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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 4 (April 2014), Pages 1643-2391

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue—Pedagogy for Education for Sustainability in Higher Education
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1705-1708; doi:10.3390/su6041705
Received: 20 March 2014 / Accepted: 21 March 2014 / Published: 2 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (399 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Education for Sustainability (EfS) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) have been under discussion for some two decades. The UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development 2004–2014 has provided a most important focus for ESD, and for its facilitation. However, while the [...] Read more.
Education for Sustainability (EfS) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) have been under discussion for some two decades. The UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development 2004–2014 has provided a most important focus for ESD, and for its facilitation. However, while the Decade raised awareness of the need for ESD generally, and particularly in Higher Education, discussion of how this education can be effectively delivered to learners is still gaining momentum. This is especially the situation when considering EfS/ESD in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Co-Producing Sustainability: Involving Parents and Civil Society in the Governance of School Meal Services. A Case Study from Pisa, Italy
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1643-1666; doi:10.3390/su6041643
Received: 30 January 2014 / Revised: 14 March 2014 / Accepted: 17 March 2014 / Published: 26 March 2014
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Abstract
There is a rising awareness of the power of the public sector in enhancing sustainable consumption and production practices, in particular related to food procurement and its social, ethical, economical and environmental implications. School meal services have a high resonance in the [...] Read more.
There is a rising awareness of the power of the public sector in enhancing sustainable consumption and production practices, in particular related to food procurement and its social, ethical, economical and environmental implications. School meal services have a high resonance in the debate on collective catering services because of the implications on the education to sustainable dietary habits and the orientation of the production system. This contribution focuses on the reciprocal relationship between professionals and users of school meal services as a driver to mobilize new resources—according to the theory of co-production—that steer service innovation and a shift towards more sustainable practices. We illustrate this through a case study on the school meal system in Pisa (Italy), where the Canteen Committee represents an institutional arena for participation and empowerment of actors that has gradually gained a central role in shaping this school meal service. Despite the challenges and obstacles, the institutionalized co-production of services allows consolidation of trust among key players and the introduction of innovations in the service, in the form of several projects oriented to sustainability which would not take place without the joint effort of actors involved, parents in the first place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Economic Feasibility Analysis of the Application of Geothermal Energy Facilities to Public Building Structures
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1667-1685; doi:10.3390/su6041667
Received: 1 March 2014 / Revised: 13 March 2014 / Accepted: 18 March 2014 / Published: 27 March 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (758 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aims to present an efficient plan for the application of a geothermal energy facility at the building structure planning phase. Energy consumption, energy cost and the primary energy consumption of buildings were calculated to enable a comparison of buildings prior [...] Read more.
This study aims to present an efficient plan for the application of a geothermal energy facility at the building structure planning phase. Energy consumption, energy cost and the primary energy consumption of buildings were calculated to enable a comparison of buildings prior to the application of a geothermal energy facility. The capacity for energy savings and the costs related to the installation of such a facility were estimated. To obtain more reliable criteria for economic feasibility, the lifecycle cost (LCC) analysis incorporated maintenance costs (reflecting repair and replacement cycles based on construction work specifications of a new renewable energy facility) and initial construction costs (calculated based on design drawings for its practical installation). It is expected that the findings of this study will help in the selection of an economically viable geothermal energy facility at the building construction planning phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building)
Open AccessArticle Engineering the Jatropha Hype in Indonesia
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1686-1704; doi:10.3390/su6041686
Received: 14 December 2013 / Revised: 16 March 2014 / Accepted: 24 March 2014 / Published: 2 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper explores the actors, social networks, and narratives at national and global levels that have been contributing to creating a hype about Jatropha as a biofuel crop in Indonesia. Widespread concerns about climate change and the 2005–2006 rise of world crude [...] Read more.
This paper explores the actors, social networks, and narratives at national and global levels that have been contributing to creating a hype about Jatropha as a biofuel crop in Indonesia. Widespread concerns about climate change and the 2005–2006 rise of world crude oil prices had created the important momentum for promoting Jatropha based biofuel around the world. What have been the drivers behind this hype and which narratives have been spread? The paper discusses the difference between hypes and boom-and-bust patterns, and argues that the latter is not applicable to Jatropha, because a market for Jatropha products has not been developed yet. In terms of the actors’ contributions to this hype, the paper highlights the important role of engineers in mobilizing public support for Jatropha activities. Drawing on the results from interviews and secondary analysis, the paper reports how they have spread the news and claims through the Internet, creating public expectations about the potentials of the crop. Those narratives include one specifically Indonesian argument for supporting Jatropha cultivation appealing to the collective memory about Jatropha during the Japanese occupation period in Indonesia. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Real Estate in Sustainable Development in Developing Countries: The Case of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1709-1728; doi:10.3390/su6041709
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 4 March 2014 / Accepted: 21 March 2014 / Published: 2 April 2014
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Abstract
The construction of real estate has the potential to advance sustainability in terms of meeting economic and social criteria—the Business Case and the Societal Case. This is a crucial aspect in the stated visions and plans in many developing countries. Hence, it [...] Read more.
The construction of real estate has the potential to advance sustainability in terms of meeting economic and social criteria—the Business Case and the Societal Case. This is a crucial aspect in the stated visions and plans in many developing countries. Hence, it is important to understand how real estate can best contribute. Semi-structured interviews with a number of decision-makers involved in the real estate sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain were undertaken to explore perceptions of how the sector could best contribute to sustainable development. The decision-makers came from government bodies, investment banks, real estate developers, investors, constructors, project consultants and auditors. The interviews highlight the importance of having a stated vision and strategy which is highly visible and shared by all stakeholders. In the case of Bahrain this is Vision 2030 and the National Economic Strategy. It is important to ensure that any plans that are put in place to achieve the vision/strategy are adaptable to reflect changes in the external environment. The decision-makers identified three areas of focus in terms of the content of policy in order to meet the economic and social-related sustainability criteria as set out in Vision 2030 and the National Economic Strategy. These are: infrastructure, affordable housing and tourism/leisure. Within these three areas, that of infrastructure is also the key enabler for developments in the other two areas to be realized. In terms of a method of governance, the use of public-private-partnerships (PPPs) was identified as being highly appropriate. Such partnerships are not only useful to leverage private sector investment into specific development projects but also to ensure that such development harnesses innovative and efficient methods. Full article
Open AccessArticle Combining Satellite Data and Models to Assess Vulnerability to Climate Change and Its Impact on Food Security in Morocco
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1729-1746; doi:10.3390/su6041729
Received: 31 January 2014 / Revised: 18 March 2014 / Accepted: 19 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
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Abstract
This work analyzes satellite and socioeconomic data to explore the relationship between food and wood demand and supply, expressed in terms of net primary production (NPP), in Morocco. A vulnerability index is defined as the ratio of demand to supply as influenced [...] Read more.
This work analyzes satellite and socioeconomic data to explore the relationship between food and wood demand and supply, expressed in terms of net primary production (NPP), in Morocco. A vulnerability index is defined as the ratio of demand to supply as influenced by population, affluence, technology and climate indicators. The present situation (1995–2007), as well as projections of demand and supply, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Scenarios A2 and B2, are analyzed for a 2025 horizon. We find that the food NPP demand increased by 34.5%, whereas the wood consumption NPP demand decreased by 19.3% between 1995 and 2007. The annual NPP required to support the population’s food and wood appropriation was 29.73 million tons of carbon (MTC) in 2007, while the landscape NPP production for the same year was 60.24 MTC; indicating that the population appropriates about 50% of the total NPP resources. Both scenarios show increases in demand and decreases in supply. Under A2, it would take more than 1.25 years for terrestrial ecosystems in Morocco to produce the NPP appropriated by populations in one year. This number is 0.70 years under B2. This already high vulnerability for food and wood products is likely to be exacerbated with climate changes and population increase. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Multi-Scale Changes in Arable Land and Scale Effects of the Driving Factors in the Loess Areas in Northern Shaanxi, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1747-1760; doi:10.3390/su6041747
Received: 13 January 2014 / Revised: 11 March 2014 / Accepted: 20 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
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Abstract
In this study, statistical data on the national economic and social development, including the year-end actual area of arable land, the crop yield per unit area and 10 factors, were obtained for the period between 1980 and 2010 and used to analyze [...] Read more.
In this study, statistical data on the national economic and social development, including the year-end actual area of arable land, the crop yield per unit area and 10 factors, were obtained for the period between 1980 and 2010 and used to analyze the factors driving changes in the arable land of the Loess Plateau in northern Shaanxi, China. The following areas of arable land, which represent different spatial scales, were investigated: the Baota District, the city of Yan’an, and the Northern Shaanxi region. The scale effects of the factors driving the changes to the arable land were analyzed using a canonical correlation analysis and a principal component analysis. Because it was difficult to quantify the impact of the national government policies on the arable land changes, the contributions of the national government policies to the changes in arable land were analyzed qualitatively. The primary conclusions of the study were as follows: between 1980 and 2010, the arable land area decreased. The trends of the year-end actual arable land proportion of the total area in the northern Shaanxi region and Yan’an City were broadly consistent, whereas the proportion in the Baota District had no obvious similarity with the northern Shaanxi region and Yan’an City. Remarkably different factors were shown to influence the changes in the arable land at different scales. Environmental factors exerted a greater effect for smaller scale arable land areas (the Baota District). The effect of socio-economic development was a major driving factor for the changes in the arable land area at the city and regional scales. At smaller scales, population change, urbanization and socio-economic development affected the crop yield per unit area either directly or indirectly. Socio-economic development and the modernization of agricultural technology had a greater effect on the crop yield per unit area at the large-scales. Furthermore, the qualitative analysis indicated that government policies had a more significant impact on the large-scale arable land areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Integration and Diffusion in Sustainable Development Goals: Learning from the Past, Looking into the Future
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1761-1775; doi:10.3390/su6041761
Received: 27 April 2013 / Revised: 14 March 2014 / Accepted: 17 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction
Abstract
One of the next major challenges for research and policy on sustainability is setting the post-2015 Development Agenda. This challenge arises as a direct result of the formal ending of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and as an outcome of [...] Read more.
One of the next major challenges for research and policy on sustainability is setting the post-2015 Development Agenda. This challenge arises as a direct result of the formal ending of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and as an outcome of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The post-2015 Development Agenda is expected to include two agendas: one on human well-being to advance the MDG targets and the other on planetary well-being, which requires a safe “operating space” within the Earth’s life-support system. In contrast to the MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are meant to apply to both developing and developed countries and create a space for development within the stable functioning of the Earth’s systems. However, what might this all look like? For answers, this paper reviews the achievements and reflections of the MDGs to date and identifies new challenges entailed in the shift of development goals from “millennium” to “sustainable”. While most of the existing studies look at these two sets of issues separately, combining the two reveals two important features of the SDGs. First, SDGs need to integrate both human and planetary well-being in a goal, and second, goals, or sub-goals, need to be formulated at multiple levels, from global to local levels. While the MDGs represented no integrated goals, some of the existing proposals on SDGs include integrated goals. However, our analysis has shown that they do not present the vertical diffusion of goals. Considering both integration and diffusion in the architecture of SDGs is a remaining task. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Goals)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Prototype Web GIS-Based Disaster Management System for Safe Operation of the Next Generation Bimodal Tram, South Korea—Focused Flooding and Snowfall
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1776-1795; doi:10.3390/su6041776
Received: 6 January 2014 / Revised: 19 February 2014 / Accepted: 27 March 2014 / Published: 4 April 2014
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Abstract
The Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) has developed a bimodal tram and advanced bus rapid transit (BRT) system which is an optimized public transit system created by mixing the railway’s punctual operation and the bus’ easy and convenient access. The bimodal tram [...] Read more.
The Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) has developed a bimodal tram and advanced bus rapid transit (BRT) system which is an optimized public transit system created by mixing the railway’s punctual operation and the bus’ easy and convenient access. The bimodal tram system provides mass-transportation service with an eco-friendly and human-centered approach. Natural disasters have been increasing worldwide in recent years, including floods, snow, and typhoons disasters. Flooding is the most frequent natural disaster in many countries and is increasingly a concern with climate change; it seriously affects people’s lives and productivity, causing considerable economic loss and significant damage. Enhanced conventional disaster management systems are needed to support comprehensive actions to secure safety and convenience. The objective of this study is to develop a prototype version of a Web GIS-based bimodal tram disaster management system (BTDMS) using the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) 5.0 to enhance on-time operation and safety of the bimodal tram system. The BTDMS was tested at the bimodal tram test railroad by simulating probable maximum flood (PMF) and snow melting for forecasting flooding and snow covered roads. This result could provide the basis for plans to protect against flooding disasters and snow covered roads in operating the bimodal tram system. The BTDMS will be used to assess and predict weather impacts on roadway conditions and operations and thus has the potential to influence economic growth. The methodology presented in this paper makes it possible to manage impacts of flooding and snowfall on urban transportation and enhance operation of the bimodal tram system. Such a methodology based on modeling could be created for most metropolitan areas in Korea and in many other countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy and Exergy Analyses of a New Combined Cycle for Producing Electricity and Desalinated Water Using Geothermal Energy
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1796-1820; doi:10.3390/su6041796
Received: 1 January 2014 / Revised: 14 February 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
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Abstract
A new combined cogeneration system for producing electrical power and pure water is proposed and analyzed from the viewpoints of thermodynamics and economics. The system uses geothermal energy as a heat source and consists of a Kalina cycle, a LiBr/H2O [...] Read more.
A new combined cogeneration system for producing electrical power and pure water is proposed and analyzed from the viewpoints of thermodynamics and economics. The system uses geothermal energy as a heat source and consists of a Kalina cycle, a LiBr/H2O heat transformer and a water purification system. A parametric study is carried out in order to investigate the effects on system performance of the turbine inlet pressure and the evaporator exit temperature. For the proposed system, the first and second law efficiencies are found to be in the ranges of 16%–18.2% and 61.9%–69.1%, respectively. For a geothermal water stream with a mass flow rate of 89 kg/s and a temperature of 124 °C, the maximum production rate for pure water is found to be 0.367 kg/s. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transit Traffic Analysis Zone Delineating Method Based on Thiessen Polygon
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1821-1832; doi:10.3390/su6041821
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 25 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
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Abstract
A green transportation system composed of transit, busses and bicycles could be a significant in alleviating traffic congestion. However, the inaccuracy of current transit ridership forecasting methods is imposing a negative impact on the development of urban transit systems. Traffic Analysis Zone [...] Read more.
A green transportation system composed of transit, busses and bicycles could be a significant in alleviating traffic congestion. However, the inaccuracy of current transit ridership forecasting methods is imposing a negative impact on the development of urban transit systems. Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ) delineating is a fundamental and essential step in ridership forecasting, existing delineating method in four-step models have some problems in reflecting the travel characteristics of urban transit. This paper aims to come up with a Transit Traffic Analysis Zone delineation method as supplement of traditional TAZs in transit service analysis. The deficiencies of current TAZ delineating methods were analyzed, and the requirements of Transit Traffic Analysis Zone (TTAZ) were summarized. Considering these requirements, Thiessen Polygon was introduced into TTAZ delineating. In order to validate its feasibility, Beijing was then taken as an example to delineate TTAZs, followed by a spatial analysis of office buildings within a TTAZ and transit station departure passengers. Analysis result shows that the TTAZs based on Thiessen polygon could reflect the transit travel characteristic and is of in-depth research value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Biological Kinetics in a Conventional Municipal WWTP by Means of the Oxygen Uptake Rate Method
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1833-1847; doi:10.3390/su6041833
Received: 17 December 2013 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 27 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (572 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pollution control of surface water bodies requires stringent checks on wastewater treatment plants performances. The satisfactory operation of biological treatment, commonly performed by means of activated sludge processes, requires a number of controlling and monitoring procedures. Suitable respirometric techniques for the determination [...] Read more.
Pollution control of surface water bodies requires stringent checks on wastewater treatment plants performances. The satisfactory operation of biological treatment, commonly performed by means of activated sludge processes, requires a number of controlling and monitoring procedures. Suitable respirometric techniques for the determination of the kinetic parameters that regulate biological processes have been implemented in order to achieve this aim. This paper describes the results of an experimental research carried out in a conventional Italian municipal wastewater treatment plant. Particularly, the research has been finalized to both evaluate the biological process for the removal of biodegradable pollutants, such as carbonaceous substrates and ammonia nitrogen, and to collect data in order to evaluate a possible plant upgrade. Heterotrophic and autotrophic biomass kinetic parameters have been examined using respirometric techniques based on oxygen uptake measurements. The research performed makes a valuable contribution toward verifying the reliability of the values proposed in the literature for some kinetic parameters, which have been commonly used for a long time. Full article
Open AccessArticle Differences in Pattern and Driving Forces between Urban and Rural Settlements in the Coastal Region of Ningbo, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1848-1867; doi:10.3390/su6041848
Received: 7 March 2014 / Revised: 27 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1770 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rapid urbanization on the coast of China has attracted much attention. The objective of this study was to explore the differences in dynamics and related driving forces between urban and rural settlements. Applying the quantitative method, we demonstrate that substantial heterogeneity in [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization on the coast of China has attracted much attention. The objective of this study was to explore the differences in dynamics and related driving forces between urban and rural settlements. Applying the quantitative method, we demonstrate that substantial heterogeneity in settlement growth, landscape pattern metrics, change, land sources and driving forces is exhibited across the different types of urban and rural settlements. The spatial growth of urban settlements is dominated by in situ expansion, while rural settlements tend to be scattered and shrinking rapidly. The sprawl of human settlements has mainly occupied farm land, but reclamation projects are increasingly becoming important land sources for urban settlements. Local government has played a critical role in urban settlements, while the expansion of rural settlements is mainly driven by individual choice and village collective organizations. Such differences may account for differential options for the management of human settlements scientifically. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cameroon: Perspectives on Food Security and the Emerging Power Footprint
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1868-1895; doi:10.3390/su6041868
Received: 13 January 2014 / Revised: 17 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The reality that food security is a contested concept and ultimately a matter of perspective has considerable implications for Cameroon’s partnerships with emerging powers. This article argues that Cameroon could achieve a more sustainable and equitable food system if greater policy attention [...] Read more.
The reality that food security is a contested concept and ultimately a matter of perspective has considerable implications for Cameroon’s partnerships with emerging powers. This article argues that Cameroon could achieve a more sustainable and equitable food system if greater policy attention is directed toward understanding the range of perspectives that contend to influence food security policy, and to engaging with viewpoints that vie to assess the ‘footprint’ of emerging powers in this area. The analysis presented below shows that the principal perspectives that compete to influence Cameroonian policy vary depending on the particular dimension of food security or aspect of emerging power activity under discussion. This finding challenges previous typologies, and encourages more nuanced interpretations of debates on these matters moving forward. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Web Crawler Technology for Geo-Events Analysis: A Case Study of the Huangyan Island Incident
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1896-1912; doi:10.3390/su6041896
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 26 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1074 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Social networking and network socialization provide abundant text information and social relationships into our daily lives. Making full use of these data in the big data era is of great significance for us to better understand the changing world and the information-based [...] Read more.
Social networking and network socialization provide abundant text information and social relationships into our daily lives. Making full use of these data in the big data era is of great significance for us to better understand the changing world and the information-based society. Though politics have been integrally involved in the hyperlinked world issues since the 1990s, the text analysis and data visualization of geo-events faced the bottleneck of traditional manual analysis. Though automatic assembly of different geospatial web and distributed geospatial information systems utilizing service chaining have been explored and built recently, the data mining and information collection are not comprehensive enough because of the sensibility, complexity, relativity, timeliness, and unexpected characteristics of political events. Based on the framework of Heritrix and the analysis of web-based text, word frequency, sentiment tendency, and dissemination path of the Huangyan Island incident were studied by using web crawler technology and the text analysis. The results indicate that tag cloud, frequency map, attitudes pie, individual mention ratios, and dissemination flow graph, based on the crawled information and data processing not only highlight the characteristics of geo-event itself, but also implicate many interesting phenomenon and deep-seated problems behind it, such as related topics, theme vocabularies, subject contents, hot countries, event bodies, opinion leaders, high-frequency vocabularies, information sources, semantic structure, propagation paths, distribution of different attitudes, and regional difference of net citizens’ response in the Huangyan Island incident. Furthermore, the text analysis of network information with the help of focused web crawler is able to express the time-space relationship of crawled information and the information characteristic of semantic network to the geo-events. Therefore, it is a useful tool to collect information for understanding the formation and diffusion of web-based public opinions in political events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borderland Studies and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Sustainability of a Small-Scale Low-Input Organic Vegetable Supply System in the United Kingdom
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1913-1945; doi:10.3390/su6041913
Received: 29 December 2013 / Revised: 3 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1864 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Resource use and environmental impacts of a small-scale low-input organic vegetable supply system in the United Kingdom were assessed by emergy accounting and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The system consisted of a farm with high crop diversity and a related box-scheme distribution [...] Read more.
Resource use and environmental impacts of a small-scale low-input organic vegetable supply system in the United Kingdom were assessed by emergy accounting and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The system consisted of a farm with high crop diversity and a related box-scheme distribution system. We compared empirical data from this case system with two modeled organic food supply systems representing high- and low-yielding practices for organic vegetable production. Further, these systems were embedded in a supermarket distribution system and they provided the same amount of comparable vegetables at the consumers’ door as the case system. The on-farm resource use measured in solar equivalent Joules (seJ) was similar for the case system and the high-yielding model system and higher for the low-yielding model system. The distribution phase of the case system was at least three times as resource efficient as the models and had substantially less environmental impacts when assessed using LCA. The three systems ranked differently for emissions with the high-yielding model system being the worst for terrestrial ecotoxicity and the case system the worst for global warming potential. As a consequence of being embedded in an industrial economy, about 90% of resources (seJ) were used for supporting labor and service. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Approach to Modelling the Economy-Society-Ecology System in Urbanization Process
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1946-1972; doi:10.3390/su6041946
Received: 2 January 2014 / Revised: 26 March 2014 / Accepted: 27 March 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urbanization has become a key part of social and economic progress in the 21st Century, but achieving healthy and safe urban development has a long way to go for many developed and developing countries. Urbanization has been recognized as a complex ecosystem [...] Read more.
Urbanization has become a key part of social and economic progress in the 21st Century, but achieving healthy and safe urban development has a long way to go for many developed and developing countries. Urbanization has been recognized as a complex ecosystem which is affected by economic, social, and ecological factors. With this in mind, this paper looks at many factors to first evaluate based on the matter-element (ME) method and then model an Economy-Society-Ecology (ESE) subsystem using a hybrid method by a fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (FAHP), and then by using the entropy method (EM) to determine the relevant index weights. To avoid subjectivity when defining the model’s boundaries, the technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) is introduced. Then, a coupling coordination degree model focusing on the degree of coordination in the ESE subsystem is established. Panel data collected from 2003 to 2012 for Chengdu, China, is then simulated to analyze the development process. The results show that: (1) The quality of urbanization continues to improve and the phasic features are presented; (2) The sensitivity analysis of subsystem weight shown that it had less effect on the coupling coordinated system; (3) The coordination in the ESE subsystem has also improved. However, the development rate of the economic subsystem is greater than that of the societal and ecological subsystem. The approach used here therefore, is shown to provide a promising basis for policy-making to support healthy urban development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Gender and (Un)Sustainability—Can Communication Solve a Conflict of Norms?
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1973-1991; doi:10.3390/su6041973
Received: 2 January 2014 / Revised: 31 March 2014 / Accepted: 1 April 2014 / Published: 10 April 2014
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Abstract
In theory, and even more in the practice of sustainability communications, the gender dimension of sustainability has been neglected relative to other fields of the science. The aim of this paper is to show the relevance of gender as an analytical category [...] Read more.
In theory, and even more in the practice of sustainability communications, the gender dimension of sustainability has been neglected relative to other fields of the science. The aim of this paper is to show the relevance of gender as an analytical category for research and the importance of gender competence as an indispensable skill for professional sustainability communicators. Understanding how gender norms have contributed to inhibiting sustainable development is key to well-targeted means to communicate visions of sustainable ways of life. Traditional norms of masculinity are clearly in tension with the ethical, ecological and social implications of Sustainable Development, whereas the norms of femininity work against empowerment and participation of women. Current changes in gender relations and gender identities in the western world do not automatically solve this conflict of norms. Therefore, sustainability communication must and can contribute to shaping the social construction of gender towards new “sustainable” norms and ideals for the various gender identities in western societies. In order to achieve this, gender mainstreaming (GM) needs to be implemented in the field of sustainability communication, from capacity building for communicators to project design and research. Gender and diversity competence is to become a professional requirement, assuring that traditional “doing gender” is avoided, cultural diversity respected and structural inequalities are made visible. Visions of sustainable societies should include changes in gender relations. The argument is based on sociological studies, gender theories, gender policies, and environmental and sustainability communication studies, empirically supported by biographical studies and media analyses over the last twenty years in Western Europe, mainly Germany. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Wastewater Management: Is it Possible to Regulate Micropollution in the Future by Learning from the Past? A Policy Analysis
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 1992-2012; doi:10.3390/su6041992
Received: 14 December 2013 / Revised: 30 March 2014 / Accepted: 1 April 2014 / Published: 10 April 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (609 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper applies a policy analysis approach to the question of how to effectively regulate micropollution in a sustainable manner. Micropollution is a complex policy problem characterized by a huge number and diversity of chemical substances, as well as various entry paths [...] Read more.
This paper applies a policy analysis approach to the question of how to effectively regulate micropollution in a sustainable manner. Micropollution is a complex policy problem characterized by a huge number and diversity of chemical substances, as well as various entry paths into the aquatic environment. It challenges traditional water quality management by calling for new technologies in wastewater treatment and behavioral changes in industry, agriculture and civil society. In light of such challenges, the question arises as to how to regulate such a complex phenomenon to ensure water quality is maintained in the future? What can we learn from past experiences in water quality regulation? To answer these questions, policy analysis strongly focuses on the design and choice of policy instruments and the mix of such measures. In this paper, we review instruments commonly used in past water quality regulation. We evaluate their ability to respond to the characteristics of a more recent water quality problem, i.e., micropollution, in a sustainable way. This way, we develop a new framework that integrates both the problem dimension (i.e., causes and effects of a problem) as well as the sustainability dimension (e.g., long-term, cross-sectoral and multi-level) to assess which policy instruments are best suited to regulate micropollution. We thus conclude that sustainability criteria help to identify an appropriate instrument mix of end-of-pipe and source-directed measures to reduce aquatic micropollution. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainability as a Priority at Major U.S. Department of Energy’s Defense Sites: Surrounding Population Views
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2013-2030; doi:10.3390/su6042013
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 26 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 10 April 2014
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Abstract
Sustainability is rapidly becoming a widely accepted and desired attitude, as well as a stimulus for both environmentally-conscious individuals and firm behavior. However, does the public interest in sustainability also extend to large U.S. federal agencies? Does the public care about on-site [...] Read more.
Sustainability is rapidly becoming a widely accepted and desired attitude, as well as a stimulus for both environmentally-conscious individuals and firm behavior. However, does the public interest in sustainability also extend to large U.S. federal agencies? Does the public care about on-site sustainability programs? To answer this question, we surveyed 922 people who live within 50 miles of one of four U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) major facilities: Hanford, Idaho National Laboratory, Savannah River and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Only 14% expressed no interest in DOE’s on-site sustainability efforts. Five percent said that they were interested enough to join a local community group to provide feedback to the DOE; 49% were interested and wanted more information, as well as interaction with the DOE’s site-specific advisory boards or local elected officials. Compared to other DOE on-site activities, respondents rated sustainability as “somewhat important”. Native Americans who live near a site, are familiar with it and self-identify as interested in environmental protection disproportionately belong to the “most interested” category. We conclude that public interest is sufficient to merit outreach by DOE to involve interested and knowledgeable local residents in on-site sustainability plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Transnational Comparison of Sustainability Assessment Programs for Viticulture and a Case-Study on Programs’ Engagement Processes
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2031-2066; doi:10.3390/su6042031
Received: 26 February 2014 / Revised: 24 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 10 April 2014
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Abstract
This article documents and compares the most prominent sustainability assessment programs for individual organisations in viticulture worldwide. Certification and engagement processes for membership uptake; benefits; motives; inhibiting factors; and desirable reporting system features of viticultural sustainability programs, are all considered. Case-study results [...] Read more.
This article documents and compares the most prominent sustainability assessment programs for individual organisations in viticulture worldwide. Certification and engagement processes for membership uptake; benefits; motives; inhibiting factors; and desirable reporting system features of viticultural sustainability programs, are all considered. Case-study results are derived from nine sustainability programs; 14 focus groups with 83 CEOs, Chief Viticulturists or Winemakers from wine grape production organizations from five countries (Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States); 12 semi-structured interviews with managers either currently or formerly in charge of the sustainability programs; researcher observations; and analysis of documents. Programs were categorized by their distinct program assessment methods: process-based, best practice-based, indicator-based and criterion-based. We found that programs have been created to increase growers’ sustainability, mainly through the direct and indirect education they receive and promote, and the economic benefit to their business caused by overall improvement of their operations. The main finding from this study is that the success of each of these programs is largely due to the people driving the programs (program managers, innovative growers and/or early adopters) and the way these people communicate and engage with their stakeholders and peers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Toward a Remote Sensing Solution for Regional Sustainability Assessment and Monitoring
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2067-2086; doi:10.3390/su6042067
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 1 April 2014 / Accepted: 1 April 2014 / Published: 11 April 2014
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Abstract
Regional sustainability encourages a re-examination of development programs in the context of environmental, social and economic policies and practices. However, sustainability remains a broadly defined concept that has been applied to mean everything from environmental protection, social cohesion, economic growth, neighborhood design, [...] Read more.
Regional sustainability encourages a re-examination of development programs in the context of environmental, social and economic policies and practices. However, sustainability remains a broadly defined concept that has been applied to mean everything from environmental protection, social cohesion, economic growth, neighborhood design, alternative energy, and green building design. To guide sustainability initiatives and assess progress toward more sustainable development patterns, a need exists to place this concept into a functional decision-centric context where change can be evaluated and the exploitation of resources better understood. Accepting the premise that sustainable development defines a set of conditions and trends in a given system that can continue indefinitely without contributing to environmental degradation, answers to four critical questions that direct sustainability over the long-term must be addressed: (1) What is the present state of the environmental system, (2) Is that pattern sustainable, (3) Are there indications that the environmental system is degrading, and (4) Can that information be incorporated into policy decisions to guide the future? Answers to these questions hinge on the development of tractable indices that can be employed to support the long-term monitoring required to assess sustainability goals and a means to measure those indices. In this paper, a solution based on the application of remote sensing technology is introduced focused on the development of land use intensity indices derived from earth-observation satellite data. Placed into a monitoring design, this approach is evaluated in a change detection role at the watershed scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle A GIS-Based Approach in Support of Spatial Planning for Renewable Energy: A Case Study of Fukushima, Japan
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2087-2117; doi:10.3390/su6042087
Received: 27 February 2014 / Revised: 1 April 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
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Abstract
This paper presents an approach in support of spatial planning for renewable energy at the regional level. It aims to establish an elaborate and informative procedure, as well as integrated quantification and visualization, to support decision making. The proposed approach is composed [...] Read more.
This paper presents an approach in support of spatial planning for renewable energy at the regional level. It aims to establish an elaborate and informative procedure, as well as integrated quantification and visualization, to support decision making. The proposed approach is composed of a set of sequential steps that include primary energy consumption estimation, renewable energy potential estimation, energy self-sufficiency analysis, and composite map preparation using Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is used to analyze solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydro-power potential within Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Potential sites are determined based on geographic, topographic, and land use constraints. Evacuees’ population and forest radiation levels are specifically considered in the context of consequent issues emanating from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. Energy self-sufficiency analysis has been conducted for years 2020 and 2030. A composite map showing potential sites and their interrelation to the above renewable energy resources has also been presented. These results may support decision making in regional renewable energy planning, by providing information on regional potentials and restrictions to different energy stakeholders. This can help to build an energy developmental vision, which can drive regional energy development towards sustainability. The proposed approach can also be applied to other Japanese municipalities or regions. It provides an example on how to establish local GIS databases through the utilization of various online open GIS resources in Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Lessons Learned from Developing a New Distance-Learning Masters Course in the Green Economy
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2118-2132; doi:10.3390/su6042118
Received: 5 February 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 15 April 2014
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Abstract
It is widely recognised that for the green economy to develop successfully, new educational curricula will be required to help professionals develop appropriate knowledge and skills. Relatively few university courses have been developed to date that explicitly focus on the green economy, [...] Read more.
It is widely recognised that for the green economy to develop successfully, new educational curricula will be required to help professionals develop appropriate knowledge and skills. Relatively few university courses have been developed to date that explicitly focus on the green economy, reflecting its recent origins. Here we present the lessons learned from developing and implementing a new Masters course in the green economy, at Bournemouth University in the UK. The most significant challenges were institutional barriers, such as different departmental policies and procedures and decentralised budget strategies, which inhibited the cross-departmental collaboration desired for interdisciplinarity. Uncertainty about the future development of the green economy and its value as a concept, among both teaching staff and prospective students, presented a further challenge. In addition, the development of an appropriate curriculum for green economy courses has received little attention previously. Here, we present an overview of the curriculum developed for this Masters-level course, and, based on our experience, we demonstrate how the challenges in developing such a course can successfully be overcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
Open AccessArticle From Environmental to Sustainability Programs: A Review of Sustainability Initiatives in the Italian Wine Sector
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2133-2159; doi:10.3390/su6042133
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 27 February 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 15 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (964 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Italian wine industry is strongly committed to sustainability: the stakeholders’ interest for the topic is constantly growing and a wide number of sustainability programs have been launched in recent years, by both private businesses and consortiums. The launch of these initiatives [...] Read more.
The Italian wine industry is strongly committed to sustainability: the stakeholders’ interest for the topic is constantly growing and a wide number of sustainability programs have been launched in recent years, by both private businesses and consortiums. The launch of these initiatives has signaled the commitment of farmers and wine producers to the implementation of sustainability principles in viticulture and wine production, which is a positive signal. Unfortunately, however, the varied design of the sustainability initiatives and the differences in the objectives, methodologies, and proposed tools risks to create confusion, and undermine the positive aspects of these initiatives. In order to bring some clarity to this topic, we herein present a comparison of the most important sustainability programs in the Italian wine sector, with the overall objective of highlighting the opportunity to create synergies between the initiatives and define a common sustainability strategy for the Italian wine sector. Full article
Open AccessArticle Changing Paradigms: A Sketch for Sustainable Wellbeing and Ecosocial Policy
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2160-2175; doi:10.3390/su6042160
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 April 2014 / Published: 15 April 2014
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Abstract
We live in the Anthropocene era, where human action has an unforeseen impact on global ecosystems. This is visible, for instance, in climate change, in the loss of biodiversity and in the acidification of the oceans. Little attention is given to the [...] Read more.
We live in the Anthropocene era, where human action has an unforeseen impact on global ecosystems. This is visible, for instance, in climate change, in the loss of biodiversity and in the acidification of the oceans. Little attention is given to the fact that the Anthropocene is related to anthropocentric thinking that also guides our policies. Therefore, we argue that ecologically and socially sustainable policies will not be achieved by incidental policy measures alone, but a change of paradigm is needed. In our article, we lay out the tenets of a relational paradigm resting on holistic thinking and deep ecology. On the basis of this paradigm, the principles, conceptions and goals specific to any given policy can be formulated, giving them a common ground. In this article, we apply the relational paradigm to social policy in order to contribute to the quest for sustainable wellbeing in the overconsuming welfare states. Here, we formulate a multidimensional and relational conception of wellbeing, the HDLB-model (Having-Doing-Loving-Being), which is a modification of sociologist Erik Allardt’s theory. We illustrate how this model could provide the foundation of a sustainable ecosocial policy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Synthesis of Constructs for Modeling Consumers’ Understanding and Perception of Eco-Labels
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2176-2200; doi:10.3390/su6042176
Received: 1 January 2014 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
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Abstract
The term “eco-labeling” has become a buzzword in today’s sustainable business world. The use of eco-labeling in various forms has been increasing notably for past many years, sometimes as an environmental “requirement” and sometimes merely as a marketing tool. Questions arise about [...] Read more.
The term “eco-labeling” has become a buzzword in today’s sustainable business world. The use of eco-labeling in various forms has been increasing notably for past many years, sometimes as an environmental “requirement” and sometimes merely as a marketing tool. Questions arise about how well these eco-labels are attended and understood by consumers. However, though mentionable studies are found on various aspects of eco-labels, gaps exist in exploring an inclusive set of parameters for investigating consumer perceptions of eco-labels. This paper aims at preparing a synthesis of all the possible factors to be incorporated for measuring consumer perceptions of eco-labeling of products. For making such synthesis, all major works in the field have been thoroughly reviewed. The paper comes up with a total of 10 parameters that include consumer awareness, consumer knowledge, consumer involvement, consumer trust, design and visibility, credibility of the source, type and level of information, clarity of meaning, persuasiveness, and private benefits. This tentative, yet inclusive, set of parameters is thought to be useful for designing large scale future empirical researches for developing a dependable inclusive set of parameters to test consumer understanding and perceptions of eco-label. A framework is proposed for further empirical research. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Step towards Developing a Sustainability Performance Measure within Industrial Networks
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2201-2222; doi:10.3390/su6042201
Received: 14 October 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2014 / Accepted: 25 March 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
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Abstract
Despite the plethora of literature in sustainability and supply chain management in the recent years, a quantitative tool that measures the sustainability performance of an industrial supply network, considering the uncertainties of existing data, is hard to find. This conceptual paper is [...] Read more.
Despite the plethora of literature in sustainability and supply chain management in the recent years, a quantitative tool that measures the sustainability performance of an industrial supply network, considering the uncertainties of existing data, is hard to find. This conceptual paper is aimed at establishing a quantitative measure for the sustainability performance of industrial supply networks that considers aleatory and epistemic uncertainties in its environmental performance evaluation. The measure is built upon economic, environmental and social performance evaluation models. These models address a number of shortcomings in the literature, such as incomplete and inaccurate calculation of environmental impacts, as well as the disregard for aleatory and epistemic uncertainties in the input data and, more importantly, the scarce number of quantitative social sustainability measures. Dyadic interactions are chosen for the network, while the network members have a revenue-sharing relationship. This relationship promotes sharing of the required information for the use of the proposed model. This measure provides an approach to quantify the environmental, social and economic sustainability performances of a supply network. Moreover, as this measure is not specifically designed for an industrial sector, it can be employed over an evolving and diverse industrial network. Full article
Open AccessArticle Pioneering in Marginal Fields: Jatropha for Carbon Credits and Restoring Degraded Land in Eastern Indonesia
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2223-2247; doi:10.3390/su6042223
Received: 5 December 2013 / Revised: 18 March 2014 / Accepted: 24 March 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
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Abstract
This paper highlights the role of a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Indonesia as “pioneer” actor in the jatropha global production network, linking solutions for local problems with narratives concerning global concerns. Analysis of previous activities of the NGO positions their jatropha [...] Read more.
This paper highlights the role of a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Indonesia as “pioneer” actor in the jatropha global production network, linking solutions for local problems with narratives concerning global concerns. Analysis of previous activities of the NGO positions their jatropha project as one period in a sequence of donor-funded appropriate technology programs. On the island of Flores in Eastern Indonesia the NGO aimed to establish community based jatropha cultivation exclusively on “degraded land”, avoiding threats to food cultivation, and responding to local problems of land degradation and water resources depletion. In contrast with investors interested in jatropha based biofuel production for export, the NGO aimed at developing biofuel for local needs, including jatropha based electricity generation in the regional state-owned power plant. Anticipating progress in international and national regulations concerning the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) the 2008 project’s design included carbon credit income as a main source of future project financing. Using methods of socio-legal studies and political ecology, this study indicates that when the economic feasibility of a project is based on the future financial value of a legally constructed commodity like carbon credits, the sustainability of the project outcome can be questionable. The author recommends precaution when it comes to including anticipated income from carbon credits in calculating the economic viability of a project, as price developments can fluctuate when political support and regulations change. Full article
Open AccessArticle Government Governance, Legal Environment and Sustainable Economic Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2248-2263; doi:10.3390/su6042248
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 7 April 2014 / Accepted: 8 April 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
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Abstract
Based on China’s inter-provincial panel data from 1999–2009, this paper has tested the impact and extent of marketization, government governance, and legal environment of sustainable economic development by controlling physical capital, human capital and productivity, so as to find the institutional reality [...] Read more.
Based on China’s inter-provincial panel data from 1999–2009, this paper has tested the impact and extent of marketization, government governance, and legal environment of sustainable economic development by controlling physical capital, human capital and productivity, so as to find the institutional reality for the difference in China’s economic development and another explanation for it. It turns out that marketization, government governance, and legal environment play significant roles in promoting sustainable economic development. Further tests show that the results of Eastern China are consistent with China’s inter-provincial results; while in Western China, the promotion effect of marketization, government governance, and legal environment on sustainable economic development is not significant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Spatial Disparities and Driving Factors of Energy Consumption Change in China Based on Spatial Statistics
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2264-2280; doi:10.3390/su6042264
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 7 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 17 April 2014
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Abstract
The changes of spatial pattern in energy consumption have an impact on global climate change. Based on the spatial autocorrelation analysis and the auto-regression model of spatial statistics, this study has explored the spatial disparities and driving forces in energy consumption changes [...] Read more.
The changes of spatial pattern in energy consumption have an impact on global climate change. Based on the spatial autocorrelation analysis and the auto-regression model of spatial statistics, this study has explored the spatial disparities and driving forces in energy consumption changes in China. The results show that the global spatial autocorrelation of energy consumption change in China is significant during the period 1990–2010, and the trend of spatial clustering of energy consumption change is weakened. The regions with higher energy consumption change are significantly distributed in the developed coastal areas in China, while those with lower energy consumption change are significantly distributed in the less developed western regions in China. Energy consumption change in China is mainly caused by transportation industry and non-labor intensive industry. Rapid economic development and higher industrialization rate are the main causes for faster changes in energy consumption in China. The results also indicate that spatial autoregressive model can reveal more influencing factors of energy consumption changes in China, in contrast with standard linear model. At last, this study has put forward the corresponding measures or policies for dealing with the growing trend of energy consumption in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Urban Eco-Security—A Case Study of Mianyang City, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2281-2299; doi:10.3390/su6042281
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, a series of ecological environmental problems have been brought about by high-intensity intervention of human beings, and ecological security is regarded as one of the most important national survival strategies. A methodology of urban eco-security evaluation has been introduced, including a [...] Read more.
Currently, a series of ecological environmental problems have been brought about by high-intensity intervention of human beings, and ecological security is regarded as one of the most important national survival strategies. A methodology of urban eco-security evaluation has been introduced, including a conceptual framework of pressure-state-response (PSR) model, setting-up of the indicator system of urban eco-security evaluation (ISUESE) and empirical research. By virtue of the mean-deviation method, the weight coefficient of every indicator is confirmed. It has been found that the top three indicators are: per capita area of paved road, per capita area of cultivated land and green coverage rate of built-up area, which has a relatively prominent status in he urban ecological security. A calculation procedure of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE) method is applied in empirical research. The Mianyang statistical data during the period of 2005–2012 shows that eco-security keeps a favorable trend, but criticality security and slight insecurity are dominant. It has also been found that insecurity membership degree (MD) of environment pressure accounts for a very large proportion of total pressure. Membership degrees of criticality security and security in environment state are increasing gradually, and as far as environment response is concerned, security is significantly increased. Full article
Open AccessArticle Farm Models and Eco-Health of Poultry Production Clusters (PPCs) following Avian Influenza Epidemics in Thailand
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2300-2319; doi:10.3390/su6042300
Received: 4 December 2013 / Revised: 6 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
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Abstract
Thailand is located in Southeast Asia and is a country that was affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) epidemics during 2003–2004. Nevertheless, the Thai government’s issuance policy of strict control and prevention of the disease has resulted in efficient disease control [...] Read more.
Thailand is located in Southeast Asia and is a country that was affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) epidemics during 2003–2004. Nevertheless, the Thai government’s issuance policy of strict control and prevention of the disease has resulted in efficient disease control of avian influenza (AI). Poultry farmers have been both positively and negatively affected by this policy. There are three poultry cluster models worthy of attention in Thailand: (1) egg chicken poultry clusters over ponds; (2) egg chicken poultry clusters in coops raised from the ground and managed by a cooperative; and (3) poultry clusters in closed coops under contract with the private sector. Following the AI epidemics, additional poultry husbandry and biosecurity systems were developed, thereby generating income and improving the quality of life for poultry farmers. Nevertheless, raising large clusters of poultry in the same area results in disadvantages, particularly problems with both air and water pollution, depending upon the environments of each poultry model. Furthermore, the government’s policy for controlling AI during epidemics has had a negative effect on the relationship between officials and farmers, due to poultry destruction measures. Full article
Open AccessArticle Simulation and Prediction of Decarbonated Development in Tourist Attractions Associated with Low-carbon Economy
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2320-2337; doi:10.3390/su6042320
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (770 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the field of tourism, the development of tourist attractions is gradually playing a crucial role in tourism economy, regional economy and national economy. While tourism economy is stimulated by growing demand, tourist attractions have been facing the situation that ecological environment [...] Read more.
In the field of tourism, the development of tourist attractions is gradually playing a crucial role in tourism economy, regional economy and national economy. While tourism economy is stimulated by growing demand, tourist attractions have been facing the situation that ecological environment is becoming fragile and environmental protection is increasingly difficult in China. As low-carbon economy is highlighted more than ever before, how to develop green economy, how to apply theories and technologies, which are related to low-carbon economy, to push forward decarbonation, to protect the ecological environment, and to boost the development of tourism economy have become the core problems for the sustainable development of tourist attractions system. In addition, this system has drawn the attention of scholars and practitioners in recent years. On the basis of low-carbon economy, this paper tries to define the decarbonated development goals and the connotation of tourist attractions system. In addition, it also discusses system structure associated with system dynamics and system engineering, and constructs system simulation model. In the end, a case study is conducted, that is, to predict the development trend of Jiuzhai Valley by adopting the constructed system so as to extend the previous research on low-carbon tourism and to guide the decarbonated development in tourist attractions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Development of Web-Based RECESS Model for Estimating Baseflow Using SWAT
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2357-2378; doi:10.3390/su6042357
Received: 19 January 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 23 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3309 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Groundwater has received increasing attention as an important strategic water resource for adaptation to climate change. In this regard, the separation of baseflow from streamflow and the analysis of recession curves make a significant contribution to integrated river basin management. The United [...] Read more.
Groundwater has received increasing attention as an important strategic water resource for adaptation to climate change. In this regard, the separation of baseflow from streamflow and the analysis of recession curves make a significant contribution to integrated river basin management. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) RECESS model adopting the master-recession curve (MRC) method can enhance the accuracy with which baseflow may be separated from streamflow, compared to other baseflow-separation schemes that are more limited in their ability to reflect various watershed/aquifer characteristics. The RECESS model has been widely used for the analysis of hydrographs, but the applications using RECESS were only available through Microsoft-Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). Thus, this study aims to develop a web-based RECESS model for easy separation of baseflow from streamflow, with easy applications for ungauged regions. RECESS on the web derived the alpha factor, which is a baseflow recession constant in the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), and this variable was provided to SWAT as the input. The results showed that the alpha factor estimated from the web-based RECESS model improved the predictions of streamflow and recession. Furthermore, these findings showed that the baseflow characteristics of the ungauged watersheds were influenced by the land use and slope angle of watersheds, as well as by precipitation and streamflow. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Sustainable Tourism Paradigm: Opportunities and Limits for Forest Landscape Planning
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2379-2391; doi:10.3390/su6042379
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 23 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The promotion of sustainable tourism models has been widely debated; many pages have been devoted to the attempt to provide the subject with a strong theoretical base and coherent structure. This said, it is still the case that, although such frameworks are [...] Read more.
The promotion of sustainable tourism models has been widely debated; many pages have been devoted to the attempt to provide the subject with a strong theoretical base and coherent structure. This said, it is still the case that, although such frameworks are crucial for the development of appropriate planning and policy instruments, their actual implementation continue to be fraught with difficulties. These problems are exacerbated when sustainable tourism entails development opportunities which require the support of the local community and the management of natural resources which are typically common goods. Under these circumstances, new management structures, which can both satisfy the needs of the local community and ensure the appropriate stewardship of the natural resources, must be created. Management solutions are not always easy to define and often need to be considered within a general framework, based on which individual cases are then formulated. This study analyses the connections between models of sustainable tourism and natural resource management considering the forest landscape case. This relationship is first examined from a theoretical perspective and then within a case study, in order to highlight the dual approach—both general and within a specific context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reframing Sustainable Tourism)

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Open AccessReview Identifying Legal, Ecological and Governance Obstacles, and Opportunities for Adapting to Climate Change
Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2338-2356; doi:10.3390/su6042338
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 22 April 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (532 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current governance of regional scale water management systems in the United States has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as conflict and gridlock characterize the social arena and ecosystem services continue to erode. Changing climate may continue this trajectory, but [...] Read more.
Current governance of regional scale water management systems in the United States has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as conflict and gridlock characterize the social arena and ecosystem services continue to erode. Changing climate may continue this trajectory, but it also provides a catalyst for renewal of ecosystems and a window of opportunity for change in institutions. Resilience provides a bridging concept that predicts that change in ecological and social systems is often dramatic, abrupt, and surprising. Adapting to the uncertainty of climate driven change must be done in a manner perceived as legitimate by the participants in a democratic society. Adaptation must begin with the current hierarchical and fragmented social-ecological system as a baseline from which new approaches must be applied. Achieving a level of integration between ecological concepts and governance requires a dialogue across multiple disciplines, including ecologists with expertise in ecological resilience, hydrologists and climate experts, with social scientists and legal scholars. Criteria and models that link ecological dynamics with policies in complex, multi-jurisdictional water basins with adaptive management and governance frameworks may move these social-ecological systems toward greater sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
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