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Sustainability, Volume 2, Issue 10 (October 2010), Pages 3142-3338

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Baleen Whales’ Saving Grace: The Introduction of Petroleum Based Products in the Market and Its Impact on the Whaling Industry
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3142-3157; doi:10.3390/su2103142
Received: 16 August 2010 / Revised: 22 September 2010 / Accepted: 26 September 2010 / Published: 30 September 2010
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Abstract
This paper presents empirical evidence which indicates that the introduction of petroleum based products on the American markets was a significant factor in reducing the demand for whale oil. As a result, the whaling industry, America’s 5th largest industry at the time, [...] Read more.
This paper presents empirical evidence which indicates that the introduction of petroleum based products on the American markets was a significant factor in reducing the demand for whale oil. As a result, the whaling industry, America’s 5th largest industry at the time, soon collapsed. A counterfactual study is then presented which suggests that if the introduction of petroleum based products had been delayed, then the increase in demand as a result of rising GDP per capita, as well as rapid industrialization, would have given whalers incentive to continue chasing after a diminishing whale population. This could have resulted in the baleen whale population being subject to unsustainable harvest levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Probabilistic Analysis of the Switchgrass Ethanol Cycle
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3158-3194; doi:10.3390/su2103158
Received: 24 August 2010 / Revised: 26 September 2010 / Accepted: 29 September 2010 / Published: 30 September 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (849 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The switchgrass-driven process for producing ethanol has received much popular attention. However, a realistic analysis of this process indicates three serious limitations: (a) If switchgrass planted on 140 million hectares (the entire area of active U.S. cropland) were used as feedstock and [...] Read more.
The switchgrass-driven process for producing ethanol has received much popular attention. However, a realistic analysis of this process indicates three serious limitations: (a) If switchgrass planted on 140 million hectares (the entire area of active U.S. cropland) were used as feedstock and energy source for ethanol production, the net ethanol yield would replace on average about 20% of today’s gasoline consumption in the U.S. (b) Because nonrenewable resources are required to produce ethanol from switchgrass, the incremental gas emissions would be on average 55 million tons of equivalent carbon dioxide per year to replace just 10% of U.S. automotive gasoline. (c) In terms of delivering electrical or mechanical power, ethanol from 1 hectare (10,000 m2) of switchgrass is equivalent, on average, to 30 m2 of low-efficiency photovoltaic cells. This analysis suggests that investing toward more efficient and durable solar cells, and batteries, may be more promising than investing in a process to convert switchgrass to ethanol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Virtual Sustainability
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3195-3210; doi:10.3390/su2103195
Received: 30 July 2010 / Revised: 9 September 2010 / Accepted: 13 September 2010 / Published: 30 September 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In four ways, massively multiplayer online role-playing games may serve as tools for advancing sustainability goals, and as laboratories for developing alternatives to current social arrangements that have implications for the natural environment. First, by moving conspicuous consumption and other usually costly [...] Read more.
In four ways, massively multiplayer online role-playing games may serve as tools for advancing sustainability goals, and as laboratories for developing alternatives to current social arrangements that have implications for the natural environment. First, by moving conspicuous consumption and other usually costly status competitions into virtual environments, these virtual worlds might reduce the need for physical resources. Second, they provide training that could prepare individuals to be teleworkers, and develop or demonstrate methods for using information technology to replace much transportation technology, notably in commuting. Third, virtual worlds and online games build international cooperation, even blending national cultures, thereby inching us toward not only the world consciousness needed for international agreements about the environment, but also toward non-spatial government that cuts across archaic nationalisms. Finally, realizing the potential social benefits of this new technology may urge us to reconsider a number of traditional societal institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Futures)
Open AccessArticle Destitution through “Development”: A Case Study of the Laka Laka Project in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3239-3257; doi:10.3390/su2103239
Received: 11 August 2010 / Revised: 28 September 2010 / Accepted: 5 October 2010 / Published: 15 October 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of a water project in rural Bolivia, and sought insights on how and why its planning was so flawed. The project destroyed an ancient, sustainable irrigation system, and replaced it with one that provides insufficient [...] Read more.
This study examined environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of a water project in rural Bolivia, and sought insights on how and why its planning was so flawed. The project destroyed an ancient, sustainable irrigation system, and replaced it with one that provides insufficient and diminishing quantities of water to many fewer people, appears to be causing land degradation and groundwater depletion, and has fueled conflicts. The study shows that even relatively small, NGO-led projects can generate significant negative impacts, and raises questions about the pressures on development agencies to charge ahead with projects, despite obvious potential for such impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Depth Profiling (ICP-MS) Study of Toxic Metal Buildup in Concrete Matrices: Potential Environmental Impact
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3258-3269; doi:10.3390/su2103258
Received: 1 September 2010 / Revised: 24 September 2010 / Accepted: 30 September 2010 / Published: 18 October 2010
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Abstract
This paper explores the potential of concrete material to accumulate toxic trace elements using ablative laser technology (ICP-MS). Concrete existing in offshore structures submerged in seawater acts as a sink for hazardous metals, which could be gradually released into the ocean creating [...] Read more.
This paper explores the potential of concrete material to accumulate toxic trace elements using ablative laser technology (ICP-MS). Concrete existing in offshore structures submerged in seawater acts as a sink for hazardous metals, which could be gradually released into the ocean creating pollution and anoxic conditions for marine life. Ablative laser technology is a valuable tool for depth profiling concrete to evaluate the distribution of toxic metals and locate internal areas where such metals accumulate. Upon rapid degradation of concrete these “hotspots” could be suddenly released, thus posing a distinct threat to aquatic life. Our work simulated offshore drilling conditions by immersing concrete blocks in seawater and investigating accumulated toxic trace metals (As, Be, Cd, Hg, Os, Pb) in cored samples by laser ablation. The experimental results showed distinct inhomogeneity in metal distribution. The data suggest that conditions within the concrete structure are favorable for random metal accumulation at certain points. The exact mechanism for this behavior is not clear at this stage and has considerable scope for extended research including modeling and remedial studies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Global Mining and the Uneasy Neoliberalization of Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3270-3290; doi:10.3390/su2103270
Received: 5 September 2010 / Revised: 27 September 2010 / Accepted: 12 October 2010 / Published: 18 October 2010
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As transnational mining firms have sought to position themselves as drivers of sustainable development, a key component of their efforts has been the implementation of social development programs in their areas of operation. This paper situates the expansion of corporate-led development in [...] Read more.
As transnational mining firms have sought to position themselves as drivers of sustainable development, a key component of their efforts has been the implementation of social development programs in their areas of operation. This paper situates the expansion of corporate-led development in the mining sector as part of an ongoing reconfiguration of the frameworks and processes through which mineral production is governed, interpreting such initiatives as illustrative of “roll-out” neoliberalization. Based on an analysis of firm-led development at the Pierina gold mine in Andean Peru, I explore how the mining company has been able to advance a version of sustainability broadly compatible with contemporary large-scale mining. Taking on the role of development agent, however, is not an uncomplicated endeavor in that it has left the firm subject to escalating development claims from nearby populations. In this context, I raise the question of whether the mining industry’s adoption of notions of partnership and participation amounts to a strategy for diffusing responsibility when necessary and deflecting the claims of affected communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Economy and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Cob Construction in Italy: Some Lessons from the Past
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3291-3308; doi:10.3390/su2103291
Received: 10 September 2010 / Revised: 12 October 2010 / Accepted: 14 October 2010 / Published: 21 October 2010
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (884 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Raw earth is a construction material unknown to most people. Nowadays, raw-earth constructions are an area of growing interest, both for rescuing the heritage and for a rediscovered environmentally friendly building and eco-sustainability material. However, because raw-earth constructions are a forgotten technique, [...] Read more.
Raw earth is a construction material unknown to most people. Nowadays, raw-earth constructions are an area of growing interest, both for rescuing the heritage and for a rediscovered environmentally friendly building and eco-sustainability material. However, because raw-earth constructions are a forgotten technique, we find problems of a lack of skilled people at all levels in this area, from designers to masons, as well as problems of how to carry out compatible conservation works on earthen heritage. This paper tries to fill the gap for a peculiar historic earthen building technology, namely cob (or bauge), which is present in Macerata in the center of Italy. Results are presented on regaining possession of the material and constructional aspects and their initial structural resources, and guidelines are given on how to improve the manufacturing process to reuse the cob technique for construction and for how to accurately work on it for a compatible and sustainable conservation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Towards Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3309-3322; doi:10.3390/su2103309
Received: 31 August 2010 / Revised: 19 October 2010 / Accepted: 21 October 2010 / Published: 22 October 2010
Cited by 104 | PDF Full-text (174 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability is nowadays accepted by all stakeholders as a guiding principle for both public policy making and corporate strategies. However, the biggest challenge for most organizations remains in the real and substantial implementation of the sustainability concept. The core of the implementation [...] Read more.
Sustainability is nowadays accepted by all stakeholders as a guiding principle for both public policy making and corporate strategies. However, the biggest challenge for most organizations remains in the real and substantial implementation of the sustainability concept. The core of the implementation challenge is the question, how sustainability performance can be measured, especially for products and processes. This paper explores the current status of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) for products and processes. For the environmental dimension well established tools like Life Cycle Assessment are available. For the economic and social dimension, there is still need for consistent and robust indicators and methods. In addition to measuring the individual sustainability dimensions, another challenge is a comprehensive, yet understandable presentation of the results. The “Life Cycle Sustainability Dashboard” and the “Life Cycle Sustainability Triangle” are presented as examples for communication tools for both experts and non expert stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Nanotechnology: Through Green Methods and Life-Cycle Thinking
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3323-3338; doi:10.3390/su2103323
Received: 10 September 2010 / Revised: 9 October 2010 / Accepted: 18 October 2010 / Published: 25 October 2010
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Citing the myriad applications of nanotechnology, this paper emphasizes the need to conduct “life cycle” based assessments as early in the new product development process as possible, for a better understanding of the potential environmental and human health consequences of nanomaterials over [...] Read more.
Citing the myriad applications of nanotechnology, this paper emphasizes the need to conduct “life cycle” based assessments as early in the new product development process as possible, for a better understanding of the potential environmental and human health consequences of nanomaterials over the entire life cycle of a nano-enabled product. The importance of this reasoning is further reinforced through an illustrative case study on automotive exterior body panels, which shows that the perceived environmental benefits of nano-based products in the Use stage may not adequately represent the complete picture, without examining the impacts in the other life cycle stages, particularly Materials Processing and Manufacturing. Nanomanufacturing methods often have associated environmental and human health impacts, which must be kept in perspective when evaluating nanoproducts for their “greenness.” Incorporating life-cycle thinking for making informed decisions at the product design stage, combining life cycle and risk analysis, using sustainable manufacturing practices, and employing green chemistry alternatives are seen as possible solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Futures)

Review

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Open AccessReview Noah’s Ark or World Wild Web? Cultural Perspectives in Global Scenario Studies and Their Function for Biodiversity Conservation in a Changing World
Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3211-3238; doi:10.3390/su2103211
Received: 1 September 2010 / Revised: 14 September 2010 / Accepted: 8 October 2010 / Published: 14 October 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we review the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Scenarios and their assumptions on biodiversity conservation, using a framework based on the cultural theory (CT) perspectives. We explored an adaptation of the CT typology and [...] Read more.
In this paper, we review the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Scenarios and their assumptions on biodiversity conservation, using a framework based on the cultural theory (CT) perspectives. We explored an adaptation of the CT typology and the significance of some underrepresented worldviews for discussions on conservation in a changing world. The evaluation of the assumptions on biodiversity conservation in the scenario studies and storylines adds to our understanding of the socio-cultural dimensions of biodiversity loss in a changing world. It contributes to an understanding of the worldviews underlying the complex debates on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Making such assumptions and world views explicit will help policymakers and conservationists discuss the diversity of conservation strategies in the face of uncertainty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Futures)
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