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Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 5 (March-1 2021) – 581 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): While excessive plastic use has severe ecological consequences, the distant nature of these consequences may limit their effect on individual plastic use behavior. In a field experiment, we tried to address this problem by linking plastic bag use to more direct consequences. Takeaway customers of a fast-food restaurant were informed that, for every unused plastic bag, a small donation would be made to a charitable organization. In comparison to control conditions, the likelihood of using a restaurant-provided plastic bag was more than halved when plastic-bag refusal led to such prosocial incentives. While this experiment provides support for the general effectiveness of prosocial incentives, more research is needed to determine what kind of prosocial incentives are most effective in shaping plastic bag use and other environmentally relevant behaviors. View this paper
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Article
Food Gap Optimization for Sustainability Concerns, the Case of Egypt
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2999; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052999 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
Nowadays, even with the growth and progress of the agricultural sector, the food gap (FG) is still wide, particularly for strategic crops, affecting the national economy and compromising the food security. The realization of self-sufficiency can be fulfilled only by achieving the highest [...] Read more.
Nowadays, even with the growth and progress of the agricultural sector, the food gap (FG) is still wide, particularly for strategic crops, affecting the national economy and compromising the food security. The realization of self-sufficiency can be fulfilled only by achieving the highest production efficiency along with preserving the natural resources currently available, especially arable land and irrigation water. In this analysis, the FG in Egypt was modeled for 13 crops between the years 2000 and 2018. The linear model applied suggested a redistribution of crops in terms of production, food demand and land reallocation, in order to find the best solution to minimize the FG on the basis of crop value and under a set of constraints. It was found that the value of the modelled FG increased steadily from 2005 to 2017, then it started to decline slightly, probably due to the steady increase in the population growth rate which is a crucial factor in enlarging the FG. Furthermore, important water loss was noticed through the analysis period. In fact, there was a huge difference, reaching around 25 billion m3 between the water consumed for the studied crops and the total amount of renewable water. The main reason for this loss can be linked to the traditional irrigation methods used, such as surface irrigation. Moreover, the calculation of food demand with the estimated production and the redistribution of crop land reallocations were performed to achieve the best model fit between the crops in terms of minimizing the FG in Egypt. So far, the current agricultural policy has reaped limited gains and a steep decline of food economic balance. Hence, significant interest on rising productivity should be given by the government to achieve the food self-sufficiency in Egypt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Resilience)
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Review
Occurrence Regularity of Silt–Clay Minerals in Wind Eroded Deserts of Northwest China
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2998; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052998 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 668
Abstract
Wind erosion desertification is the most serious type of land degradation in Northwest China, so it is an important task for ecological management in the region. As the core of ecological management, soil quality is mainly affected by the presence of silt–clay content. [...] Read more.
Wind erosion desertification is the most serious type of land degradation in Northwest China, so it is an important task for ecological management in the region. As the core of ecological management, soil quality is mainly affected by the presence of silt–clay content. Therefore, the grasp of its occurrence regularity is the key to controlling wind erosion desertification. At present, research on silt–clay contents is mainly independent in each local area and lacks integrity, which makes it difficult to meet the overall evaluation and planning requirements. To this end, this paper reviewed the related studies on the occurrence and control of wind erosion desertification in recent years and collected nearly 300 relevant silt–clay content data points. We studied the occurrence regularity of silt–clay content during the occurrence and treatment of wind erosion desertification and revealed the mechanism of silt–clay content in different processes. On this basis, the degree of wind erosion desertification in the major areas of Northwest China in the last five years was evaluated by calculations based on soil typing theory, and the fractal dimension interval (2.41–2.53) for the critical discrimination of desertification in these areas was obtained. The results showed that there were obvious distribution intervals of silt–clay content for different degrees of wind erosion desertification. Qualitative changes in soil quality during degradation ranged from light to moderate wind erosion desertification. The occurrence and control of wind erosion desertification were largely affected by the processes of silt–clay particles loss and aggregation. Among the three main treatment measures, biological measures enhanced silt–clay content most significantly. In this study, the occurrence regularity of silt–clay minerals in wind erosion desertification in Northwest China was revealed as a whole. This study provided a preliminary overall judgement of the dynamic evolution of wind erosion desertification, which provided a reference for the overall evaluation and global governance planning of wind erosion desertification in Northwest China. Full article
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Article
Preparation of Sodium Lignosulfonate/Chitosan Adsorbent and Application of Pb2+ Treatment in Water
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052997 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 661
Abstract
Industrial wastewater has brought huge disasters to water resources and soil and has seriously affected the growth of animals and plants. There is an urgent need for a green and efficient adsorbent to solve the problem of water pollution. Sodium lignosulfonate and chitosan [...] Read more.
Industrial wastewater has brought huge disasters to water resources and soil and has seriously affected the growth of animals and plants. There is an urgent need for a green and efficient adsorbent to solve the problem of water pollution. Sodium lignosulfonate and chitosan undergo free radical polymerization to form a lignin/chitosan adsorbent, which is used to treat Pb2+ in water pollution. An orthogonal experiment was used to optimize the content of sodium lignosulfonate, chitosan, cross-linking agent and initiator to obtain the adsorbent with the best adsorption performance. The adsorbents were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermal analysis and zeta potentiometry. The influence of different conditions on the adsorption of heavy metal ions by lignosulfonate/chitosan adsorbent was explored, and a kinetic and isotherm model was established. The results showed that the adsorption capacity of Pb2+ was 345 mg g−1 when the adsorbent was 0.01 g, the concentration of heavy metal ions was 100 mg L−1 and pH was 7. The adsorption process of lignosulfonate/chitosan is a kind of spontaneous adsorption mode, which is mainly composed of electrostatic adsorption and chemical adsorption. Full article
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Article
Palestine Energy Policy for Photovoltaic Generation: Current Status and What Should Be Next?
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2996; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052996 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 727
Abstract
Most of the consumed energy in Palestine comes from Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli government controls the amount of electricity for Palestinians due to political reasons. This has led to many electricity shortages, prompting the Palestinians to invest in grid connected photovoltaic systems to [...] Read more.
Most of the consumed energy in Palestine comes from Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli government controls the amount of electricity for Palestinians due to political reasons. This has led to many electricity shortages, prompting the Palestinians to invest in grid connected photovoltaic systems to mitigate electricity shortages. However, the lack of experience and loose energy policies have negatively affected the electricity distribution network in Palestine. Thus, this paper aims to discuss the current energy policy model for photovoltaic generation in Palestine and the challenges facing it. Moreover, 15 photovoltaic systems are selected in this research for technical and economical evaluation, to first show the typical performance of photovoltaic systems in Palestine, and second, to prove that there are failure cases in many systems due to a number of behavioral and structural barriers. Finally, the paper proposes a suggestion of unbundling transmission lines in the region to address the current critical status of photovoltaic investment in Palestine. As a result, the typical average yield factor of photovoltaic systems in Palestine is in the range of 1368–1816 kWh/kWp per year with a payback period of 5.5–7.4 years. However, the percentage of failure for the installed systems is found to be 47%. Meanwhile, the low awareness and lack of non-technical information are the main behavioral barriers, while grid infrastructure, lack of technical standards and staff training as well as loose and discouraging policies are the most dominant structural barriers. Full article
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Article
A Comprehensive Model of the Relationship between Miners’ Work Commitment, Cultural Emotion and Unemployment Risk Perception
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2995; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052995 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
The psychological health and work commitment of miners are prerequisites to ensuring their sustainable safety behavior, and it is also significant to the sustainable development of coal mines in China. In this context, we conducted a questionnaire survey among coal miners of state-owned [...] Read more.
The psychological health and work commitment of miners are prerequisites to ensuring their sustainable safety behavior, and it is also significant to the sustainable development of coal mines in China. In this context, we conducted a questionnaire survey among coal miners of state-owned coal enterprises to explore the relationships between cultural emotion, unemployment risk perception, Big Five personality traits, and work commitment. The results reveal that (1) cultural emotion and its three dimensions played a significant positive role in promoting work commitment. (2) Unemployment risk perception, policy unemployment risk perception, and individual differential unemployment risk perception had a negative moderating effect. (3) Moreover, work commitment was associated with differences in personality characteristics except for agreeableness. This research is of important theoretical value and practical significance, as it can guide Chinese coal miners to increase their work commitment and thereby improve safety in production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health and Sustainability)
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Article
Analysis of the Thermal–Technical Properties of Modern Log Structures
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2994; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052994 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 509
Abstract
“Ecological buildings” and “energy-efficient buildings” are concepts which we encounter on a daily basis and which define modern trends. The purpose of their design is to create an optimal thermal microclimate by means of heat flows that form within it or enter it. [...] Read more.
“Ecological buildings” and “energy-efficient buildings” are concepts which we encounter on a daily basis and which define modern trends. The purpose of their design is to create an optimal thermal microclimate by means of heat flows that form within it or enter it. A balanced combination of heat flows creates suitable conditions for thermal comfort—a factor contributing to the quality of the internal environment of buildings. This research addresses the problem of heat distribution in construction materials based on wood and their thermal–technical properties in relation to the sustainability requirements for the thermal–technical properties of constructions and buildings. The research examines the structural parts of the external walls of modern log constructions. The objective of this work is to analyse the thermal–technical properties of the structural parts of modern log wood constructions in laboratory conditions and verify them against calculated values and values declared by manufacturers. This publication is also a contribution to the current needs in terms of the sustainability and internal environment quality of constructions in general. The publication is also a contribution to the current needs in the field of heating technology in terms of sustainability and the quality of internal environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology, Organisation and Management in Sustainable Construction)
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Article
Sustainable Mobility Policy Analysis Using Hybrid Choice Models: Is It the Right Choice?
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2993; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052993 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 743
Abstract
In recent years, sustainable mobility policy analysis has used Hybrid Choice Models (HCM) by incorporating latent variables in the mode choice models. However, the impact on policy analysis outcomes has not yet been determined with certainty. This paper aims to measure the effect [...] Read more.
In recent years, sustainable mobility policy analysis has used Hybrid Choice Models (HCM) by incorporating latent variables in the mode choice models. However, the impact on policy analysis outcomes has not yet been determined with certainty. This paper aims to measure the effect of HCM on sustainable mobility policy analysis compared to traditional models without latent variables. To this end, we performed mode choice research in the city of Santander, Spain. We identified two latent variables—Safety and Comfort—and incorporated them as explanatory variables in the HCM. Later, we conducted a sensitivity study for sustainable mobility policy analysis by simulating different policy scenarios. We found that the HCM amplified the impact of sustainable mobility policies on the modal shares, and provided an excessive reaction in the individuals’ travel behavior. Thus, the HCM overrated the impact of sustainable mobility policies on the modal switch. Likewise, for all of the mode choice models, policies that promoted public transportation were more effective in increasing bus modal shares than those that penalized private vehicles. In short, we concluded that sustainable mobility policy analysis should use HCM prudently, and should not set them as the best models beforehand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Transportation Mode Choice Decisions)
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Article
COVID-19 Pandemic Turns Life-Science Students into “Citizen Scientists”: Data Indicate Multiple Negative Effects of Urbanization on Biota
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2992; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052992 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 829
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions strongly affect the higher education community and require diverse teaching strategies. We designed a course where we combined online teaching with independently conducted ecological data collections by students using a “citizen science” approach. The aim was to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions strongly affect the higher education community and require diverse teaching strategies. We designed a course where we combined online teaching with independently conducted ecological data collections by students using a “citizen science” approach. The aim was to analyze the impact of urbanization on biota by comparing urban and rural grasslands. Seventy-five students successfully conducted the data collections and the results provide evidence for prevailing negative effects of urbanization. Individual numbers of ground-dwelling invertebrates (−25%) and pollinating insects (−33%) were generally lower in urban sites. Moreover, animal and seed predation were reduced in urban grasslands, indicating the potential of urbanization to alter ecosystem functions. Despite the general limitations of online teaching and citizen science approaches, outcomes of this course showed this combination can be a useful teaching strategy, which is why this approach could be used to more actively involve students in scientific research. Full article
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Article
Landing the Climate SDG into South Africa’s Development Trajectory: Mitigation Policies, Strategies and Institutional Setup
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2991; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052991 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
Landing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national development policies and development trajectories remain one of the desired outcomes to 2030. This paper teases out how South Africa landed the climate action SDG into its development trajectory, with a focus on mitigation policies, [...] Read more.
Landing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national development policies and development trajectories remain one of the desired outcomes to 2030. This paper teases out how South Africa landed the climate action SDG into its development trajectory, with a focus on mitigation policies, strategies and institutional setup. The study uses an online survey, key informant interviews, as well as policy documents and critical discourse analysis. The study concludes that South Africa has landed SDG 13 into its policies designed to respond to climate mitigation. However, there were several inherent challenges in the policies and strategies resulting in implementation inefficiencies, including the fact that the policy on climate change is driven more by international pressures and expectations rather than domestic awareness and activism. There are also challenges with institutional capacity to implement the policies at sub-national levels. Furthermore, reliance on a few experts makes the system vulnerable and fragile. The study also found that not enough is being done to support sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12) as there are energy intensive industries failing to comply with mitigation policies in place. Hence the paper recommends the need to fix the disjuncture between the energy policy and climate mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Global South)
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Article
Self and Place Constructs in Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments: Gaps and Recommendations
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2990; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052990 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 642
Abstract
In the United States, climate change vulnerability assessments are usually conceived as objectified exercises, based on theoretical orientations such as rational choice or systems theory. They adopt sectorial or population-level frames of reference and are operationalized by means of aggregating mathematical models, geospatial [...] Read more.
In the United States, climate change vulnerability assessments are usually conceived as objectified exercises, based on theoretical orientations such as rational choice or systems theory. They adopt sectorial or population-level frames of reference and are operationalized by means of aggregating mathematical models, geospatial analytical platforms, and advanced visualization tools. While vulnerability assessments are intended to inform decision making, they often lack process-based mechanisms that enable them to be framed in terms of localized knowledge and perspectives. This is a weakness because occupant attitudes regarding places can spark unyieldingly negative reactions to expert-generated, objectivist vulnerability assessment processes and their outputs. In this paper, I attempt to demonstrate the salience of self and place constructs and explore the implications of their tendency to block serious reflection about the nature of potential vulnerabilities and risk management interventions. If acknowledged and addressed in a manner that is empathetic and context sensitive, it may be possible to channel these perspectives to elevate and deepen dialog about climate change and help to identify and compile circumstantially appropriate menus of adaptation policy interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability Assessment and Disaster Risk Reduction)
Article
Evaluating Library Service Quality of College Libraries: The Perspective of a Developing Country
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052989 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 884
Abstract
This study was conducted to measure the quality of the college library services in the Punjab Province, Pakistan, using LibQUAL survey. Data were collected from 998 respondents consisting of the college faculty and the students. The study found that none of the service [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to measure the quality of the college library services in the Punjab Province, Pakistan, using LibQUAL survey. Data were collected from 998 respondents consisting of the college faculty and the students. The study found that none of the service quality attributes and dimensions met the desired expectations of group users as well as individual users. Significant differences in library service quality based on users’ gender, type and academic discipline were identified. This study is helpful for the Punjab Higher Education Commission (HEC), the college administrations, the college librarians at the local level and the other developing countries as well. It will guide them in future planning, contribute toward improved resource allocation and enhance purposeful utilization of resources. Full article
Article
Emergy-Based Assessment and Suggestions for Sustainable Development of Regional Ecological Economy: A Case Study of Anhui Province, China
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2988; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052988 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 703
Abstract
In view of the coordination of economy, society, and environment in the process of the rapid development of the regional economy, this study proposes the evaluation method of sustainable development of a regional economy on the basis of emergy. The study also constructed [...] Read more.
In view of the coordination of economy, society, and environment in the process of the rapid development of the regional economy, this study proposes the evaluation method of sustainable development of a regional economy on the basis of emergy. The study also constructed an evaluation index system of sustainable development of regional ecological economy from four aspects, namely, structural, functional, and ecological efficiency, and sustainable development index. The objective was to comprehensively evaluate the quality and environmental friendliness of regional economic development. On this basis, this study measured and evaluated the sustainable development of the ecological economy in Anhui Province by using emergy to analyze the statistical data of the economic development of Anhui Province, China, from 2010 to 2018. The study also provides targeted decision-making suggestions for the sustainable and high-quality development of the Anhui economy. Furthermore, this study provides a measure and evaluation method for the sustainable development of the regional economy and effective policy recommendations, which have important theoretical and practical significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficiency Assessment and Resource Optimization)
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Article
Cooling Degree Models and Future Energy Demand in the Residential Sector. A Seven-Country Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2987; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052987 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1828
Abstract
The intensity and duration of hot weather and the number of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, are increasing, leading to a growing need for space cooling energy demand. Together with the building stock’s low energy performance, this phenomenon may also increase households’ [...] Read more.
The intensity and duration of hot weather and the number of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, are increasing, leading to a growing need for space cooling energy demand. Together with the building stock’s low energy performance, this phenomenon may also increase households’ energy consumption. On the other hand, the low level of ownership of cooling equipment can cause low energy consumption, leading to a lack of indoor thermal comfort and several health-related problems, yet increasing the risk of energy poverty in summer. Understanding future temperature variations and the associated impacts on building cooling demand will allow mitigating future issues related to a warmer climate. In this respect, this paper analyses the effects of change in temperatures in the residential sector cooling demand in 2050 for a case study of nineteen cities across seven countries: Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Israel, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain, by estimating cooling degree days and hours (CDD and CDH). CDD and CDH are calculated using both fixed and adaptive thermal comfort temperature thresholds for 2020 and 2050, understanding their strengths and weaknesses to assess the effects of warmer temperatures. Results suggest a noticeable average increase in CDD and CDH values, up to double, by using both thresholds for 2050, with a particular interest in northern countries where structural modifications in the building stock and occupants’ behavior should be anticipated. Furthermore, the use of the adaptive thermal comfort threshold shows that the projected temperature increases for 2050 might affect people’s capability to adapt their comfort band (i.e., indoor habitability) as temperatures would be higher than the maximum admissible values for people’s comfort and health. Full article
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Article
Validation of the Velocity Optimization for a Ropeway Passing over a Support
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2986; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052986 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1655
Abstract
In this paper, we present a successful experimental validation of the velocity optimization for a cable car passing over a support. We apply the theoretical strategy developed in a previous work, refined by taking into account in a simple manner the hauling cable [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a successful experimental validation of the velocity optimization for a cable car passing over a support. We apply the theoretical strategy developed in a previous work, refined by taking into account in a simple manner the hauling cable dynamics. The experiments at the ropeway Postal–Verano (South Tirol, Italy) have shown a significant reduction of the pendulum angle amplitude for both the descent and the ascending rides, as predicted from simulations. Furthermore, we measured a smoother progress of the torque at the driving engine during the vehicle support crossings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ropeways: New Trends for Applications, Technique and Simulation)
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Article
Socio-Economic Perspectives of Transition in Inland Fisheries and Fish Farming in a Least Developed Country
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2985; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052985 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Small-scale inland fisheries are essential for livelihoods and food security in developing countries such as Burkina Faso. However, there is a gap in research on the ongoing transformation of the sector toward sustainability. This article analyzes the transition in inland fisheries and aquaculture [...] Read more.
Small-scale inland fisheries are essential for livelihoods and food security in developing countries such as Burkina Faso. However, there is a gap in research on the ongoing transformation of the sector toward sustainability. This article analyzes the transition in inland fisheries and aquaculture in Burkina Faso and its implications in terms of natural resources management, food security, and livelihoods. We used the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) method as a reference transition framework and sampled using a mixed approach including 63 qualitative interviews, with fisheries experts and stakeholders, as well as quantitative data gathered through a representative survey with 204 fishermen’s households. We examined open access, concession, and co-management fisheries systems. Our results show that technical and institutional changes in fisheries over the last decades deeply shaped and transformed fisheries governance. Technological changes improved the sector’s productivity and its contribution to households’ livelihoods. Fishermen’s households consume up to 25% of fishermen’s catches. The share of the catches consumed is typically higher when commercial fishing is “not important”, but it remains typically low when it is “very important”. The income is higher for fishermen who allocate more time to or gain more income from animals breeding. The establishment of state-based management affects the balance between the coexisting traditional and newer “republican” institutions. Concession and co-management niches can contribute to the empowerment of the stakeholders and establishment of more effective management. However, they are still dominated by the traditional and centralized state regimes and governance. The support of the socio-technical landscape is paramount for the scaling-up of the fish farming niche, which has the potential to improve food security and sustain rural livelihoods in the least developed country, Burkina Faso. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Fisheries Economics and Management)
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Article
Reflections on Sustainability Concepts: Aloha ʻĀina and the Circular Economy
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052984 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1839
Abstract
The Circular Economy is gaining traction in the European Union and all over the world as a transition away from the extractive and exploitative linear economy. In Hawaiʻi, the cultural value of aloha ʻāina is a philosophy describing a set of values grounded [...] Read more.
The Circular Economy is gaining traction in the European Union and all over the world as a transition away from the extractive and exploitative linear economy. In Hawaiʻi, the cultural value of aloha ʻāina is a philosophy describing a set of values grounded in a relationship of kinship between people and the environment. Aloha ʻĀina structured centuries of sustainability and it has evolved over generations to frame community responses to crucial issues today, such as climate change, oligopolistic markets, and contemporary land management. This paper sits at the intersection of cross-disciplinary collaboration, sustainability, and sustainable development. Participative moderate observations and intentional cross-cultural exchanges of knowledge over five years between scholars and experts in the major fields of indigenous Hawaiian knowledge and industrial ecology inspired the concepts explored in this paper, which address the question of how aloha ʻāina and the Circular Economy can engage with each other in the collective effort to combat climate change, guide sustainable development efforts, and transition societies toward sustainability. Extensive literature reviews and insight gained through site visits to sustainability projects inform the discussion of best practices from opposite parts of the globe—Hawaiʻi and Germany—to put into conversation two worldviews and present resulting implications and lessons learned. Essential findings describe the benefits of knowledge exchange between members of global practitioner networks. By shifting expert and participant roles according to which projects are being observed, cross-cultural characteristics can be explored at a deeper level, which allow participants to employ best practices to their respective theories. The Circular Economy’s engagement with indigenous knowledge systems is an opportunity to ally and produce solutions to the challenges associated with changing the linear economy while addressing both environmental and social justice issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Article
Best Management Practices for the Transition to a Water-Sensitive City in the South of Portugal
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2983; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052983 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 738
Abstract
The uncertainty that arises from future environmental and climatic challenges requires new approaches towards urban water management in Mediterranean cities. In this work, an urban water cycle (UWC) strategy based on the best management practices (BMPs) of water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) is proposed [...] Read more.
The uncertainty that arises from future environmental and climatic challenges requires new approaches towards urban water management in Mediterranean cities. In this work, an urban water cycle (UWC) strategy based on the best management practices (BMPs) of water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) is proposed for the transition of a coastal city in the south of Portugal into a water-sensitive city (WSC), in line with the Municipal Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation of Loulé (EMAAC of Loulé). The city’s watershed was identified using the ArcMap Hydrology toolset with geospatial data provided by Loulé’s Municipal Council Operational Unit for Adaptation to Climate Change and Circular Economy (UOACEC). A broad characterisation of the study area was conducted, identifying existing resources to further develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. The Hydrology toolset outputs, precipitation events records, and survey results were used to identify flood-prone areas. The opportunities and threats identified were further used to develop the transition strategy, which is focused on critical areas identified and supported by BMPs, including source control, attenuation, treatment and infiltration measures, permeable pavements, rainwater harvesting systems, and bioretention basins. The approach is designed to increase the city’s resilience to climate extremes, as well as community engagement towards UWC management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Sustainable Built Environment)
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Article
Conceptual Parametric Relationship for Occupants’ Domestic Environmental Experience
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2982; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052982 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Today’s architectural design approaches do not adequately address the relationship between users’ spatial, environmental and psychological experiences. Domestic environmental experience generally indicates users’ cognitive perceptions and physical responses within dwelling spaces. Therefore, without a clear perception of occupants’ experiences, it is difficult to [...] Read more.
Today’s architectural design approaches do not adequately address the relationship between users’ spatial, environmental and psychological experiences. Domestic environmental experience generally indicates users’ cognitive perceptions and physical responses within dwelling spaces. Therefore, without a clear perception of occupants’ experiences, it is difficult to identify proper architectural solutions for a domestic environment. To understand notions of these domestic experiences, the current study explores the theoretical relationship between spatial and environmental design factors within domestic settings which led to the concept of “Environmental Experience Design (EXD)”. Extensive data exploration was conducted using a combination of thirty keywords through different databases (e.g., Scopus, ScienceDirect, PubMed, Google Scholar, Mendeley and Research Gate) to categorise the relevant literature regarding thematic study areas such as human perception and phenomenology, environmental design and psychology, residential environment and design, health-wellbeing and user experiences. This study has identified theoretical associations between spatial and environmental design factors of different domestic spaces that can stimulate occupants’ satisfaction and comfort by reviewing eighty-seven studies from the literature. However, occupants’ contextual situations significantly impact domestic spaces, where spatial and environmental design attributes may be connected to diverse sociocultural factors. The scope of explanation about user context is limited, to some extent, in environmental design theories. Thus, combining occupants’ contexts with spatial and environmental design factors will be a future research direction used to explore the notion of “Domestic Environmental Experience DesignFull article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH International Research 2020)
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Review
The Environmental Impact of Transport Activities for Online and In-Store Shopping: A Systematic Literature Review to Identify Relevant Factors for Quantitative Assessments
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2981; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052981 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 911
Abstract
In the scientific literature, there are numerous studies with different approaches and focuses on assessing the environmental impact of online shopping and shopping in the traditional retail channel. The aim of this work is to analyse scientific studies that quantitatively assess the environmental [...] Read more.
In the scientific literature, there are numerous studies with different approaches and focuses on assessing the environmental impact of online shopping and shopping in the traditional retail channel. The aim of this work is to analyse scientific studies that quantitatively assess the environmental impact of transport activities in both channels and to extract the factors used for this assessment. A literature search was conducted for the period 2006 to October 2020, with 90 studies shortlisted, of which 15 studies were identified as relevant in a screening process. The analysis showed that a different number of factors is included in the selected studies. Logistics-related and behavioural factors are mostly of similar importance. Third-order effects, such as rebound or complementary effects, are rarely considered. Furthermore, it becomes clear that the results also depend on differences in study design and external factors. This work illustrates the complexity of quantitatively assessing the environmental impact of online and in-store shopping. Caution is advised when deriving recommendations for action from general statements about the environmental friendliness of a distribution channel. The 15 factors found, together with the classification method used, form a solid basis for building new models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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Article
Simulation Method to Assess Thermal Comfort in Historical Buildings with High-Volume Interior Spaces—The Case of the Gothic Basilica of Sta. Maria del Mar in Barcelona
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2980; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052980 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 535
Abstract
Concerns about the energy performance of heritage buildings have grown exponentially over the last decade. However, actions have been limited to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Another perspective must be studied—the thermal comfort of users, for human welfare and health. The assessment [...] Read more.
Concerns about the energy performance of heritage buildings have grown exponentially over the last decade. However, actions have been limited to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Another perspective must be studied—the thermal comfort of users, for human welfare and health. The assessment of thermal comfort inside a historic building with a single, large volume interior space is not easy. The complexity increases if the building has high cultural protection and its envelope cannot be altered, to preserve its historical values. This paper focuses on this kind of building and describes a dynamic simulation method used to assess thermal comfort in the Gothic Basilica of Sta. Maria del Mar in Barcelona. The basilica’s interior thermal conditions are intense cold during the winter and extreme heat and sultriness during the summer. Several simulation scenarios were considered to highlight the failure to obtain thermal comfort for users through passive strategies during the summer period. When all the factors are considered, the only valid strategy is to introduce an active system. This must be minimized according to three criteria: reducing operational periods, considering just the air volume next to users and adjusting the level of comfort requirement. Full article
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Article
Low Inertia Systems Frequency Variation Reduction with Fine-Tuned Smart Energy Controllers
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2979; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052979 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 511
Abstract
The distributed and stochastic nature of Renewable Power Sources is certainly forming considerable challenges for the operation of the power system. Specifically, the stability of the system can be jeopardized when the penetration of inverter-based systems is high. Storage and the proper design [...] Read more.
The distributed and stochastic nature of Renewable Power Sources is certainly forming considerable challenges for the operation of the power system. Specifically, the stability of the system can be jeopardized when the penetration of inverter-based systems is high. Storage and the proper design of controllers is seen as part of the solution for supporting the future expansion of distributed systems. Thus, control strategies need to be designed to provide the appropriate support to the system and be capable of keeping the variation of the frequency within limits to keep the reliability of the system as high as possible. The main challenge is the appropriate parameterization of these distributed controllers and their coordination under the integrated grid approach in securing the stability of the system at all times. In this paper, a smart energy controller is utilized and incorporated into the projection case study for Cyprus’ real distribution grid for the year 2050 to evaluate its behavior and identify possible weaknesses in its usage. It was found that the parameterization and not only the architecture of such controllers is crucial in coping with the frequency variation and stability problem. From the simulation work and recorded results, it was observed that the smart energy controllers can maintain frequency variation within the desirable range when the parametrization of the controllers is chosen appropriately. This specific observation highlights the need to evaluate and configure the smart controllers while operating in the field, and possibly further research is required to provide the advanced capability to such systems to adjust dynamically during field operation, thereby achieving better response during abnormal conditions. Full article
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Article
The Paradox of the Virtual Water Trade Balance in the Mediterranean Region
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2978; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052978 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 774
Abstract
Climate change, water shortages and desertification threaten the economic and environmental sustainability in the Mediterranean. Limited rainfall and higher temperatures put agricultural production, which relies on water availability, in jeopardy. Thereupon, Mediterranean countries pursue agri-food resilience and water preservation through efficient water policies. [...] Read more.
Climate change, water shortages and desertification threaten the economic and environmental sustainability in the Mediterranean. Limited rainfall and higher temperatures put agricultural production, which relies on water availability, in jeopardy. Thereupon, Mediterranean countries pursue agri-food resilience and water preservation through efficient water policies. Hence, water-deprived areas ought to import rather than produce water-intensive products to maintain water inventories and sustainability consequently. As this study examines the water sustainability for a Mediterranean water-scarce region with a particular focus on agriculture, the virtual water trade balance explores this hypothesis. A regional input–output model is constructed, and then total water consumption and the virtual water flows for each economic sector are estimated to determine the virtual water trade balance of the economy. Results indicate that the study area has a trade deficit and struggles economically but is a net importer of virtual water and secures water sustainability. As this virtual water deficit relies heavily on agriculture and originates in vast total water consumption rather than a large trade deficit, a paradox occurs; water-intensive cultivations and animals that consume 91.75% of water resources end up appearing to be water-saving. Further research is needed to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preserving Ecosystem Services via Sustainable Agro-Food Chains)
Article
Effects of Ionic Liquid and Biomass Sources on Carbon Nanotube Physical and Electrochemical Properties
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052977 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 602
Abstract
The ongoing research toward meeting global energy demands requires novel materials from abundant renewable resources. This work involves an investigation on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (N-CNTs) synthesized from relatively low-cost and readily available biomass as carbon precursors and their use as electrodes for supercapacitors. [...] Read more.
The ongoing research toward meeting global energy demands requires novel materials from abundant renewable resources. This work involves an investigation on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (N-CNTs) synthesized from relatively low-cost and readily available biomass as carbon precursors and their use as electrodes for supercapacitors. The influence of the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride, or its combination with either sugarcane bagasse or cellulose (IL-CNTs, ILBag-CNTs, and ILCel-CNTs, respectively), in the synthesis of N-CNTs and the resultant effect on their physical and electrochemical properties was studied. Systematic characterizations of the N-CNTs employing transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetric analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), elemental analysis, nitrogen sorption analysis, cyclic voltammetry, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were performed. TEM data analysis showed that the mean outer diameters decreased, in the order of IL-CNTs > ILBag-CNTs > ILCel-CNTs. The N-CNTs possess only pyridinic and pyrrolic nitrogen-doping moieties. The pyridinic nitrogen-doping content is lowest in IL-CNTs and highest in ILCel-CNTs. The N-CNTs are mesoporous with surface areas in the range of 21–52 m2 g−1. The ILCel-CNTs had the highest specific capacitance of 30 F g−1, while IL-CNTs has the least, 10 F g−1. The source of biomass is beneficial for tuning physicochemical properties such as the size and surface areas of N-CNTs, the pyridinic nitrogen-doping content, and ultimately capacitance, leading to materials with excellent properties for electrochemical applications. Full article
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Article
Complex Risks of COVID-19 Pandemic: Possible Metamorphization of National into Cosmopolitan Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2976; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052976 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 618
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to analyze the complex risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and their nonlinear influence on sustainable development. In the context of this global pandemic, this article shows the limits of “thinking national” and argues that metamorphization of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to analyze the complex risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and their nonlinear influence on sustainable development. In the context of this global pandemic, this article shows the limits of “thinking national” and argues that metamorphization of national to cosmopolitan sustainable development is possible on the basis of overcoming national egoism with cosmopolitan survival. The article builds on the “the theory of metamorphosis” proposed by U. Beck (2010). Phenomena are analyzed through the effects of the “arrow of time” (I. Prigogine) and “methodological cosmopolitanism”. The main results are as follows: The risks of COVID-19 have mixed effects on sustainable development. On the one hand, they undermine the traditional approaches towards social security and sustainability, but on the other hand, there is a chance of establishing cosmopolitan medical cooperation in the struggle against viruses by passing from national biopolitics and national structures of sustainable development to cosmopolitan (global concerted) counterparts. The conclusion is drawn that in order to realize this possibility, it is necessary to re-discover the existing visions of sustainable development while taking into consideration the common struggle of nations against epidemics. Full article
Erratum
Erratum: Porter, B., et al. A Platform for AI-Enabled Real-Time Feedback to Promote Digital Collaboration. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10243
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2975; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052975 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 407
Abstract
The authors would like to make the following corrections about the published paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
Article
Excavation Method Determination of Earth-Retaining Wall for Sustainable Environment and Economy: Life Cycle Assessment Based on Construction Cases in Korea
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2974; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052974 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 688
Abstract
This study describes life cycle assessment (LCA) results of the excavation depth and ground condition of a medium-sized excavation ground in order to examine the effect of construction methods on environmental and economic feasibility for an earth-retaining wall. LCA is conducted in consideration [...] Read more.
This study describes life cycle assessment (LCA) results of the excavation depth and ground condition of a medium-sized excavation ground in order to examine the effect of construction methods on environmental and economic feasibility for an earth-retaining wall. LCA is conducted in consideration of eight environmental impact categories according to the construction stage of the earth-retaining wall. In addition, the environmental cost of construction method for the earth-retaining wall was calculated, and its selection criteria were analyzed based on the calculation results. The evaluation results of the environmental load of construction methods for the earth-retaining wall show that the H-Pile+Earth plate construction method has low economic efficiency because the construction method significantly increased the environmental load due to the increased ecological toxicity. The environmental load characteristics have a greater effect on the selection of construction methods in sandy soil than in composite soil when the excavation depth is the same. The evaluation result of the environmental cost of the construction methods for the earth-retaining wall shows that the environmental cost increased as the excavation depth increased, and the sandy soil conditions have higher environmental costs than complex soil conditions. Full article
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Article
Gaussian Kernel Methods for Seismic Fragility and Risk Assessment of Mid-Rise Buildings
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2973; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052973 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Seismic fragility functions can be evaluated using the cloud analysis method with linear regression which makes three fundamental assumptions about the relation between structural response and seismic intensity: log-linear median relationship, constant standard deviation, and Gaussian distributed errors. While cloud analysis with linear [...] Read more.
Seismic fragility functions can be evaluated using the cloud analysis method with linear regression which makes three fundamental assumptions about the relation between structural response and seismic intensity: log-linear median relationship, constant standard deviation, and Gaussian distributed errors. While cloud analysis with linear regression is a popular method, the degree to which these individual and compounded assumptions affect the fragility and the risk of mid-rise buildings needs to be systematically studied. This paper conducts such a study considering three building archetypes that make up a bulk of the building stock: RC moment frame, steel moment frame, and wood shear wall. Gaussian kernel methods are employed to capture the data-driven variations in the median structural response and standard deviation and the distributions of residuals with the intensity level. With reference to the Gaussian kernels approach, it is found that while the linear regression assumptions may not affect the fragility functions of lower damage states, this conclusion does not hold for the higher damage states (such as the Complete state). In addition, the effects of linear regression assumptions on the seismic risk are evaluated. For predicting the demand hazard, it is found that the linear regression assumptions can impact the computed risk for larger structural response values. However, for predicting the loss hazard with downtime as the decision variable, linear regression can be considered adequate for all practical purposes. Full article
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Article
Effects of Heat Stress on Growth, Physiology of Plants, Yield and Grain Quality of Different Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Genotypes
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2972; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052972 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 838
Abstract
Heat stress is one of the major threats to wheat production in many wheat-growing areas of the world as it causes severe yield loss at the reproductive stage. In the current study, 28 crosses were developed using 11 parental lines, including 7 female [...] Read more.
Heat stress is one of the major threats to wheat production in many wheat-growing areas of the world as it causes severe yield loss at the reproductive stage. In the current study, 28 crosses were developed using 11 parental lines, including 7 female lines and 4 male testers following line × tester matting design in 2018–2019. Twenty-eight crosses along with their 11 parental lines were sown in a randomized complete block design in triplicate under optimal and heat stress conditions. Fifteen different morpho-physiological and grain quality parameters were recorded at different growth stages. Analysis of variance illustrated the presence of highly significant differences among wheat genotypes for all traits under both optimal and heat stress conditions. The results of combining ability unveiled the predominant role of non-additive gene action in the inheritance of almost all the studied traits under both conditions. Among parents, 3 parental lines WL-27, WT-39, and WL-57 showed good combining ability under both normal and heat stress conditions. Among crosses, WL-8 × WT-17, WL-37 × WT-17, WL-7 × WT-39, and WL-37 × WT-39 portrayed the highest specific combining ability effects for grain yield and its related traits under optimal as well as heat stress conditions. Biplot and cluster analysis confirmed the results of general and specific combining ability by showing that these wheat crosses belonged to a highly productive and heat tolerant cluster. Correlation analysis revealed a significantly positive correlation of grain yield with net photosynthetic rate, thousand-grain rate, and the number of grains per spike. The designated parental lines and their crosses were selected for future breeding programs in the development of heat resilient, climate-smart wheat genotypes. Full article
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Article
Performance Evaluation of a Vortex Induced Piezoelectric Energy Converter (VIPEC) with CFD Approach
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2971; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052971 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 391
Abstract
A novel vortex induced piezoelectric energy converter (VIPEC) was present in this paper to harvest flow kinetic energy from the ambient environment through a piezoelectric beam. The converter consists of a circular cylinder, a pivoted beam attached to the tail of the cylinder [...] Read more.
A novel vortex induced piezoelectric energy converter (VIPEC) was present in this paper to harvest flow kinetic energy from the ambient environment through a piezoelectric beam. The converter consists of a circular cylinder, a pivoted beam attached to the tail of the cylinder and several piezoelectric patches. Vortex induced pressure difference acts on the beam and drives the beam to squeeze piezo patches to convert fluid dynamic energy into electric energy. Transition Shear Stress Transport (SST) combined with Scale Adaptive Simulation (SAS) model was employed to predict the turbulent flow and flow separation around the cylinder with various beam lengths at high Reynolds number of 8 × 104 based on the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. The accuracy of SST-SAS model was investigated through verification and validation studies. The output voltage equation was derived from the piezoelectric constitutive equation. It was revealed that the beam length influences the flow wake pattern, the separation angle and shedding frequency greatly through changing the adverse pressure gradient around the cylinder. The wake pattern becomes symmetrical about the beam when the beam length is longer than a critical value. The length of the beam has little influence on the separation angle. When the beam length is about 1.3 times the diameter of the cylinder, the shedding frequency and output voltage achieves its maximum, and the separation angle is minimal. Maximal output voltage reaches 20 mV. Full article
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Brief Report
Resting Heart Rate Measurement in Elite Athletes during COVID-19 Lockdown: The Impact of Decreased Physical Activity
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2970; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052970 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1590
Abstract
The purpose was to observe the effects of a four-week lockdown on the resting heart rate (RHR) and well-being perception of elite swimmers. Twenty elite swimmers performed RHR measurements upon waking in supine and standing positions. Baseline values and those measured after four [...] Read more.
The purpose was to observe the effects of a four-week lockdown on the resting heart rate (RHR) and well-being perception of elite swimmers. Twenty elite swimmers performed RHR measurements upon waking in supine and standing positions. Baseline values and those measured after four weeks of lockdown were compared. Swimmers completed a questionnaire on their training volume and state of well-being. During the lockdown, swimmers reported a weekly mean physical activity of 10.4 ± 3.6 h (an estimated reduction of 254% compared to their usual training volume). After four weeks of lockdown, RHR in the supine position increased by more than two beats per minute (58.8 ± 8.2 vs. 56.5 ± 7.4 bpm, p < 0.05). In the standing position, RHR increased by almost 15 beats per minute (103.3 ± 13.2 vs. 88.4 ± 9.4 bpm, p < 0.0001). Fifty percent of these athletes expressed a decrease in well-being. These results underline that the lockdown circumstances induced a large reduction in parasympathetic activity in elite athletes, which was associated with a decrease in training volume. This increase in RHR may reflect that a highatly strenuous environment and maintaining a high level of physical activity in this population could be favorable to preserve physical and psychological health. Full article
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