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Challenges, Volume 11, Issue 1 (June 2020) – 12 articles

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Open AccessPerspective
Challenges for the Island of Barbuda: A Distinct Cultural and Ecological Island Ecosystem at the Precipice of Change
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010012 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 944
Abstract
Barbuda is one of two major islands that comprise the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The island is known for its secluded pink and white sand beaches and, more recently, for Hurricane Irma (September 2017). The category five mega-storm decimated much of [...] Read more.
Barbuda is one of two major islands that comprise the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The island is known for its secluded pink and white sand beaches and, more recently, for Hurricane Irma (September 2017). The category five mega-storm decimated much of the island’s landscape and infrastructure, and the physical damage was widely publicized. Three years after Hurricane Irma, many challenges related to humanitarian aid, fiscal resources, and materials to rebuild remain. There are many natural resource commodity and human social challenges including those related to water resources, agriculture, marine ecosystems, feral animal populations, human health, tourism, and economics. This article includes some of Barbuda’s historical context and identifies a number of current critical challenges and recommendations for activities (approaches) that may advance a number of management practices. For example, the Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) and/or One Health approach(es) include social and fiscal mechanisms to implement programs, policies, legislation, and research in which multiple sectors of Barbuda could communicate and work together to achieve sustainable outcomes. Context is provided to substantiate humanitarian aid, scientific engagement, scientific progress, and political support for a semi-closed cultural socio-ecological island ecosystem at the precipice of change. Full article
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Open AccessProject Report
Sustainable Distribution of Responsibility for Climate Change Adaptation
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010011 - 18 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1366
Abstract
To gain legitimacy for climate change adaptation decisions, the distribution of responsibility for these decisions and their implementation needs to be grounded in theories of just distribution and what those affected by decisions see as just. The purpose of this project is to [...] Read more.
To gain legitimacy for climate change adaptation decisions, the distribution of responsibility for these decisions and their implementation needs to be grounded in theories of just distribution and what those affected by decisions see as just. The purpose of this project is to contribute to sustainable spatial planning and the ability of local and regional public authorities to make well-informed and sustainable adaptation decisions, based on knowledge about both climate change impacts and the perceptions of residents and civil servants on what constitutes a sustainable distribution of responsibility. Our aims are: (1) a better understanding of the practical implications of theories about just distribution of responsibility for the choice of local and regional climate adaptation measures; (2) knowledge about what residents and civil servants consider a sustainable distribution of responsibility for climate adaptation measures; and (3) a better understanding of conflicts concerning the distribution of responsibilities and systematic knowledge about the possibilities to manage them. In this interdisciplinary project, we study six municipalities and their residents, and two county administrative boards, all in Sweden, using mixed methods: value theory, document studies, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Intelligent Collaborative Authoring of Place-Based, Cross-Cultural and Media-Rich Experiences
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010010 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
In this paper, we present a framework that aims to support the active participation and collaboration of knowledge workers and engineers in the co-authoring of place-based, cross-cultural and media-rich memories, experiences, stories and narration. To achieve this, the framework proposes a novel approach [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a framework that aims to support the active participation and collaboration of knowledge workers and engineers in the co-authoring of place-based, cross-cultural and media-rich memories, experiences, stories and narration. To achieve this, the framework proposes a novel approach for facilitating such a participation and collaboration through the semantic integration of data/information and integrated tools that will be both accessible via an open, user-friendly, mobile and knowledge-based platform, emphasizing a low-effort participative and guided co-authoring approach. The presented collaborative and participative approach is expected to foster social cohesion in heterogeneous communities of interest and practice. For the realization of the framework, we propose the implementation of a proof-of-concept system and its evaluation in the socio-cultural group of immigrants and refugees within the context of creating and sharing knowledge related to the physical and digital artifacts of a modern art museum. Our vision for the proposed framework is to introduce new technology for the collaborative authoring of cultural experiences with low effort using an intelligent assistant. Additionally, we envision a Shared Experiences Ecosystem (SEE) that aims to provide media-rich content and tools that will eventually foster the inclusive access of heterogeneous socio-cultural groups to shared experiences, increasing social cohesion in resilient local environments. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Soiling Losses: A Barrier for India’s Energy Security Dependency from Photovoltaic Power
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010009 - 28 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1260
Abstract
Worldwide photovoltaic power generation is affected by deposited dust on photovoltaic (PV) systems, which creates soiling losses. In this work, factors that have a detrimental influence on dust deposition and an impact on PV systems performance were reviewed. The different ways that dust [...] Read more.
Worldwide photovoltaic power generation is affected by deposited dust on photovoltaic (PV) systems, which creates soiling losses. In this work, factors that have a detrimental influence on dust deposition and an impact on PV systems performance were reviewed. The different ways that dust deposition can be a barrier for India’s energy security plan involving PV were also discussed. Different available cleaning techniques were also introduced. The nature, size, and morphology of dust particles vary with geographical location. Any increase of the PV tilt angle, or high wind speed and heavy rain showers reduce dust deposition. Deposited dust reduces the incident transmitted light on the PV, which has an adverse impact on the reduction of short circuit current. However, the open-circuit voltage has a reduced effect due to dust deposition. The enhancement of temperature caused by dust-covered PVs is still a debatable area. A universal cleaning technique is required to eliminate the soiling losses from PV. India has a solar mission to generate 100 GW of PV power by 2022. However, India’s poor air quality can undermine efforts to achieve this target. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Action Research to Enhance Inter-Organisational Coordination of Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010008 - 27 May 2020
Viewed by 1238
Abstract
Pacific regional organisations focusing on climate change have overlapping adaptation-related mandates. With the growing importance of regional organisations in supplying financial and technical resources for climate adaptation in small island developing states, it is important to understand how well these supranational organisations work [...] Read more.
Pacific regional organisations focusing on climate change have overlapping adaptation-related mandates. With the growing importance of regional organisations in supplying financial and technical resources for climate adaptation in small island developing states, it is important to understand how well these supranational organisations work together on these issues. In this paper, theories of regionalism and neofunctionalism, complex systems, and superordinate group identity are used to design an action research project that tests the level of coordination between Pacific regional organisations. It presents and discusses a pre-analysis plan for the project, the goal of which is to determine the ways in which virtual team structure can be used to enhance inter-organisational coordination of adaptation interventions across small, dispersed, resource-constrained country jurisdictions. The proposed study represents an important intermediary step in developing more robust climate-related organisational policies at the regional scale in the Pacific and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Biodiversity in Music Scores
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010007 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 1126
Abstract
Nature has inspired music since the dawn of humankind and has contributed to the creation and development of music as an art form. However, attempts to use the science of nature (i.e., quantitative ecology) to inform music as a broader art-science system is [...] Read more.
Nature has inspired music since the dawn of humankind and has contributed to the creation and development of music as an art form. However, attempts to use the science of nature (i.e., quantitative ecology) to inform music as a broader art-science system is comparatively underdeveloped. In this paper an approach from biodiversity assessments is borrowed to quantify structural diversity in music scores. The approach is analogous in its nature and considers notations with distinct pitches and duration as equivalents of species in ecosystems, measures within a score as equivalents of ecosystems, and the sum of measures (i.e., the entire score) as a landscape in which ecosystems are embedded. Structural diversity can be calculated at the level of measures (“alpha diversity”) and the entire score (“gamma diversity”). An additional metric can be derived that quantifies the structural differentiation between measures in a score (“beta diversity”). The approach is demonstrated using music scores that vary in complexity. The method seems particularly suitable for hypothesis testing to objectively identify many of the intricate phenomena in music. For instance, questions related to the variability within and between musical genres or among individual composers can be addressed. Another potential application is an assessment of ontogenetic structural variability in the works of composers during their lifetime. Such information can then be contrasted with other cultural, psychological, and historical variables, among others. This study shows the opportunities that music and ecology offer for interdisciplinary research to broaden our knowledge of complex systems of people and nature. Full article
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Open AccessOpinion
Novel Coronavirus: How Atmospheric Particulate Affects Our Environment and Health
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010006 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3553
Abstract
It is well-known that atmospheric pollution, first and foremost the particulate matter (PM), causes serious diseases in humans. China’s metropolises and Italy’s Po Valley have in fact achieved a concerning degree of notoriety thanks to runaway air pollution problems. The spread of viral [...] Read more.
It is well-known that atmospheric pollution, first and foremost the particulate matter (PM), causes serious diseases in humans. China’s metropolises and Italy’s Po Valley have in fact achieved a concerning degree of notoriety thanks to runaway air pollution problems. The spread of viral respiratory diseases is facilitated in polluted environments, an example of which is the respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis. In this opinion paper, we consider the possible relationship between air pollution, primarily airborne PM10–2.5, and the spread of the novel coronavirus in Northern Italy. If it is true that the novel coronavirus remains active from some hours to several days on various surfaces, it is logical to postulate that the same can occur when it is adsorbed or absorbed by the atmospheric particulate matter, which may also help carry the virus into the human respiratory system. As the Earth presents us with a very high bill to pay, governments and other authorities need to take prompt action to counter excessive pollution levels, both in Italy and in other countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating Thermal Performance of Residential Buildings in Marmari Region, South Evia, Greece
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010005 - 26 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
In recent decades, the steady increase of energy consumption from building construction and operations cause atmospheric pollution and significant financial burden, mainly due to the high costs imposed from energy production. This study examines ways under which modern designs of a building can [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the steady increase of energy consumption from building construction and operations cause atmospheric pollution and significant financial burden, mainly due to the high costs imposed from energy production. This study examines ways under which modern designs of a building can be applied on construction and domestication while following conventional methods of construction, compared to a building that has been constructed and domesticated under bioclimatic architecture. Particularly, two buildings were investigated in terms of the energy consumption incurred, being built on the same seaside area and period of construction and at adjacent plots of the same distance from sea for ease of comparison. The first building (A1) was constructed under the principles of bioclimatic architecture, being also facilitated with green and smart technologies. The second building (A2) was constructed under conventional construction techniques. The energy efficiency of both buildings was calculated by the “TEE KENAK” software, while specific parameters were recorded. Energy classifications of both buildings were valued and a proposed scenario and interventions unveiled the energy classification upgrading from A2 to A1. Our analysis revealed, as also found in the literature, that during thermal energy oscillating conditions, corresponding relative humidity stresses were observed, indicating that the vapor pressure handling should be taken into account towards comfort. The preliminary incremental cost evaluation and comparison of A1 and A2 energy upgrading under the criterion of simple payback period were critically discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Mismatch between Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions and Their Consequences for Human Zinc and Protein Sufficiency Highlights Important Environmental Justice Issues
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010004 - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1464
Abstract
The impacts of climate change are not equally distributed globally. We examined the global distribution of CO2 emissions and the ensuing distribution of increases in the risk of zinc and protein deficiency resulting from elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We estimated cumulative [...] Read more.
The impacts of climate change are not equally distributed globally. We examined the global distribution of CO2 emissions and the ensuing distribution of increases in the risk of zinc and protein deficiency resulting from elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. We estimated cumulative per capita (2011–2050) CO2 emissions for 146 countries using existing measurement data and by apportioning regional emissions projections. We tested the relationship between cumulative per capita CO2 emissions and the risk of additional zinc and protein deficiency at the population-level and country-level. At the population-level (i.e., population-weighted), we observed a significant inverse association between CO2 emissions and the percentage of the population placed at additional risk of zinc (p-value: <0.001) and protein (p-value: <0.01) deficiencies. Country-level (i.e., unweighted) analyses produced significant but less strong associations. Populations with lower per capita CO2 emissions between 2011 and 2050 will experience a disproportionately high nutritional burden, highlighting socioeconomic, geospatial, and intergenerational injustices. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Emerging Concepts on the Role of ADP-Ribosylation
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010003 - 19 Feb 2020
Viewed by 858
Abstract
NAD+ has emerged as a crucial element in both bioenergetic and signaling pathways, since it acts as a key regulator of cellular and organism homeostasis. NAD+ is a coenzyme in redox reactions, a donor of adenosine diphosphate-ribose (ADPr) moieties in ADP-ribosylation [...] Read more.
NAD+ has emerged as a crucial element in both bioenergetic and signaling pathways, since it acts as a key regulator of cellular and organism homeostasis. NAD+ is a coenzyme in redox reactions, a donor of adenosine diphosphate-ribose (ADPr) moieties in ADP-ribosylation reactions, and a substrate for sirtuins, a group of histone deacetylase enzymes that use NAD+ to remove acetyl groups from proteins. NAD+ is also a precursor of cyclic ADP-ribose, a second messenger in the release and signaling of Ca++, and of diadenosine tetraphosphate (Ap4A) and oligoadenylates (oligo2′-5′A)—two immune response-activating compounds. In the biological systems considered in this review, NAD+ is mostly consumed in ADP-ribose (ADPr) transfer reactions. In this review, the roles of these chemical products are discussed in biological systems, such as in animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. In the review, ADP-ribosylating enzymes are introduced, as well as the importance to restore the NAD+ pools in these systems. Finally, a special attention is presently focused on viral macrodomains, aimed to develop inhibitors to improve the immune response to viruses. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Challenges in 2019
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010002 - 22 Jan 2020
Viewed by 785
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Production Challenges in Least Developed Countries
Challenges 2020, 11(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe11010001 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1487
Abstract
Local production sites in least developed countries offer sustainability for both multinational corporations and local society. However, corporations often hesitate because of uncertain environmental influences on production sites in these countries. To minimize planning uncertainties, we aim to identify and categorize the challenges [...] Read more.
Local production sites in least developed countries offer sustainability for both multinational corporations and local society. However, corporations often hesitate because of uncertain environmental influences on production sites in these countries. To minimize planning uncertainties, we aim to identify and categorize the challenges of local production in least developed countries. Therefore, we conduct a research on local production challenges described in current literature. Our results indicate that the influences can be clustered and occur independent of the country. To show practical relevance and actuality of the identified production challenges, we conducted two case studies. Additionally, these studies give examples for organizational, product-specific and technological solutions to overcome the prevailing challenges. In summary, we support the removal of barriers that keep corporates from setting up local production sites in least developed countries. Full article
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