Sustainability2013, 5(12), 5171-5194; doi:10.3390/su5125171 - published online 4 December 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Agroforestry practices can improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of local farming and subsistence systems while providing livelihood benefits to households. However, scaling up of agroforestry technology has often proved difficult. Many studies have been carried out to explain the lack of tangible impact, based mainly on formal household/farm surveys comparing characteristics of non-adopters with that of adopters. In this study, we mapped the relationship between agroforestry tree survival in villages that were a part of the Vi Agroforestry project in the Mara region, Tanzania with key social-ecological variables. A random sample of 21 households from each of 89 investigated project villages was used. The proportion of households with surviving agroforestry trees, varied from 10%–90% among villages. Social and ecological differences between villages were important explanations to this variation. Variables related to the project and its operations explained most of the inter-village variation in households with few surviving trees. To encourage the majority of village households to practice agroforestry their perceptions of tree ownership and the benefit of agroforestry were additional key factors to the project showing the importance of socio-cultural issues to the households’ decisions to continue beyond the initial tree planting and testing phase.
Sustainability2013, 5(12), 5153-5170; doi:10.3390/su5125153 - published online 3 December 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Whereas many studies focus on climate skeptics to explain the lack of support for immediate action on climate change, this research examines the effect of moderate believers in climate science. Using data from a representative survey of 832 Indiana residents, we find that agreement with basic scientific conclusions about climate change is the strongest predictor of support for immediate action, and the strength of that agreement is an important characteristic of this association. Responses indicate widespread acceptance of climate change, moderate levels of risk perception, and limited support for immediate action. Half of the respondents (50%) preferred “more research” over “immediate action” (38%) and “no action” (12%) as a response to climate change. The probability of preferring immediate action is close to zero for those who strongly or somewhat disbelieve in climate change, but as belief in climate change grows from moderate to strong, the probability of preferring immediate action increases substantially; the strongest believers have a predicted probability of preferring immediate action of 71%. These findings suggest that, instead of simply engaging skeptics, increasing public support for immediate action might entail motivating those with moderate beliefs in climate change to hold their views with greater conviction.
Sustainability2013, 5(12), 5135-5152; doi:10.3390/su5125135 - published online 2 December 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Currently, politicians, university representatives, scholars and leading NGOs share a strong belief in the ability of educational systems to generate positive attitudes to sustainable development (SD) among citizens, with the idea of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as perhaps the most apparent expression of this conviction. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether ESD might have the intended effects on teacher education students. More specifically, we account for the results from a panel study on the effects of a course on SD held in autumn 2010 at the University of Gothenburg (n = 323) on teacher education students. The surveys consisted of questions about the students’ concerns about various issues, including issues related to SD, and their attitudes towards SD and views of moral obligations to contributing to SD. The study included a control group (n = 97) consisting of students from the teacher-training programme at University West, which had not and did not include ESD. We find positive effects of ESD on almost all attitudes and perceptions, including e.g., personal responsibility in relation to SD and willingness to contribute to SD, while there is no noticeable effect in the control group. We conclude the paper by discussing the implications of our results for the idea of ESD in teacher training programmes at Swedish higher education institutions.
Sustainability2013, 5(12), 5119-5134; doi:10.3390/su5125119 - published online 29 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Researchers have positioned renewable energy as sustainable and able to mitigate environmental issues associated with fossil fuels. Further, sustainable initiatives have been offered as a point of differentiation for brands. In order to reap the benefits of such differentiation, managers must communicate the initiatives to relevant stakeholders. The research question guiding the current investigation thus was: What is the communication by Canadian sport stadium operators to calls for sustainable initiatives, specifically in the area of renewable energy? The examination included the 15 sport stadiums that hosted a professional team in Canada and their web-based stadium communications on renewable energy (SCORE). Understandings and competencies in renewable energy are proposed as a new function of sport stadium management; communication of these competencies is seen as a key point of differentiation and best practice.
Sustainability2013, 5(12), 5100-5118; doi:10.3390/su5125100 - published online 29 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Port cities are on the front-line of a changing global urban system. There are problems from restructuring of trade, logistics and ship-building, creating economic dependency, social exclusion and cultural destruction. Meanwhile, there exists new opportunities in heritage tourism, cultural industries and ecological restoration, but these opportunities often have negative impacts. This paper addresses the question of how port cities can steer from negative to positive development paths and outcomes. It sets out a way of working with inter-connected economic, social, political and technological factors—a ‘synergistic’ approach to mapping of problems and design of policy responses. Looking at three contrasting examples of port cities—Liverpool, Dubai and Mauritius—we can compare the inter-connected dynamics of growth and decline. Then we can understand the inter-connected factors of successful regeneration and sustainable prosperity, not as linear ‘policy fixes’, but more like synergistic processes of learning, innovation and capacity building. These call for new models for creative innovation in social and community enterprise: cultural heritage both old and new; new social finance and investment; socio-ecological restoration with participative governance, etc. Such pathways and opportunities are now emerging in many different locations; this paper provides methods and tools to understand them and promote them.
Sustainability2013, 5(12), 5081-5099; doi:10.3390/su5125081 - published online 28 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To achieve a low-carbon economy, China has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40%–45% by 2020 from 2005 levels and increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to approximately 15%. It is necessary to investigate whether this plan is suitable and how this target may be reached. This paper verifies the feasibility of achieving the CO2 emission targets by energy and industrial structure adjustments, and proposes applicable measures for further sustainable development by 2020 through comprehensive simulation. The simulation model comprises three sub-models: an energy flow balance model, a CO2 emission model, and a socio-economic model. The model is constructed based on input-output table and three balances (material, value, and energy flow balance), and it is written in LINGO, a linear dynamic programming language. The simulation results suggest that China’s carbon intensity reduction promise can be realized and even surpassed to 50% and that economic development (annual 10% GDP growth rate) can be achieved if energy and industrial structure are adjusted properly by 2020. However, the total amount of CO2 emission will reach a relatively high level—13.68 billion tons—which calls for further sound approaches to realize a low carbon economy, such as energy utilization efficiency improvement, technology innovation, and non-fossil energy’s utilization.