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Environment, Development and Sustainability    [24 followers]  Follow    
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
     ISSN (Print) 1573-2975 - ISSN (Online) 1387-585X
     Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2187 journals]   [SJR: 0.319]   [H-I: 26]
  • Limits to adaptation or a second modernity' Responses to climate
           change risk in the context of failing socio-ecosystems
    • Abstract: Abstract There is a concerning fallacy at the heart of the debate on climate change adaptation—that adaptation will involve re-adjustments primarily on the periphery of functioning socio-ecological systems. Yet, dominant modern systems are already in crisis. Case study examples from research across global, continental and regional scales are used to argue that gaps between sustainability goals and outcomes are already significant. Analyses of global food security and lost diversity; human migration in Asia; and natural resource management systems in core and remote regions of Australia indicate that climate change forms only part of a failing relationship between people and the environment. There is a need to transform socio-ecosystems so that they become resilient in the context of broader learning on environmental uncertainty, variability, change and risk. Such transformations will occur both in situ, to ensure that local environments are not further degraded or people entrenched in failing systems, and ex situ, as people, systems and infrastructure become increasingly mobile to deal with changing circumstances.
      PubDate: 2014-04-20
  • Putting Health Impact Assessment into practice through the lenses of
           diffusion of innovations theory: a review
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper looks into the applicability of diffusion of innovation (DoI) theory and the implementation of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) approach, focusing mainly on the resource extraction sector in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The paper begins with a review of DoI theory and discusses how HIA adoption in a LMIC context might be understood from the perspective of DoI theory. It then asks whether knowledge translation theories and approaches might be relevant to DoI, and if so, how. Based on the findings of the literature review and practical applications of DoI theory in HIA implementation, this paper is concluded by arguing that DoI is useful as an overarching theoretical framework to plan and implement adoption strategies and activities, to identify potential challenges.
      PubDate: 2014-04-19
  • Principles for sustainability: the need to shift to a sustainable
           conventional regime
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper argues that the present dominant economic system rests upon unquestioned beliefs that are in a deep contradiction with the pursuit of sustainable development. The economics of conventions is used as an analytical framework through which to demonstrate the conflict between the dominant conventions underpinning societal development and the objectives of sustainable development. It suggests that a trajectory towards the objectives of sustainable development should be managed through a reflexion concerning the conventional principles required to be adopted in order to favour the emergence of a new conventional regime. The principles of proximity, the increase in individual and collective capabilities, and participative democracy are presented as possible principles that could be adopted in order to favour the emergence of a new conventional regime.
      PubDate: 2014-04-18
  • Indigenous African building techniques and the prospects for sustainable
           housing and environmental development
    • Abstract: Abstract In this paper, sustainability is examined as one of the objectives of enabling man in a preserved, efficient and enduring world environment. Thus, sustainable housing and environmental development is conceptualized as a building or shelter provided through judicious, selective sourcing, processing and use of building materials to satisfy current shelter needs while ensuring quality environment and adequate resources for the future generations in satisfying theirs. To stimulate orderly academic debate, the paper proposes five major factors of sustainability. They include climatic sustainability factor, ecological sustainability factor, economics and affordability sustainability factor, social sustainability factor and cultural sustainability factor. The sustainability attributes of each factor are highlighted, and the criteria for the selection of building materials to satisfy the attributes are commended.
      PubDate: 2014-04-17
  • An assessment of the metabolic profile implied by agricultural change in
           two rural communities in the North of Argentina
    • Abstract: Abstract The soy expansion model in Argentina generates structural changes in traditional lifestyles, which can be associated with different biophysical and socioeconomic impacts. To explore this issue, we apply an innovative method for integrated assessment—the multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism framework—to characterize two communities in the Chaco Region, Province of Formosa, North of Argentina. These communities have recently experienced the expansion of soy production, altering their economic activity, energy consumption patterns, land use and human time allocation. The integrated characterization presented in the paper illustrates the differences (biophysical, socioeconomic and historical) between the two communities that can be associated with different responses. The analysis of the factors behind these differences has important policy implications for the sustainable development of local communities in the area.
      PubDate: 2014-04-13
  • Education for sustainable society: attainments and good practices in
           Sweden during the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable
           Development (UNDESD)
    • Abstract: Abstract Education is an indispensable social component and a powerful tool to develop a peaceful and sustainable society. Global policy frameworks are coupled with national policy frameworks to facilitate strategic use of education to promote sustainability. Sweden is one of the countries that has actively aligned with the global framework and has been successful in introducing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into formal education through its inclusion in the curricula and through new approaches toward learning and teaching. This article is based on document analysis attempting to review ESD policy implementation and to highlight Sweden’s contribution to the global framework of ESD. It provides a comprehensive review of ESD discourse and its international policy framework, followed by an analysis of evolution of environmental education then ESD in Sweden. Three initiatives at the primary school level that promote ESD are presented as distinctive examples from Sweden demonstrating instrumental use of education toward sustainable development of the society while assessing the challenges and future prospects. As the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Development and Millennium Development Goals comes to an end in November 2014 and 2015, respectively, it is imperative that the concept of is revisited and good practices in the realm of ESD are identified and shared. Research of this nature locates effective practices of ESD and broadens our understanding of how ESD is implemented and adopted hybridizing with local socio-cultural tradition.
      PubDate: 2014-04-12
  • Water use in arid rural systems and the integration of water and
           agricultural policies in Europe: the case of Andarax river basin
    • Abstract: Abstract Water is a precious resource in arid rural areas with irrigated agriculture. Nonetheless, water and agricultural policies in Europe show different management scopes and objectives, usually translated in divergent drivers of rural change. This paper has a double aim: to propose a specific method for quantitative biophysical analysis of water use in rural systems with the multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism approach and to show the usefulness of this method for the assessment of the integration of water and agricultural policies. The river basin scale is chosen, since it is the socioecological unit for water management established in the water framework directive 2000/60/CE. A multi-scale water use accounting is provided for a Mediterranean river basin in Andalusia, integrating water cycle, ecosystems and social levels. Particularly focusing on agricultural production, a relevant set of indicators is proposed in order to analyze and compare different metabolic patterns. Finally, the integration of water and agricultural planning is assessed in terms of external (biophysical) and internal (economic, institutional) constraints of the new water-use patterns generated by the scenarios posed in these policies. While on a European level water policy is ambitious in terms of ecological conservation, the lack of integration within the common agricultural policy and the entanglement of multiple scales of political and economic organization of local ruralities blur its priority in a rather slow transition to a new water culture.
      PubDate: 2014-04-06
  • Integrating energy and land-use planning: socio-metabolic profiles along
           the rural–urban continuum in Catalonia (Spain)
    • Abstract: Abstract Abandoning fossil fuels and increasingly relying on low-density, land-intensive renewable energy will increase demand for land, affecting current global and regional rural–urban relationships. Over the past two decades, rural–urban relationships all over the world have witnessed unprecedented changes that have rendered their boundaries blurred and have lead to the emergence of “new ruralities.” In this paper, we analyze the current profiles of electricity generation and consumption in relation to sociodemographic variables related to the use of time and land across the territory of Catalonia, Spain. Through a clustering procedure based on multivariate statistical analysis, we found that electricity consumption is related to functional specialization in the roles undertaken by different types of municipalities in the urban system. Municipality types have distinctive metabolic profiles in different sectors depending on their industrial, services or residential role. Villages’ metabolism is influenced by urban sprawl and industrial specialization, reflecting current “new ruralities.” Segregation between work activity and residence increases both overall electricity consumption and its rate (per hour) and density (per hectare) of dissipation. A sustainable spatial organization of societal activities without the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy would require huge structural and sociodemographic changes to reduce energy demand and adapt it to regionally available renewable energy.
      PubDate: 2014-04-04
  • Land poverty and emerging ruralities in Cambodia: insights from Kampot
    • Abstract: Abstract Rural change in Cambodia manifests itself in rapidly declining land availability for the smallholder sector, posing the question of how farmers may be able to deal with limited access to land. In this paper, we discuss with a case study village and household livelihood strategies of smallholders currently operating under land-constrained conditions. Based on an integrated assessment of a smallholder village in Kampot province, we illustrate in quantitative terms how land shortage is creating problems of surplus generation and liquidity issues in monetary and non-monetary flows. At the household level, livelihood diversification based on the involvement of productive resources other than land may play an increasing role, particularly in the future, when levels of land shortage may increase. At the village level, smallholder may respond through institutional innovation, in particular through the establishment of a community banking system and a paddy rice bank to provide money and rice credits to overcome transitory shortages and to cover investment costs for additional productive resources. Thus, in this case, we observe the emergence of new patterns of livelihood in rural areas, based on the integration of non-land-based economic activities and new institutional settings.
      PubDate: 2014-04-02
  • Climate impact on agroeconomy in semiarid region of Armenia
    • Abstract: Abstract With 21 % of gross domestic product (GDP) in agricultural sector and having consistently experienced natural disasters (e.g., drought, flood), Armenia is very vulnerable to climate and its change. Given the fact that 63 % of the entire land is planted with grains, this study primarily focuses on the market for wheat flour and bread. Economic welfare loss due to drought episodes is calculated using the economic data integrated with climate measures. Economic data are utilized for the period 1995–2011 (obtained from Statistical Office of Armenia) and specifically include the quantity produced and consumed of wheat flour and bread combined with mean prices, population income, GDP in the agricultural sector, GDP in the planting sector, and governmental expenditure on subsidies. Climate data include temperature and precipitation during the period 1966–2011 (obtained from National Hydrometeorological Service of Armenia). The analysis includes three main components. The first utilizes a market framework that analyzes the impact of climate on equilibrium prices and quantities as well as trade and tax effects. The second employs a logarithmic utility function to estimate the effective insurance policy for the agricultural sector using risk management strategies. Lastly, a macroeconomic model has been developed to assess the efficient sum of governmental expenditure on subsidies and irrigation during the drought episodes and during the mean climatic conditions. All three parts of the study are developed for the first time.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • Bioeconomic modeling of farm household decisions for ex-ante impact
           assessment of integrated watershed development programs in semi-arid India
    • Abstract: Abstract The increasing population and urbanization have serious implications for sustainable development in less-favoured areas of developing countries. In an attempt to sustain the long-term productivity of natural resources and to meet the food and non-food demands of growing population in the semi-arid tropics, the Indian government invests and promotes integrated watershed development programs. A comprehensive tool to assess the impacts of watershed development programs on both social well-being and sustainability of natural resource is currently lacking. In this study, we develop a watershed level bioeconomic model to assess the ex-ante impacts of key technological and policy interventions on the socioeconomic well-being of rural households and the natural resource base. These interventions are simulated using data from a watershed community in the semi-arid tropics of India. The model captures the interaction between economic decisions and biophysical processes and using a constrained optimization of household decision model. The interventions assessed are productivity-enhancing technologies of dryland crops and increased in irrigable area through water conservation technologies. The results show that productivity-enhancing technologies of dryland crops increase household incomes and also provided incentives for conserving soil moisture and fertility. The increase in irrigable area enables cultivation of high-value crops which increase the household income but also lead to an increase in soil erosion and nutrient mining. The results clearly indicate the necessity for prioritizing and sequencing technologies based on potential effects and trade-offs on household income and conservation of natural resources.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • Whither the CDM' Investment outcomes and future prospects
    • Abstract: Abstract Following an abrupt fall in carbon credit prices, 2012 has witnessed a disinterest on behalf of investors in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In this paper, we aim to take a step back and provide an assessment of the CDM through a careful analysis of 6 instrument evaluation criteria. Our study indicates that, despite the important number of projects developed under the CDM, the initial ambition of a scheme that would contribute to sustainable development in developing countries has not materialised. Moreover, the environmental integrity of numerous projects is seriously questioned. Given the interaction of the mechanism with other national policies, notably in the renewable sector, the search of carbon reduction opportunities does not lead to cost-effective abatements. If the CDM governance does not score really well in terms of predictability, the mechanism’s transparency is an example for the development of future climate and development policies at a multilateral level. Finally, the lack of consideration for the demand side of the offset mechanism seriously jeopardises the persistence of this instrument. Therefore, we recommend that any CDM reform considers the demand side, for instance through the setting of a guaranteed minimum price coupled with an obligation of repurchase. One cannot expect progress in host countries if new sources of demand for carbon credits are not rapidly created in developed countries.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • Effects of population and population pressure on forest resources and
           their conservation: a modeling study
    • Abstract: Abstract In this paper, a nonlinear mathematical model is proposed and analyzed to study the depletion of forest resources caused by population and the corresponding population pressure. It is assumed that the cumulative density of forest resources and the density of populations follow logistic models with prey–predator type nonlinear interaction terms. It is considered that the carrying capacity of forest resources decreases by population pressure, the main focus of this paper. A conservation model is also proposed to control the population pressure by providing some economic incentives to people, the amount of which is assumed to be proportional to the population pressure. The model is analyzed by using stability theory of differential equations and numerical simulation. The model analysis shows that as the density of population or population pressure increases, the cumulative density of forest resources decreases, and the resources may become extinct if the population pressure becomes too large. It is also noted that by controlling the population pressure, using some economic incentives, the density of forest resources can be maintained at an equilibrium level, which is population density dependent. The simulation analysis of the model confirms analytical results.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • Environmental perception during rapid population growth and urbanization:
           a case study of Dhaka city
    • Abstract: Abstract Dhaka city in Bangladesh has been passing through a hasty process of urbanization and population growth since the last few decades. Rapid growth of population, unplanned urbanization and industrialization in the periphery has generated pressure to the changes in land use pattern, which has also caused huge urban expansion. This expansion process is engulfing cultivated land, vegetation, wetlands and water bodies without considering their environmental impacts. This study argues that these changes and their scale of environmental impacts or sufferings are not equally distributed among the dwellers in Dhaka city. It seeks to explore variations of environmental qualities on the basis of people’s perceptions. The study finds that the dwellers in the city perceive their neighborhood environment differently, which may affect environmental qualities of the area and their sustainable management as well. Therefore, it is imperative to consider spatial variations and inequalities of environmental opportunities or sufferings in urban planning of Dhaka city.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • Use of rainwater for non-potable purposes in the Amazon
    • Abstract: Abstract The Brazilian Amazon has about 69 % of available freshwater in Brazil, an amount that ends up creating the illusion that no lack of water and not lacking in the region, the large supply of this resource becomes a problem when it comes to the Management and Planning Water Resources in the Amazon, according to the wasteful use and lack of maintenance of stocks, compounded by the release of untreated wastewater. Speaking of water conservation programs in the Amazon a few decades ago and still today, with less intensity, is somewhat strange, given the large amount of water available and the culture of abundance. Thus, this research discusses the importance of the use of rainwater for non-potable purposes, since the potential for exploitation, throughout the year, due to this high rainfall in the Amazon region, ranging from, on average, 119.6 mm in months from November to 441.6 mm in March. The methods used for sizing of the reservoir were the Rippl and interactive, and economic viability checking done by the methods of net present value and discounted payback. As a result, there was a volume exceeding 1,000 m³ obtained by the method of Rippl, while the interactive method was a maximum of 75 m³. The economic viability presented fragile as a function of time to return exceeds the useful life of the utilization system for rainwater.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • The oil palm boom: socio-economic implications for Q’eqchi’
           households in the Polochic valley, Guatemala
    • Abstract: Abstract Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) has become one of the most rapidly expanding crops in the world. Many countries have promoted its cultivation as part of a broader rural development strategy aimed at generating paid work and producing both export commodities and biofuels. However, oil palm expansion has often occurred at the expense of ecosystems and subsistence agriculture, and on lands riddled with tenure conflicts. In this article, we analyse the implications of the combined effect of labouring in oil palm plantations and land access on households, and we discuss how these implications affect human well-being in two indigenous communities of the Polochic valley, Guatemala. Combining participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and land-time budget analysis at household level, we reveal how oil palm cultivation increases incomes for plantation workers’ households, but decreases the productivity of maize cultivation, reduces the time that household members have available for other activities and, particularly, reduces women’s resting time. In contrast, households that focus more intensively on maize cultivation show higher degrees of food security and women can allocate more time to social activities. However, our results also show that maize consumption per capita has not decreased in households working in oil palm plantations since such crop is considered sacred by the Q’eqchi’ and plays a central role in their diet and culture. In conclusion, we argue that while working for an oil palm cultivation can increase specific elements of the basic material conditions for a good life, other aspects such as food security, health, freedom of choice, and social relationships can become deteriorated.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • A simplified method for the design and sizing of anaerobic digestion
           systems for smaller farms
    • Abstract: Abstract Anaerobic digestion (AD) as a waste treatment practice has existed for nearly 200 years and has become an accepted option for many farming and small-scale residential operations. Many developing countries now encourage the use of AD in order to meet new environmental regulations and/or to provide small amounts of energy resulting from methane generated during the process. This development has been met with some difficulty due to the lack of resources and knowledge of the systems in many of the rural communities in which these digesters are placed. A properly designed AD system can help prevent soil and water pollution as well as help mitigate methane emissions by capturing them for use as a potential energy source. This paper focuses on providing guidance to the proper design and sizing of an AD system for typical small farms, which account for the majority of dairy farms worldwide. A focus was on the implementation of such systems as they might be applied in Central America, although the aspects studied here can be applied for AD systems handling animal waste streams practically anywhere. We provide a method for sizing of anaerobic digester systems based on design standards from the US National Resource Conservation Service and using field sampled data of holding pen wash water runoff. An overview of the decision process for alternative designs is given, and simple-to-use nomographs are presented for use in sizing of an anaerobic digester system for smaller (non-industrial)-scale farms.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • A reassessment of energy and GDP relationship: the case of Australia
    • Abstract: Abstract This paper investigates the long- and short-run relationships between energy consumption and economic growth in Australia using the bound testing and the ARDL approach. The analytical framework utilized in this paper includes both production and demand side models and a unified model comprising both production and demand side variables. The energy–GDP relationships are investigated at aggregate as well as several disaggregated energy categories, such as coal, oil, gas and electricity. The possibilities of one or more structural break(s) in the data series are examined by applying the recent advances in techniques. We find that the results of the cointegration tests could be affected by the structural break(s) in the data. It is, therefore, crucial to incorporate the information on structural break(s) in the subsequent modelling and inferences. Moreover, neither the production side nor the demand side framework alone can provide sufficient information to draw an ultimate conclusion on the cointegration and causal direction between energy and output. When alternative frameworks and structural break(s) in time series are explored properly, strong evidence of a bidirectional relationship between energy and output can be observed. The finding is true at both the aggregate and the disaggregate levels of energy consumption.
      PubDate: 2014-04-01
  • An evidence-based data set on climate changes for developing countries
    • PubDate: 2013-12-22
  • Gilbert Silvius, Ron Schipper, Julia Planko, Jasper van den Brink and Adri
           Kohler: Sustainability in project management
    • PubDate: 2013-12-20
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