Sustainability2015, 7(7), 8837-8854; doi:10.3390/su7078837 (registering DOI) - published 7 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Human affiliation with nonhuman nature is an important dimension of environmental concern and support for pro-environmental attitudes. A significant theory of human connectedness with nature, the Biophilia Hypothesis, suggests that there exists a genetically based inclination for human affiliation with the biological world. Both support and challenge to the Biophilia Hypothesis are abundant in the literature of environmental psychology. One response that both challenges and builds upon the Biophilia Hypothesis is the Topophilia Hypothesis. The Topophilia Hypothesis has extended the ideas of biophilia to incorporate a broader conception of nonhuman nature and a co-evolutionary theory of genetic response and cultural learning. While the Topophilia Hypothesis is a new idea, it is built upon long-standing scholarship from humanistic geography and theories in human evolution. The Topophilia Hypothesis expands previous theory and provides a multidisciplinary consideration of how biological selection and cultural learning may have interacted during human evolution to promote adaptive mechanisms for human affiliation with nonhuman nature via specific place attachment. Support for this possible co-evolutionary foundation for place-based human affiliation with nonhuman nature is explored from multiple vantage points. We raise the question of whether this affiliation may have implications for multifunctional landscape management. Ultimately, we propose that nurturing potential topophilic tendencies may be a useful method to promote sustainable efforts at the local level with implications for the global.
Sustainability2015, 7(7), 8823-8836; doi:10.3390/su7078823 (registering DOI) - published 7 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The current state of the art in erosion research does not provide answers about the “where” and “when” of wind erosion in European agricultural lands. Questions about the implications for the agricultural productivity remain unanswered. Tackling this research gap, the study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the spatial patterns of land susceptibility to wind erosion in European agricultural lands. The Index of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion (ILSWE) was applied in a GIS environment. A harmonized input dataset ranked following a fuzzy logic technique was employed. Within the 36 European countries under investigation, moderate (17.3 million ha) and high levels (8.8 million ha) of land susceptibility to wind erosion were predicted. This corresponds to 8.0% and 4.1% of total agricultural land, respectively.
Sustainability2015, 7(7), 8801-8822; doi:10.3390/su7078801 (registering DOI) - published 7 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The low-energy and the nearly zero-energy buildings trend is calling for radical new innovations from the construction industry. This study uses path creation theory to examine two innovation concepts for low-energy housing in Northern Europe with contrasting outcomes—with one being an apparent market success and the other a disappointment. The results highlight two issues behind the success, one of a systemic nature and the other concerning innovation management. First, the development of energy efficiency regulations and the dominant technological trajectory regarding low-energy houses are interdependent. However, it seems that while supporting the trajectory of the innovation developed in the first case, regulators created virtually insurmountable cognitive and normative obstacles to finding alternative technological pathways. Second, the significance of proof of concepts for new innovations cannot be underestimated. The importance of a pilot project rests not only on showcasing and testing the technology, but also on its ability to increase political support, investments, and public awareness. The study implies that low-energy construction seems to be the next great challenge, one where genuine co-operation between the industry, public authorities and academia is a prerequisite for success.
Sustainability2015, 7(7), 8782-8800; doi:10.3390/su7078782 (registering DOI) - published 7 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) considerably reduces the building energy load through high efficiency equipment and passive elements such as building orientation, high insulation, natural daylighting, and ventilation in order to achieve zero energy balance with on-site energy production from renewable energy systems applied to the building. For a Zero Energy Building (ZEB), the heating energy demand can be significantly reduced with high insulation and air tightness, while the cooling energy demand can be curtailed by applying shading device, cross ventilation, etc. As such, the electrical energy demand for a ZEB is relatively higher than its heat energy demand. Therefore, the application of a Renewable Energy System (RES) to produce electricity is necessary for a ZEB. In particular, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems that generate electricity can play an important role for achieving zero energy balance in buildings; BIPVs are multi-functional and there are many ways to apply them into buildings. This study comprehensively analyzes photovoltaic (PV) applications in ZEB cases through the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC)/Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (EBC) Task 40/Annex 52 activities, which include PV installation methods, PV cell type, and electricity generation. The most widely applied RES is the PV system, corresponding to 29 out of a total of 30 cases. Among the roof type PV systems, 71% were non-integrated. In addition, 14 of the 27 cases in which PV systems were applied, satisfied over 100% of the electricity energy demand from the PV system and were found to generate surplus electrical power.
Sustainability2015, 7(7), 8768-8781; doi:10.3390/su7078768 - published 6 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Nighttime light (NTL) images provide uniform, consistent, and valuable data sources. Based on four reference regions, the NTL imagery of China was fully intercalibrated during the period 1992–2012. Using lit areas and the intensity of NTL imagery, this study synthetically analyzed the urbanization process and rural transition in China. The results showed that, over the whole country, the pixel numbers of urban areas increased by 173% from 1992 to 2012. During the 2000s, urban areas expanded much more quickly than during the 1990s. Urban growth varied greatly across the four regions, which could be pictured using the flying-geese paradigm. In the 1990s, East China experienced the most rapid rate of growth, while a decade later Middle China had the highest growth rate. NTL imagery can also be used to describe changes in rural human activities if the imagery is corrected using completely dark rural pixels. In China, because of the massive rural-urban migration, some marginal regions experienced a decrease in nighttime light intensity (NTLI) and rural areas went through a period of transition.
Sustainability2015, 7(7), 8748-8767; doi:10.3390/su7078748 - published 6 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: South Korea’s green job policy was implemented in February 2008 as a part of low-carbon green growth policy, but has been discontinued at the present. The country’s actual energy and environmental consumption has continuously increased, and South Korean society has grown increasingly distant from sustainable development. The study constructs a theoretical framework centering on sustainable development and analyzes the process and contents of South Korea’s green job policy. We suggest four findings: First, in terms of ideology, the nation’s green job policy was based on green growth. Implemented as a strategy typical of developing countries, South Korea’s green growth was pursued as weak ecological modernization, relatively stressing economic growth and excluding citizens’ participation. Second, in terms of governance, the nation’s green job policy was led by the central government, thus nearly completely destroying existing legal and institutional infrastructures related to sustainable development. Third, South Korea’s green job policy was defined on the basis of a growth orientation and concentrated on the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project and the NPP project, both of which betrayed considerable problems from the perspective of sustainable development. Fourth, green jobs were created in traditional environmental protection and pollution reduction and therefore limited.