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Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 1 (January 2012), Pages 1-153

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Research

Open AccessArticle The What, Who, and How of Ecological Action Space
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 1-16; doi:10.3390/su4010001
Received: 12 October 2011 / Revised: 28 November 2011 / Accepted: 13 December 2011 / Published: 28 December 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This text presents an analytical concept which is aimed at analysis of the construction of environmental responsibility—ecological action space. The concept makes it possible to analyze what environmental activities householders perform, who takes on the environmental responsibility, and how they motivate and [...] Read more.
This text presents an analytical concept which is aimed at analysis of the construction of environmental responsibility—ecological action space. The concept makes it possible to analyze what environmental activities householders perform, who takes on the environmental responsibility, and how they motivate and justify everyday practices in relation to other actors. The concept builds on structuration theory, and is useful in studies of sustainable development in everyday life, and in investigations about how actors perceive their role in creating and solving environmental problems, and what actions they take in light of this. The concept should be used for empirical rather than normative studies. Relevant questions for a study about ecological action space are: What activities are considered environmentally friendly? How do the actors conceive of their opportunities to act in environmentally friendly ways and what constraints do they express? These questions are relevant not just for outspoken activists. When promoting increased participation, it is valuable to discuss when, where and how people are expected to get involved. Full article
Open AccessArticle National Sustainability Outreach Assessment Based on Human and Social Capital: The Case of Environmental Sciences in Switzerland
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 17-41; doi:10.3390/su4010017
Received: 11 October 2011 / Revised: 21 November 2011 / Accepted: 12 December 2011 / Published: 28 December 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports on a sustainability outreach study based on an assessment of human and social capital. The aim was to capture the national sustainability outreach of twenty years of Environmental Sciences education, centered at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) [...] Read more.
This paper reports on a sustainability outreach study based on an assessment of human and social capital. The aim was to capture the national sustainability outreach of twenty years of Environmental Sciences education, centered at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. The study contained two lines of research, one being a human capital assessment with a survey among graduates from the years 1992 to 2005 (n = 542) and the other being a social capital analysis based on interviews with institutions that represent the Swiss social systems of economy, politics/public administration and civil society (20 institutions). Our analyses reveal several functional forms of both human capital (specialists, pioneers, leaders) and social capital (qualification profile, internalization, networks, standardization, professionalization) that trigger and channel sustainability outreach. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Emerging Global Tourism Geography—An Environmental Sustainability Perspective
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 42-71; doi:10.3390/su4010042
Received: 17 November 2011 / Revised: 13 December 2011 / Accepted: 13 December 2011 / Published: 28 December 2011
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (9129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current development of tourism is environmentally unsustainable. Specifically, tourism’s contribution to climate change is increasing while other sectors are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. This paper has two goals: reveal the main structural cause for tourism’s emission growth and show the [...] Read more.
The current development of tourism is environmentally unsustainable. Specifically, tourism’s contribution to climate change is increasing while other sectors are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. This paper has two goals: reveal the main structural cause for tourism’s emission growth and show the consequences thereof for (mitigation) policies. It is reasoned that the main cause for tourism’s strong emission growth is the time-space expansion of global tourism behavior. Contemporary tourism theory and geography fail to clearly describe this geographical development, making it difficult to understand this expansion and develop effective policies to mitigate environmental impacts. Therefore, this paper explores some elements of a ‘new tourism geography’ and shows how this may help to better understand the causes of the environmentally unsustainable development of tourism with respect to climate change and devise mitigation policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates and Challenges)
Open AccessArticle On a Vision to Educating Students in Sustainability and Design—The James Madison University School of Engineering Approach
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 72-91; doi:10.3390/su4010072
Received: 14 November 2011 / Revised: 22 December 2011 / Accepted: 23 December 2011 / Published: 29 December 2011
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (864 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order for our future engineers to be able to work toward a sustainable future, they must be versed not only in sustainable engineering but also in engineering design. An engineering education must train our future engineers to think flexibly and to [...] Read more.
In order for our future engineers to be able to work toward a sustainable future, they must be versed not only in sustainable engineering but also in engineering design. An engineering education must train our future engineers to think flexibly and to be adaptive, as it is unlikely that their future will have them working in one domain. They must, instead, be versatilists. The School of Engineering at James Madison University has been developed from the ground up to provide this engineering training with an emphasis on engineering design, systems thinking, and sustainability. Neither design nor sustainability are mutually exclusive, and consequently, an education focusing on design and sustainability must integrate these topics, teaching students to follow a sustainable design process. This is the goal of the James Madison University School of Engineering. In this paper, we present our approach to curricular integration of design and sustainability as well as the pedagogical approaches used throughout the curriculum. We do not mean to present the School’s model as an all or nothing approach consisting of dependent elements, but instead as a collection of independent approaches, of which one or more may be appropriate at another university. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Sustainable Ethanol Distillation System
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 92-105; doi:10.3390/su4010092
Received: 2 November 2011 / Revised: 19 December 2011 / Accepted: 20 December 2011 / Published: 4 January 2012
PDF Full-text (741 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The discarded fruit and vegetable waste from the consumer and retailer sectors provide a reliable source for ethanol production. In this paper, an ethanol distillation system has been developed to remove the water contents from the original wash that contains only around [...] Read more.
The discarded fruit and vegetable waste from the consumer and retailer sectors provide a reliable source for ethanol production. In this paper, an ethanol distillation system has been developed to remove the water contents from the original wash that contains only around 15% of the ethanol. The system has an ethanol production capacity of over 100,000 liters per day. It includes an ethanol condenser, a wash pre-heater, a main exhaust heat exchanger as well as a fractionating column. One unique characteristic of this system is that it utilizes the waste heat rejected from a power plant to vaporize the ethanol, thus it saves a significant amount of energy and at the same time reduces the pollution to the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Manufacturing)
Open AccessArticle Intergenerational Justice: How Reasonable Man Discounts Climate Damage
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 106-122; doi:10.3390/su4010106
Received: 26 October 2011 / Revised: 14 December 2011 / Accepted: 31 December 2011 / Published: 5 January 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (81 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Moral philosophers and economists have evaluated the intergenerational problem of climate change by applying the whole gamut of theories on distributive justice. In this article, however, it is argued that intergenerational justice cannot imply the application of moral ideal theories to future [...] Read more.
Moral philosophers and economists have evaluated the intergenerational problem of climate change by applying the whole gamut of theories on distributive justice. In this article, however, it is argued that intergenerational justice cannot imply the application of moral ideal theories to future generations. The formal principle of equality simply requires us to treat like cases as like. If intergenerational justice is to have any meaning, it would require future generations to receive the same treatment under the law and the same treatment from the authorities, as far as cases are like. In the context of climate change, the reasonable man standard from tort law is of particular relevance. There is no justification to handle pollution across generational boundaries according to norms which differ from the (international) laws for handling pollution across national borders. It is argued that this implies, for example, that a zero social rate of time preference should be used in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy: climate damage experienced by future generations should be discounted neither for their higher expected wealth, nor purely for their being remote. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Policy on Climate Equity)
Open AccessArticle Ecotourism versus Mass Tourism. A Comparison of Environmental Impacts Based on Ecological Footprint Analysis
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 123-140; doi:10.3390/su4010123
Received: 11 October 2011 / Revised: 12 December 2011 / Accepted: 14 December 2011 / Published: 10 January 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (240 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Academic and policy interest in ecological footprint analysis has grown rapidly in recent years. To date, however, the application of ecological footprint analysis to tourism has been limited. This article aims to discuss the potential of ecological footprint analysis to assess sustainability [...] Read more.
Academic and policy interest in ecological footprint analysis has grown rapidly in recent years. To date, however, the application of ecological footprint analysis to tourism has been limited. This article aims to discuss the potential of ecological footprint analysis to assess sustainability in tourism. It is about a comparison of the global environmental impacts of different forms of tourism in southern countries where tourism is a major source of foreign exchange earnings. It illustrates how an ecotourism destination has a larger ecological footprint than a “mass” tourism destination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates and Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable and Integrated Development—A Critical Analysis
Sustainability 2012, 4(1), 141-153; doi:10.3390/su4010141
Received: 12 September 2011 / Revised: 2 January 2012 / Accepted: 3 January 2012 / Published: 12 January 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (430 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The words “Sustainable Development” are frequently used by very lightly, to the extent that they have lost their meaning. There is a presumption that for any perspective analysis or any development proposal, these two words are the most appropriate. Sustainability has been [...] Read more.
The words “Sustainable Development” are frequently used by very lightly, to the extent that they have lost their meaning. There is a presumption that for any perspective analysis or any development proposal, these two words are the most appropriate. Sustainability has been incorporated in the objectives of many studies. The historical model of industrialized societies in the 19th and 20th centuries served as the central notion of what constitutes development in both the cost-effectiveness and equity perspectives. According to some analysts, this path represents the model for global prosperity. However, a number of growing parallel literatures recognize the importance of diverse development pathways in achieving an environmentally and socio-economically better world. The term sustainable development does not bring forward all aspects of development. A new term that incorporates the wellbeing of all citizens through economic development and the preservation of the environment is needed. A “Worth-living Integrated Development” could be a term that combines economic development, social development and environmental protection. A Worth-living Integrated Development may be achieved only when human societies decide to create necessary presuppositions—at the educational, research, economic, social, political, technical/technological and environmental levels—for a better world, based on the human values of peace, justice, solidarity, political, economic and social democracy and ethics, respect for nature and for the variety of cultures of all human beings. Full article

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