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 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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.