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Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 5 (May 2012), Pages 794-1088

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Open AccessArticle Partnering with the Pinoleville Pomo Nation: Co-Design Methodology Case Study for Creating Sustainable, Culturally Inspired Renewable Energy Systems and Infrastructure
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 794-818; doi:10.3390/su4050794
Received: 28 March 2012 / Revised: 11 April 2012 / Accepted: 12 April 2012 / Published: 25 April 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper describes the co-design methodology created by the authors to partner with communities that have historical trauma associated with working with outsiders on projects that involved substantial use of engineering and science—renewable energy technologies, for example—that have not integrated their value [...] Read more.
This paper describes the co-design methodology created by the authors to partner with communities that have historical trauma associated with working with outsiders on projects that involved substantial use of engineering and science—renewable energy technologies, for example—that have not integrated their value system or has been historically denied to them. As a case study, we present the lessons learned from a partnership with the Pinoleville Pomo Nation (PPN) of Ukiah, CA and UC Berkeley’s Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES) team to develop sustainable housing that utilizes sustainability best practices and renewable energy technology as well as reflect the long-standing culture and traditions of the PPN. We also present the Pomo-inspired housing design created by this partnership and illustrate how Native American nations can partner with universities and other academic organizations to utilize engineering expertise to co-design solutions that address the needs of the tribes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Municipal Added Value through Solar Power Systems in the City of Freiburg
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 819-839; doi:10.3390/su4050819
Received: 29 February 2012 / Revised: 5 April 2012 / Accepted: 5 April 2012 / Published: 2 May 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (315 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transformation of the conventional energy system towards renewable energies has entailed an increasing decentralization of energy generation in Germany, as the production units are smaller and draw on regional potentials. This can result in positive socio-economic effects in regions where the [...] Read more.
The transformation of the conventional energy system towards renewable energies has entailed an increasing decentralization of energy generation in Germany, as the production units are smaller and draw on regional potentials. This can result in positive socio-economic effects in regions where the potential is exploited. The focus of this paper lies on evaluating existing methods and developing new ones, which can be used to determine local added value through renewable energy systems. The methods were required to cover direct as well as induced municipal added value effects and to include all steps of the examined value chain. A combination of methods was tested in a case study for the solar power system value chain in the city of Freiburg (ca. 220,000 inhabitants). The added value through this sector in the year 2009 was calculated at 30.8 million euros through direct effects and 6.2 million euros through induced effects. This total municipal added value of 37 million euros can be converted into roughly 1,500 jobs within the city boundaries. Based on some conservative assumptions, these numbers should be considered as minimum values. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sticks and Stones: The Impact of the Definitions of Brownfield in Policies on Socio-Economic Sustainability
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 840-862; doi:10.3390/su4050840
Received: 15 February 2012 / Revised: 19 April 2012 / Accepted: 24 April 2012 / Published: 3 May 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many countries encourage brownfield regeneration as a means of sustainable development but define “brownfield” differently. Specifically, the definitions of brownfield in the regeneration policies of countries with higher population densities usually promote recycling land that is previously developed, whether or not there [...] Read more.
Many countries encourage brownfield regeneration as a means of sustainable development but define “brownfield” differently. Specifically, the definitions of brownfield in the regeneration policies of countries with higher population densities usually promote recycling land that is previously developed, whether or not there is chemical contamination. Further, the de facto definition of brownfield used by the UK government focuses on previously developed land that is unused or underused. The ANOVA in this study revealed that local authorities in England (n = 296) with higher percentages of derelict and vacant land tended to be more deprived based on the English Indices of Multiple Deprivation, which evaluate deprivation from the aspects of income, employment, health, education, housing, crime, and living environment. However, the percentage of previously developed land in use but with further development potential had no significant effect on the deprivation conditions. The Blair-Brown Government (1997~2010) encouraged more than 60% of new dwellings to be established on the previously developed land in England. The analyses in this study showed that this target, combined with the definition of brownfield in the policy, may have facilitated higher densities of residential development on previously developed land but without addressing the deprivation problems. These observations indicate that a definition of brownfield in regeneration policies should focus on previously developed land that is now vacant or derelict if land recycling is to contribute to sustainable communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Regeneration and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Downscaling of Short-Term Precipitation from Regional Climate Models for Sustainable Urban Planning
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 866-887; doi:10.3390/su4050866
Received: 26 March 2012 / Revised: 23 April 2012 / Accepted: 24 April 2012 / Published: 4 May 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A framework for downscaling precipitation from RCM projections to the high resolutions in time and space required in the urban hydrological climate change impact assessment is outlined and demonstrated. The basic approach is that of Delta Change, developed for both continuous and [...] Read more.
A framework for downscaling precipitation from RCM projections to the high resolutions in time and space required in the urban hydrological climate change impact assessment is outlined and demonstrated. The basic approach is that of Delta Change, developed for both continuous and event-based applications. In both cases, Delta Change Factors (DCFs) are calculated which represent the expected future change of some key precipitation statistics. In the continuous case, short-term precipitation from climate projections are analysed in order to estimate DCFs associated with different percentiles in the frequency distribution of non-zero intensities. The DCFs may then be applied to an observed time series, producing a realisation of a future time series. The event-based case involves downscaling of Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves based on extreme value analysis of annual maxima using the Gumbel distribution. The resulting DCFs are expressed as a function of duration and frequency (i.e., return period) and may be used to estimate future design storms. The applications are demonstrated in case studies focusing on the expected changes in short-term precipitation statistics until 2100 in the cities of Linz (Austria) and Wuppertal (Germany). The downscaling framework is implemented in the climate service developed within the EU-project SUDPLAN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Flood Risk Management)
Open AccessArticle The Integration of Energy Conservation into the Political Goal of Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency—A German Case Study Based on a Longitudinal Reconstruction
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 888-916; doi:10.3390/su4050888
Received: 10 March 2012 / Revised: 14 April 2012 / Accepted: 17 April 2012 / Published: 4 May 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (365 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many local governments in Germany aim to reach Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency (RESS) in their municipalities. In this context, ambitious time horizons for reaching this goal make it necessary to address the question of how less absolute energy can be consumed. The topic [...] Read more.
Many local governments in Germany aim to reach Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency (RESS) in their municipalities. In this context, ambitious time horizons for reaching this goal make it necessary to address the question of how less absolute energy can be consumed. The topic of energy conservation in scientific literature is very controversially discussed and in fact it is not clear which measures in the long term contribute to real reductions in energy demand. Therefore, in this paper, we do not determine how energy conservation should be achieved. Instead, we reconstruct, through an inductive longitudinal study, why energy conservation was integrated into the general principles of a municipality that wished to reach “RESS” by the year 2020 and considerably reduce energy demand. At the same time, we looked at the question of how energy conservation was conceptualized by local actors and which strategies, instruments, and activities were used to reach the goal. We found that environmentally concerned citizens brought the idea of energy conservation into the political arena. However, it was not until energy prices rose, regulations developed on a national level, subsidies for energy conservation emerged, and actions addressing the issue were seen by many local actors as adding value to the unique character the municipality gained by their RESS activities, that the actual subject was considered relevant in the municipality. Full article
Open AccessArticle Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change: Economic Damages from Land-Falling Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf States of the USA, 1900–2005
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 917-932; doi:10.3390/su4050917
Received: 1 February 2012 / Revised: 25 April 2012 / Accepted: 25 April 2012 / Published: 7 May 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (995 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing [...] Read more.
Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing densities and agricultural cover in coastal (and adjacent inland) areas vulnerable to hurricane damages in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal regions of the U.S. Time series regressions, especially Prais-Winston and Autoregressive Moving Average (ARMA) models, are estimated to forecast the economic impacts of hurricanes of varying intensity, given that various patterns of land use emerge in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal states of the U.S. The Prais-Winston and ARMA models use observed time series data from 1900 to 2005 for inflation adjusted hurricane damages and socio-economic and land-use data in the coastal or inland regions where hurricanes caused those damages. The results from this study provide evidence that increases in housing density and agricultural cover cause significant rise in the de-trended inflation-adjusted damages. Further, higher intensity and frequency of land-falling hurricanes also significantly increase the economic damages. The evidence from this study implies that a medium to long term land use adaptation in the form of capping housing density and agricultural cover in the coastal (and adjacent inland) states can significantly reduce economic damages from intense hurricanes. Future studies must compare the benefits of such land use adaptation policies against the costs of development controls implied in housing density caps and agricultural land cover reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle A Thermodynamically Correct Treatment of Externalities with an Exergy-Based Numeraire
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 933-957; doi:10.3390/su4050933
Received: 26 February 2012 / Revised: 25 March 2012 / Accepted: 19 April 2012 / Published: 7 May 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (854 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The concept of “sustainable development” implies that the environmental externalities unavoidably generated by human activities be reduced to a minimum: In fact, the very definition of “sustainability” leads—as it will be briefly discussed in the paper—to a physically measurable upper limit for [...] Read more.
The concept of “sustainable development” implies that the environmental externalities unavoidably generated by human activities be reduced to a minimum: In fact, the very definition of “sustainability” leads—as it will be briefly discussed in the paper—to a physically measurable upper limit for untreated discharges. Since the current state of affairs on Earth is far from being sustainable, any proposal for a future scenario that is not substantiated by an accurate assessment of the effects of the environmental externalities is devoid of real sense and ought not to be pursued. The present paper illustrates the application of Extended Exergy Accounting (EEA) to the quantification of such externalities. The exergy flow diagrams of EEA include non-material and non-energetic production factors like labor, and capital and environmental remediation costs, providing a quantitative measure of the amount of primary resources that are cumulatively used in the production of a good or service, and it is shown to provide a wealth of quantitative information to energy managers and planners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Sustainable Management)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Future Impacts of Environmental Constraints on Human Development
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 958-994; doi:10.3390/su4050958
Received: 20 February 2012 / Revised: 17 March 2012 / Accepted: 26 April 2012 / Published: 10 May 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (392 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Environmental constraints have always had, and will always have, important consequences for human development. They have sometimes contributed to, or even caused, the reversal of such development. The possibility that such constraints, including climate change, will grow significantly this century raises the [...] Read more.
Environmental constraints have always had, and will always have, important consequences for human development. They have sometimes contributed to, or even caused, the reversal of such development. The possibility that such constraints, including climate change, will grow significantly this century raises the concern that the very significant advances in human development across most of the world in recent decades will slow or even reverse. We use the International Futures (IFs) integrated forecasting system to explore three scenarios: a Base Case scenario, an Environmental Challenge scenario, and an Environmental Disaster scenario. Our purpose is to consider the impact of different aspects and levels of environmental constraint on the course of future human development. Using the Human Development Index (HDI) and its separate components as our key measures of development, we find that environmental constraints could indeed greatly slow progress and even, in disastrous conditions, begin to reverse it. Least developed countries are most vulnerable in relative terms, while middle-income countries can suffer the greatest absolute impact of constraints, and more developed countries are most resilient. Education’s advance is the aspect of development tapped by the HDI that is most likely to continue even in the face of tightening environmental constraints, and that is one reason why human development shows great momentum even in the face of environmental challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Socioeconomic and Political Outcomes of Global Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Key Performance Characteristics of Organic Shrimp Aquaculture in Southwest Bangladesh
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 995-1012; doi:10.3390/su4050995
Received: 16 April 2012 / Revised: 2 May 2012 / Accepted: 3 May 2012 / Published: 14 May 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (587 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Bangladesh, black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon; Fabricius, 1798) aquaculture has come to be one of the most important sectors in both the rural and national economies. Likewise, organic shrimp aquaculture has emerged as an alternative farming enterprise for farmers [...] Read more.
In Bangladesh, black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon; Fabricius, 1798) aquaculture has come to be one of the most important sectors in both the rural and national economies. Likewise, organic shrimp aquaculture has emerged as an alternative farming enterprise for farmers especially in the southwestern districts of Bangladesh. The present study aims to show key performance characteristics of organic shrimp farmers and farming in a prototypical shrimp farming area in Bangladesh. Data was collected in 2009 from organic shrimp farmers in the Kaligonj and Shyamnagar sub-districts through questionnaire interviews, transect walks and focus group discussions. The mean productivity of organic shrimp farming in the area is 320 kg ha−1 yr−1 (ranging from 120 to 711 kg ha−1year−1). Organic farmers are more likely to have a higher monthly income and less aquaculture experience. Moreover, suitable landholdings and classified labor distribution have been found to play an important role in the development of organic shrimp aquaculture. The most common assets of organic shrimp aquaculture are high yield, low production cost, available post larvae and high market prices. Small business farmers are likely to earn more income benefits from organic shrimp aquaculture than their larger-scale counterparts. Finally, the paper suggests that more research is needed to stimulate the success of organic shrimp aquaculture. Full article
Open AccessArticle The System Dynamics of U.S. Automobile Fuel Economy
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 1013-1042; doi:10.3390/su4051013
Received: 2 April 2012 / Revised: 24 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 May 2012 / Published: 18 May 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1227 KB) | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes the dynamics of U.S. automobile gasoline consumption since 1975. Using background literature on the history of domestic fuel economy and energy policy, I establish a conceptual model that explains historical trends in adoption of increased fuel economy. I then [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the dynamics of U.S. automobile gasoline consumption since 1975. Using background literature on the history of domestic fuel economy and energy policy, I establish a conceptual model that explains historical trends in adoption of increased fuel economy. I then create a system dynamics simulation model to understand the relationship between increased fuel economy standards and potential changes to gas tax policies. The model suggests that when increases in mandated fuel economy are not conducted in an environment with rising fuel costs, fuel economy improvements may be directly counteracted by shifting tastes of consumers towards larger automobiles with lower fuel economy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transformation of an Industrial Brownfield into an Ecological Buffer for Michigan’s Only Ramsar Wetland of International Importance
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 1043-1058; doi:10.3390/su4051043
Received: 29 March 2012 / Revised: 24 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 May 2012 / Published: 18 May 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge spans 77 km along the Detroit River and western Lake Erie, and is the only unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that is international. A key unit of the refuge is the 166-ha Humbug Marsh [...] Read more.
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge spans 77 km along the Detroit River and western Lake Erie, and is the only unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that is international. A key unit of the refuge is the 166-ha Humbug Marsh that represents the last kilometer of natural shoreline on the U.S. mainland of the river and Michigan’s only “Wetland of International Importance” designated under the 1971 International Ramsar Convention. Adjacent to Humbug Marsh is an 18-ha former industrial manufacturing site (now called the Refuge Gateway) that is being remediated and restored as an ecological buffer for Humbug Marsh and the future home of the refuge’s visitor center. Restoration and redevelopment activities have included: cleanup and capping of contaminated lands; daylighting a creek (i.e., deliberately exposing the flow of a creek that was historically placed underground in a culvert) and constructing a retention pond and emergent wetland to treat storm water prior to discharge to the Detroit River; restoring coastal wetland, riparian buffer, and upland habitats; and constructing two roads, hiking/biking trails, and a kayak/canoe landing to offer wildlife-compatible public uses that allow visitors to experience this internationally-recognized natural resource. This project has been described as transformational for the region by restoring an industrial brownfield into high quality wildlife habitat that expands the ecological buffer of a Ramsar site. Specific restoration targets for the site include: achieving a net gain of 6.5 ha of wetlands in a river that has lost 97% of its coastal wetlands to development; restoring 10.1 ha of upland buffer habitat; treating invasive Phragmites along 4 km of shoreline; and treatment of invasive plant species in 20.2 ha of upland habitats in Humbug Marsh. Further, the Refuge Gateway is being restored as a model of environmental sustainability for nearly seven million residents within a 45-minute drive. Key lessons learned include: reach broad-based agreement on a sustainability vision; identify and involve a key champion; establish core project delivery team; ensure up-front involvement of regulatory agencies; recruit and meaningfully involve many partners; expect the unexpected; practice adaptive management; place a priority on sound science-based decision making; ensure decision-making transparency; measure and celebrate successes, including benefits; and place a high priority on education and outreach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle When Should We Care About Sustainability? Applying Human Security as the Decisive Criterion
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 1059-1073; doi:10.3390/su4051059
Received: 14 February 2012 / Revised: 12 April 2012 / Accepted: 12 May 2012 / Published: 22 May 2012
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Abstract
It seems intuitively clear that not all human endeavours warrant equal concern over the extent of their sustainability. This raises the question about what criteria might best serve for their prioritisation. We refute, on empirical and theoretical grounds, the counterclaim that sustainability [...] Read more.
It seems intuitively clear that not all human endeavours warrant equal concern over the extent of their sustainability. This raises the question about what criteria might best serve for their prioritisation. We refute, on empirical and theoretical grounds, the counterclaim that sustainability should be of no concern regardless of the circumstances. Human security can serve as a source of criteria that are both widely shared and can be assessed in a reasonably objective manner. Using established classifications, we explore how four forms of sustainability (environmental, economic, social, and cultural) relate to the four pillars of human security (environmental, economic, sociopolitical, and health-related). Our findings, based on probable correlations, suggest that the criteria of human security allow for a reliable discrimination between relatively trivial incidences of unsustainable behavior and those that warrant widely shared serious concern. They also confirm that certain sources of human insecurity, such as poverty or violent conflict, tend to perpetuate unsustainable behavior, a useful consideration for the design of development initiatives. Considering that human security enjoys wide and increasing political support among the international community, it is to be hoped that by publicizing the close correlation between human security and sustainability greater attention will be paid to the latter and to its careful definition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Remote Sensing Images to Detect Soy Plantations in the Amazon Biome—The Soy Moratorium Initiative
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 1074-1088; doi:10.3390/su4051074
Received: 20 February 2012 / Revised: 15 May 2012 / Accepted: 16 May 2012 / Published: 23 May 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1942 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Soy Moratorium is an initiative to reduce deforestation rates in the Amazon biome based on the hypothesis that soy is a deforestation driver. Soy planted in opened areas after July 24th, 2006 cannot be commercialized by the associated companies to the [...] Read more.
The Soy Moratorium is an initiative to reduce deforestation rates in the Amazon biome based on the hypothesis that soy is a deforestation driver. Soy planted in opened areas after July 24th, 2006 cannot be commercialized by the associated companies to the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE) and the National Association of Cereal Exporters (ANEC), which represent about 90% of the Brazilian soy market. The objective of this work is to present the evaluation of the fourth year of monitoring new soy plantations within the Soy Moratorium context. With the use of satellite images from the MODIS sensor, together with aerial survey, it was possible to identify 147 polygons with new soy plantations on 11,698 ha. This soy area represents 0.39% of the of the total deforested area during the moratorium, in the three soy producing states of the Amazon biome, and 0.6% of the cultivated soy area in the Amazon biome, indicating that soy is currently a minor deforestation driver. The quantitative geospatial information provided by an effective monitoring approach is paramount to the implementation of a governance process required to establish an equitable balance between environmental protection and agricultural production. Full article
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Open AccessBook Review Environmental Literacy in Science and Society: From Knowledge to Decisions. By Roland W. Scholz. Cambridge University Press: New York, USA, 2011; Hardback, 631 pp; ISBN 978-0-521-19271-2; Paperback, ISBN 978-0-521-18333-8
Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 863-865; doi:10.3390/su4050863
Received: 26 April 2012 / Accepted: 27 April 2012 / Published: 3 May 2012
PDF Full-text (125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The book Environmental Literacy in Science and Society contributes to the scientific understanding and sustainability-oriented management of Human–Environment Systems (HES) based on processes of transdisciplinarity and mutual learning. It presents a historical analysis, and modern explanations, of crucial concepts and developments regarding [...] Read more.
The book Environmental Literacy in Science and Society contributes to the scientific understanding and sustainability-oriented management of Human–Environment Systems (HES) based on processes of transdisciplinarity and mutual learning. It presents a historical analysis, and modern explanations, of crucial concepts and developments regarding environmental literacy in science and society. In addition, it presents an original framework for the analysis of HES in which these are seen as inextricably coupled transactional systems. This framework is applied in the book to sustainability learning and decision making in real-world problem-solving processes with respect to complex, ill-defined problems that pose threads to the balance of certain aspects of HES or to the anthroposphere as a whole. [...] Full article

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