observed characteristics of facilities and perceived pressures. We estimate a structural equation model using survey data from facilities in Oregon that involves simultaneous estimation of the latent dependent and explanatory variables and the two regression equations explaining adoption behavior of EMPs and P2. We find that perceived regulatory pressures and managerial attitudes have a statistically significant impact on the adoption of both EMPs and P2 practices, while market pressures were significant in influencing the adoption of EMPs but not P2 methods. Furthermore; we find that both external regulatory pressures and internal managerial attitudes had a larger impact in motivating adoption by facilities that did not view environmental issues as being a significant concern as compared to facilities that did. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessCommunication A New Generation of Plant Breeders Discovers Fertile Ground in Organic Agriculture
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2722-2726; doi:10.3390/su5062722
Received: 17 May 2013 / Revised: 5 June 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 19 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (423 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plant breeding for organic systems is a growing field that is attracting a new cohort of graduate students in land-grant plant breeding programs. In 2012, the first Student Organic Seed Symposium (SOSS) was organized by and for graduate students and held in [...] Read more.
Plant breeding for organic systems is a growing field that is attracting a new cohort of graduate students in land-grant plant breeding programs. In 2012, the first Student Organic Seed Symposium (SOSS) was organized by and for graduate students and held in Greensboro, VT. This three-day symposium brought together graduate students and plant breeding professionals in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Organic plant breeding offers an exciting new niche for public breeding programs, with the potential to develop unique opportunities and partnerships. Participation in the symposium demonstrated that graduate students are enthusiastic about engaging in organic plant breeding and building a community of support for their work. This new cadre of researchers represents one opportunity to collectively move towards a more sustainable agricultural future, and underscores the necessity of building and maintaining strong public plant breeding programs that can facilitate this work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems)
Open AccessArticle The Distributional Impact of Developed Countries’ Climate Change Policies on Senegal: A Macro-Micro CGE Application
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2727-2750; doi:10.3390/su5062727
Received: 1 May 2013 / Revised: 23 May 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we present a distributional impact analysis of climate change policies envisaged or implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Senegal. We consider policies implemented in developed countries and their impact on a developing country. Moreover, we simulate the diminishing [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a distributional impact analysis of climate change policies envisaged or implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Senegal. We consider policies implemented in developed countries and their impact on a developing country. Moreover, we simulate the diminishing productivity of agricultural land as a potential result of climate change (CC) for Senegal. This country is exposed to the direct consequences of CC and is vulnerable to changes in world prices of energy, given its lack of substitution capacity. Past researches have shown that countries with this profile will bear the greatest burden of CC and its mitigation policies. Our results reveal slight increases in poverty when the world price of fossil fuels increases and the negative impact is further amplified with decreases in land productivity. However, subsidizing electricity consumption to protect consumers from world price increases in fossil fuels is shown to provide a weak cushion to poverty increase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Climate Change in Developing Countries)
Open AccessArticle Strategies and Policies for the Bioeconomy and Bio-Based Economy: An Analysis of Official National Approaches
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2751-2769; doi:10.3390/su5062751
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 3 June 2013 / Accepted: 8 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The onset of formulating strategies and policies regarding the bioeconomy can be, at least partly, attributed to the publication of the policy agenda on the bioeconomy by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2009. The aim of this study is [...] Read more.
The onset of formulating strategies and policies regarding the bioeconomy can be, at least partly, attributed to the publication of the policy agenda on the bioeconomy by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2009. The aim of this study is to analyze selected national strategies and policies regarding the development of a bioeconomy and to clarify similarities and differences between them. The article presents a comparative overview of the strategies and policies for developing a bioeconomy in the EU, USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Australia. The documents analyzed are in most cases national strategies or policies. The structures and aims of these documents vary and the analysis is further complicated by the terms “bioeconomy” and “bio-based economy” having as yet no clear definition, a point which is discussed in some depth in this article. In the documents analyzed, strategies and policies on how to promote the bioeconomy are often presented based on the prerequisites of the country in focus; the need for increased research, development and demonstrations in the area is thus particularly stressed. The main emphasis is often to enhance the economy of a nation and provide new employment and business possibilities, whereas the aspects of sustainability and resource availability are addressed only to a limited extent in many of the documents. Full article
Open AccessArticle Synthesizing the Experiments and Theories of Conservation Psychology
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2770-2795; doi:10.3390/su5062770
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2013 / Accepted: 4 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
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Abstract
Within the field of environmental psychology, there are two distinct bodies of literature. First, there are experimental studies that have evaluated techniques for getting people to perform conservation behaviors. Second, there are theoretical studies that have surveyed people to create some type [...] Read more.
Within the field of environmental psychology, there are two distinct bodies of literature. First, there are experimental studies that have evaluated techniques for getting people to perform conservation behaviors. Second, there are theoretical studies that have surveyed people to create some type of theoretical model that explains conservation behaviors. These two types of research almost never overlap. This research project attempts to bridge these two literatures. Specifically, we coded over 100 environmental experiments for the type of treatment that each one employed and the effect size that was reported. Then we mapped the ten leading treatments on to the main components of six leading theoretical models. Our findings indicate that a moderate amount of variance in the effect sizes of the experimental literature is explained by the theoretical models and that one of the strongest predictors of conservation behavior is the situation or context. While we acknowledge the limitations of our method, this research raises a fundamentally important question: Why are our theories somewhat limited at predicting the behavior patterns that we see in our experiments? Are our theories built on the wrong set of psychological constructs, or are our experiments manipulating the wrong set of variables? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological and Behavioral Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Monetary and Fiscal Policies for a Finite Planet
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2802-2826; doi:10.3390/su5062802
Received: 15 April 2013 / Revised: 29 May 2013 / Accepted: 30 May 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current macroeconomic policy promotes continuous economic growth. Unemployment, poverty and debt are associated with insufficient growth. Economic activity depends upon the transformation of natural materials, ultimately returning to the environment as waste. Current levels of economic throughput exceed the planet’s carrying capacity. [...] Read more.
Current macroeconomic policy promotes continuous economic growth. Unemployment, poverty and debt are associated with insufficient growth. Economic activity depends upon the transformation of natural materials, ultimately returning to the environment as waste. Current levels of economic throughput exceed the planet’s carrying capacity. As a result of poorly constructed economic institutions, society faces the unacceptable choice between ecological catastrophe and human misery. A transition to a steady-state economy is required, characterized by a rate of throughput compatible with planetary boundaries. This paper contributes to the development of a steady-state economy by addressing US monetary and fiscal policies. A steady-state monetary policy would support counter-cyclical, debt-free vertical money creation through the public sector, in ways that contribute to sustainable well-being. The implication for a steady-state fiscal policy is that any lending or spending requires a careful balance of recovery of money, not as a means of revenue, but as an economic imperative to meet monetary policy goals. A steady-state fiscal policy would prioritize targeted public goods investments, taxation of ecological “bads” and economic rent and implementation of progressive tax structures. Institutional innovations are considered, including common asset trusts, to regulate throughput, and a public monetary trust, to strictly regulate money supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degrowth: The Economic Alternative for the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle Grants versus Financing for Domestic Retrofits: A Case Study from Efficiency Maine
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2827-2839; doi:10.3390/su5062827
Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 26 May 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Any attempts to limit the impacts of climate change must maximize the potential for energy efficiency in existing dwellings. Retrofitting the existing stock of aging and inefficient dwellings is a challenge on many fronts. A number of programs have been put in [...] Read more.
Any attempts to limit the impacts of climate change must maximize the potential for energy efficiency in existing dwellings. Retrofitting the existing stock of aging and inefficient dwellings is a challenge on many fronts. A number of programs have been put in place to encourage domestic retrofits by reducing barriers such as the upfront costs and access to capital. While many such programs are delivering positive results, there is much uncertainty regarding what constitutes success, as well as the long term cost effectiveness of various approaches. Geographic, demographic, and programmatic differences frequently cloud the ability to make comparisons across programs. This work examines a case study from Efficiency Maine in the United States, in which a grant program transitioned to a financing program. The grant program was highly popular and delivered significant energy savings, but used considerable public funds. The financing program reaches fewer homeowners, but delivers larger retrofit projects per homeowner, and leverages private investment with smaller public expenditures. Which of the two programs can be considered more successful? This work explores the methods of assessing this question and offers the author’s perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Review of the Modelling of Thermally Interacting Multiple Boreholes
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2519-2536; doi:10.3390/su5062519
Received: 11 April 2013 / Revised: 14 May 2013 / Accepted: 27 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (575 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Much attention is now focused on utilizing ground heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings, as well as water heating, refrigeration and other thermal tasks. Modeling such systems is important for understanding, designing and optimizing their performance and characteristics. Several heat transfer [...] Read more.
Much attention is now focused on utilizing ground heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings, as well as water heating, refrigeration and other thermal tasks. Modeling such systems is important for understanding, designing and optimizing their performance and characteristics. Several heat transfer models exist for ground heat exchangers. In this review article, challenges of modelling heat transfer in vertical heat exchangers are described, some analytical and numerical models are reviewed and compared, recent related developments are described and the importance of modelling these systems is discussed from a variety of aspects, such as sustainability of geothermal systems or their potential impacts on the ecosystems nearby. Full article
Open AccessReview The Bioeconomy in Europe: An Overview
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2589-2608; doi:10.3390/su5062589
Received: 28 April 2013 / Revised: 27 May 2013 / Accepted: 28 May 2013 / Published: 10 June 2013
Cited by 43 | PDF Full-text (586 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A bioeconomy can be defined as an economy where the basic building blocks for materials, chemicals and energy are derived from renewable biological resources. This paper provides an overview of the bioeconomy in Europe, examining it from a policy framework and concept [...] Read more.
A bioeconomy can be defined as an economy where the basic building blocks for materials, chemicals and energy are derived from renewable biological resources. This paper provides an overview of the bioeconomy in Europe, examining it from a policy framework and concept perspective. The role of bioenergy in the bioeconomy is discussed particularly through biofuels for transport and biorefineries. The study finds that the definitions of the bioeconomy are evolving and vary depending on the actor, but display similarities such as the emphasis on economic output and a broad, cross-sectoral focus. While there is great optimism about the benefits and opportunities associated with developing an advanced bioeconomy in Europe, significant risks and trade-offs are also expressed. Furthermore, the bioeconomy concept has been criticised for presenting a technical fix and pre-empting alternative visions. To advance a competitive and sustainable bioeconomy, this paper calls for attention on two important themes: participatory governance that engages the general public and key stakeholders in an open and informed dialogue as well as a commitment by government and industry to innovation that drives concerted efforts on sustainable development of the bioeconomy. Full article
Open AccessReview Moving Beyond Profit: Expanding Research to Better Understand Business Environmental Management
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2693-2721; doi:10.3390/su5062693
Received: 10 April 2013 / Revised: 1 June 2013 / Accepted: 6 June 2013 / Published: 19 June 2013
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Abstract
An extensive economics literature has examined business environmental management to identify characteristics and external institutional stakeholder pressures that influence management decisions. Frequently, it is assumed that profit pursuit is the goal, and organizations subject to the same pressures respond similarly. Studies have [...] Read more.
An extensive economics literature has examined business environmental management to identify characteristics and external institutional stakeholder pressures that influence management decisions. Frequently, it is assumed that profit pursuit is the goal, and organizations subject to the same pressures respond similarly. Studies have identified a narrow set of influential stakeholders, but have revealed that organizations respond differently to them. Recent research shows that an important moderating influence is the manager’s attitude toward environmental protection, which may explain differing organizational responses, and that managers may perceive the ability to obtain utility beyond increased profit from engaging in strategic environmental management. A comprehensive framework for assessing moderating perceptions is lacking, but recent research combining institutional theory and utility maximization shows increased explanatory power and exposes the relative importance of manager perceptions. This paper synthesizes economics and management literature on institutional determinants of environmental management, utility maximization, and attitudes and behavior to illustrate the usefulness of an integrated approach for both disciplines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Business: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainability)
Open AccessReview Soil Fertility Management a Century Ago in Farmers of Forty Centuries
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2796-2801; doi:10.3390/su5062796
Received: 18 April 2013 / Revised: 18 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 20 June 2013
PDF Full-text (396 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Published just over a century ago, Farmers of Forty Centuries or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, served to document the viability and productivity of traditional agricultural systems that relied on composting, and complete recycling of all types of natural [...] Read more.
Published just over a century ago, Farmers of Forty Centuries or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, served to document the viability and productivity of traditional agricultural systems that relied on composting, and complete recycling of all types of natural waste materials, as a means of sustaining soil fertility. This cardinal rule of waste management and organic soil husbandry became known as “the law of return” to organic farming. With regards to nutrient management, organic farming methods uses restorative cultural practices that include the law of return principle which encourages the closure of nutrient cycles. In these respects, organic farming methods are arguably more firmly grounded in ecology and sustainability than the promotions of the chemical fertilizer industry which has largely displaced traditional soil fertility practices. Farmers of Forty Centuries is a classic with valuable lessons and experience to offer towards teaching modern concepts in sustainable agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems)

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