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The Roles of Culture and Values in Sustainable Development

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 10779

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
Interests: sustainability; biodiversity; conservation; livelihoods; pastoralism, culture; governance; management; values; knowledge systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy
Interests: sustainability; institutions; politics; public participation; transformative approaches; ecolinguistics; environmental humanities

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Guest Editor
Department of Digital Technologies, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK
Interests: aspects of sustainability; biodiversity patterns; sustainable intensification; organic and extensive agriculture; ethics; value theory; policy evaluation; statistical modelling; Bayesian inference; philosophy of the sciences; reformational philosophy

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Guest Editor
1. Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
2. Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
3. Nicholas School for the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Interests: theology; philosophy; ecology; agriculture; food insecurity; climate change; species extinction; built environment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable development has long been accepted in principle as a good aspiration, yet it has been variably defined and often has been applied in ways that inadequately account for real-world complexities of integrated social-ecological systems. Individualistic and economically centered approaches in development have dominated most programs and policies—over and against more community-oriented worldviews, beliefs, values and ethics of indigenous peoples and local communities globally. Furthermore, it is recognized that virtually all human groups including formal, informal and natural associations, corporations, faith communities, and more, i.e., all major stakeholders and rights holders—have intrinsic cultures (whether these are recognized as such or not) and hold certain values, leading to particular norms and modes of thinking and action. Yet, the critical roles of culture and values for achieving sustainability in diverse social-ecological settings have largely been overlooked, especially with critically important relational values of some stakeholders often ignored or suppressed in favor of narrower economic valuations and consequently with the commodification of nature often implicitly and sometimes explicitly endorsed and promoted by more powerful agencies.

In this Special Issue, contributions are sought from a plurality of places and cultures across the world’s diverse socio-ecological systems—seeking to bring together in a single issue a diverse range of players, places, and perspectives—aiming especially to explore how culture and value systems are contributing, positively and negatively, to sustainability. How we see the world around us and how we relate to other stakeholders (and rights holders) is broadly oriented through the “lens” of culture and worldviews, and guided more specifically within the context of deeply held values and socially agreed norms of behavior, i.e., ethics. This Special Issue will draw together experiences and literature from across the fields of social-ecological theory and sustainability science, the latter focused especially on recently emerging dialogues in relational theory and practice; building synergies and crystalizing new ways of envisaging sustainability. Descriptive, normative and mixed contributions are welcome, but all must engage with the broader literature and be informed by concrete examples since sustainability is only ever achieved within the contexts and tangible realities of particular ecological and sociopolitical places and spaces.

Dr. J. Marc Foggin
Dr. Daniele Brombal
Dr. Richard Gunton
Prof. Dr. Norman Wirzba
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • worldview
  • culture
  • values
  • ethics
  • sustainability
  • valuation
  • commodification
  • stakeholders
  • rights holders
  • pluralism
  • diversity
  • rights-based approaches
  • partnerships
  • consensus building
  • trade-offs
  • decision-making
  • political ecology
  • indigenous peoples
  • local communities
  • place

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 168 KiB  
Editorial
The Trouble with Sustainability
by Norman Wirzba
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1388; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021388 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3177
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Roles of Culture and Values in Sustainable Development)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

13 pages, 1932 KiB  
Article
The Paradox of Privatization in Inland Fisheries Management: Lessons from a Traditional System
by Irkhamiawan Ma’ruf, Mohammad Mukhlis Kamal, Arif Satria, Sulistiono, Alin Halimatussadiah and Yudi Setiawan
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316273 - 24 Nov 2023
Viewed by 972
Abstract
Privatization, often proposed as a means to regulate natural resource use, sometimes paradoxically leads to overexploitation and social exclusion. Within the unique context of Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) Regency, Indonesia, the privatization of swamp floodplains and rivers via the “Lelang Lebak, Lebung, Sungai” [...] Read more.
Privatization, often proposed as a means to regulate natural resource use, sometimes paradoxically leads to overexploitation and social exclusion. Within the unique context of Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) Regency, Indonesia, the privatization of swamp floodplains and rivers via the “Lelang Lebak, Lebung, Sungai” (L3S) system is a testament to this dilemma. L3S grants auction winners exclusive rights to fish, thereby privatizing common-pool resources. This study delves into the intricacies of the L3S mechanism, highlighting its significance in guiding inland fisheries’ management. Through stakeholder analysis, we pinpoint the crucial actors, as well as their interests, influence, and interrelationships. Our investigation revealed 20 distinct stakeholders, each playing different roles within the L3S framework. Based on their influence and vested interests, these stakeholders are categorized as key players, subjects, context setters, and crowds. This classification aids in discerning potential conflicts, cooperation, and synergies. Effective L3S execution hinges on collaboration, especially with pivotal entities such as fishery services, village and district heads, and village-owned enterprises. Insights gathered during the study indicate that while privatization has streamlined resource distribution, it intensifies overfishing and deepens socioeconomic divisions. This study calls for a harmonious blend of historical insights and modern governance, with a central focus on stakeholder collaboration and community involvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Roles of Culture and Values in Sustainable Development)
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15 pages, 3235 KiB  
Article
Ancestral Practices for Water and Land Management: Experiences in a Latin American Indigenous Reserve
by David Román-Chaverra, Yolanda Teresa Hernández-Peña and Carlos Alfonso Zafra-Mejía
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10346; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310346 - 30 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1779
Abstract
The identification and analysis of mythical images and ancestral practices that make up the ethnos of a community allow us to know its ways of existing in the cosmos. The objective of this paper is to analyze the ancestral experiences associated with the [...] Read more.
The identification and analysis of mythical images and ancestral practices that make up the ethnos of a community allow us to know its ways of existing in the cosmos. The objective of this paper is to analyze the ancestral experiences associated with the dynamics of socio-environmental management that the Emberá Indigenous reserve (Chocó, Colombia) carries out for the conservation of water and land. This study is qualitative and ideographic. We also adopted an ethnographic approach to provide a detailed description of water and land management practices, which correspond to their cultural patterns. Using Atlas Ti V.6.0 software, we identify and analyze these cultural patterns. The results show that the ecosystemic relationships offered by the Emberá worldview are part of a true connection with their spiritual world, which fosters respect for the natural elements and understanding of universal natural laws. These relationships are manifested through gifts and penance. The Emberá beliefs and religion are a possible methodology for the sustainable management of water and land and, consequently, of the basin where they live. The success of their ethnodevelopment depends significantly on the power figures of their culture: the Jaibana (their gods), the elders, and the Emberá woman as a cultural agent. The Emberá worldview is possibly a valid instrument to enable the sustainable development of modern communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Roles of Culture and Values in Sustainable Development)
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16 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Association of Religious End Time Beliefs with Attitudes toward Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss
by Benjamin S. Lowe, Susan K. Jacobson, Glenn D. Israel and Anna L. Peterson
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 9071; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15119071 - 4 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2494
Abstract
Mobilizing communities for environmental sustainability often involves engaging with religious values and beliefs, which can exert powerful influences on the attitudes, norms, and behaviors of the majority of people worldwide. Christianity is the largest world religion and, in some contexts, has also been [...] Read more.
Mobilizing communities for environmental sustainability often involves engaging with religious values and beliefs, which can exert powerful influences on the attitudes, norms, and behaviors of the majority of people worldwide. Christianity is the largest world religion and, in some contexts, has also been among the most skeptical of climate and environmental concerns. A popular explanation for this skepticism focuses on eschatological views (i.e., end time beliefs) and posits that if the earth is going to be destroyed someday, there is little point in conserving it now. Empirical evidence is lacking, however, on the extent to which such beliefs actually influence environmental attitudes. We surveyed Christian undergraduate students in the US (N = 1520) and found that belief in the imminent return of Jesus Christ was not significantly associated with variables tested regarding biodiversity loss or climate change. Furthermore, a plurality responded that the earth will be renewed at the end (43%), not destroyed (24%), and beliefs about the fate of the earth were generally not related to attitudinal measures—except for a slim minority of respondents with strongest views that the earth will be destroyed—but were significantly associated with political ideology and literalist views of Scripture. These findings suggest that end time views may not be a major obstacle—at least among younger American Christians—to promoting socio-ecological sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Roles of Culture and Values in Sustainable Development)
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