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Sandy Astrid Medina Valdivia

Regions & Cohesion is proud to present three photographs by Sandy Astrid Medina Valdivia that describe her research visit to a fishing community in the State of Guerrero in Southern Mexico. “El Veinte” is self-named “a community of fishermen and fisherwomen,” which is well recognized in the region. For more than 50 years they have forged a close relationship with the Laguna de Nuxco coastal wetland, as this has provided them with various survival benefits. These images reflect the livelihood of the community: their fishing activity, which in fact represents their major economic income immersed in a sustainable relationship with the environment that shapes their way of life.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

June 5 is World Environment Day, also known as Eco-day. It is an environmental awareness day run by the United Nations (UN). Of course, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, also run by the UN, now dominates our discussions of sustainability in global affairs. However, localized visions of sustainable development continue to thrive. These development models are based on local movements that include a variety of actors with concrete grievances and focused visions for the futures of their communities. These movements and visions are relevant for World Environment Day because they reflect the spirit of this initiative through grassroots activities.

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Suzanne Graham and Victoria Graham

English abstract: Apart from Mauritius, five of the six African small island developing States (ASIDS) are relatively new to democracy with several only transitioning from one-party states to multiparty states in the early 1990s. Goals 13 and 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are priority goals for the ASIDS. Given that one of the key tests of a healthy democracy is the depth of civil society, this article seeks to examine the quality of political participation in the ASIDS in relation to these two priority SDGs. In so doing, this article considers conventional and nonconventional forms of participation and the potential impact these different avenues for a public “voice” might or might not have on the ASIDS’ government management of climate change and marine resources.

Spanish abstract: Excepto Mauritius, los otros cinco pequeños estados insulares africanos en desarrollo (ASIDS en inglés) recién incursionan en la democracia; algunos de ellos transitan de estados con un solo partido a estados múlti-partidistas a principios de los años noventa. Los objetivos 13 y 14 de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sustentable (ODS) son prioritarios para los ASIDS. Considerando que una prueba de democracia sana es una sociedad civil robusta, este artículo examina la calidad de la participación política en los ASIDS en relación con estos dos ODS. El artículo considera las formas convencionales y no convencionales de participación y el impacto potencial que estas distintas vías de “voz” pública pueda tener en el manejo del cambio climático y los recursos marinos de las ASIDS.

French abstract: A l’exception de l’île Maurice, cinq des six petits états îles en dévelopement (PEID) d’Afrique sont relativement nouveaux en matière de démocratie dans la mesure où certains ont uniquement transité du parti unique au multipartisme au début des années 90. Treize des quatorze ODD sont prioritaires pour les PEID. En partant du constat qu’une des preuves clefs d’une démocratie saine réside dans l’amplitude de la société civile, cet article cherche à examiner la qualité de la participation politique dans les PEID en relation avec deux ODD prioritaires. Ainsi, l’article considère des formes de participation conventionnelles et non conventionnelles ainsi que leur impact potentiel sur une expression publique en particulier, à savoir l’existence d’une gestion gouvernementale des PEID d’Afrique en matière de changement climatique et de ressources marines.

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The Relocation of Transcendence

Using Schutz to Conceptualize the Nature Experiences of Secular People

David Thurfjell, Cecilie Rubow, Atko Remmel, and Henrik Ohlsson

Denmark, Estonia, and Sweden are, if measured by certain sociological criteria, considered to be three of the world’s most secular countries. Nature—forests, pristine beaches, and the countryside—plays a specific role in the allegedly secular discourse of the mainstream populations of these nations. Not only is it almost without exception deemed as a positive asset worthy of protection, it is also thought of as holding certain existential qualities. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, this article suggests that Alfred Schutz’s conceptualization of transcendence—further developed by Thomas Luckmann—can be used to describe the existential experiences in nature of contemporary secular people. The article results in a suggestion for an operational definition of transcendence.

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Research in the Dark

Explorations into the Societal Effects of Light and Darkness

Nona Schulte-Römer

Edensor, Tim. 2017. From Light to Dark: Daylight, Illumination, and Gloom. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Bille, Mikkel. 2019. Homely Atmospheres and Lighting Technologies in Denmark: Living with Light. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

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Ehsan Nouzari, Thomas Hartmann, and Tejo Spit

The underground provides many spatial planning opportunities as it offers space for structures, but also functions as a resource for energy. To guide developments and use the capabilities the underground provides, the Dutch national government started a policy process for the Structuurvisie Ondergrond (a master plan). Stakeholders are involved in the policy process because of the many interests linked to underground functions. However, past policy processes related to the underground dealt with lack of stakeholder satisfaction. This article explores a quantitative approach by focusing on (a) statistical testing of four criteria of interactive governance and (b) using said criteria to evaluate the satisfaction of stakeholders in a policy process. This article highlights the usefulness of a more quantitative approach and provides new insights into the relation between interactive governance and the procedural satisfaction of stakeholders. It also provides insights that help to improve interactive governance in terms of process management to achieve greater procedural satisfaction.

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Water Use and User Attitudes

Common-Pool Resources and Longitudinal Change in a Brazilian Community

John Marr Ditty and Maria Eugênia Totti

Common-pool resources (CPRs) are subtractable resources that are physically or institutionally available for many users. The present study sought primary participant observation and focus group data on a Brazilian CPR-dependent community. It analyzes this data through the lens of CPR theory to assess ongoing local natural resource management efforts against longitudinal changes related to large-scale state and private development projects. The findings indicate that real or perceived changes related to the resources, technology, human populations, and decision-making processes in the study area have disrupted social arrangements and resulted in natural resource degradation. The article argues that, in order to achieve sustainability objectives, CPR-guided policy formulation must consider the social embeddedness of community-based actors and resources within their wider historical and social contexts, as well as user attitudes and relations among shifting conditions on multiple scales.

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Agony and the Anthropos

Democracy and Boundaries in the Anthropocene

Amanda Machin

The Anthropocene diagnosis, in which humanity has become a disruptive geological force, indicates an irresolvable political paradox. The political demos is inevitably and necessarily bounded. The Anthropocene, however, heralds the anthropos—the globalized more-than-human identity. The anthropos challenges the maintenance of political boundaries, yet any robust response to ecological predicament must be underpinned by a decisive demos. This article, informed by theories of political agonism, suggests that this paradox importantly provokes ongoing political contestation of the inevitable yet contingent exclusions from politics and the proper place of political boundaries in the Anthropocene. The article concludes that the Anthropocene diagnosis provides an opportunity for a lively democratic politics in which the demos is always prompted to reimagine itself and asks, who are “we” in the Anthropocene?

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Gonzalo Hatch Kuri, José Joel Carrillo Rivera, and Rafael Huizar Álvarez

*Full article is in Spanish

English abstract: A binational hydrogeological evaluation of four US-Mexico transboundary aquifers was recently completed, including the San Pedro River aquifer. A thorough and critical review of the final report indicates close cooperation, but little seems to have been achieved on many scientific, technical, legal and political aspects, which are essential for the comprehensive assessment of transboundary groundwater. This article provides a critical analysis of the scientific and political implications of the evaluation of the aquifer from an interdisciplinary approach (political geography and hydrogeology). It concludes that for the prevention of the conflict and the strengthening of the incipient hydrogeological evaluation schemes, it is necessary to strengthen the conceptualization and systemic vision of groundwater functions, monitoring and the homologation and exchange of data for the cross-border management of the aquifer.

Spanish abstract: Recientemente, se concluyó la evaluación hidrogeológica binacional de cuatro acuíferos transfronterizos Estados Unidos-México, entre ellos el Acuífero Río San Pedro. Una revisión exhaustiva y crítica del reporte final indica un trabajo de cooperación cercana, no obstante, parece haberse logrado poco con respecto a los aspectos científicos y políticos, ambos imprescindibles en la evaluación de los acuíferos transfronterizos. Este artículo provee, desde un enfoque interdisciplinario (Geografía Política e Hidrogeología), un análisis crítico de las implicaciones científicas y políticas de los resultados de la evaluación del acuífero. Se concluye que, para prevenir el conflicto y fortalecer la evaluación hidrogeológica, es necesario robustecer la conceptualización y visión sistémica del agua subterránea, su monitoreo y la homologación e intercambio de datos para el manejo transfronterizo del acuífero.

French abstract: L’évaluation hydrogéologique binationale de quatre aquifères transfrontaliers États-Unis et le Mexique, dont l’aquifère de la Rivière San Pedro, a été récemment effectuée. Le rapport final révèle un travail de coopération qui n’a cependant pas permis de déclencher des retombées scientifiques, techniques, légales et politiques, éléments essentiels pour l’évaluation des aquifères transfrontaliers. L’article propose, à partir d’une approche interdisciplinaire (géographie politique et hydrogéologie), une analyse critique des implications scientifiques et politiques découlant des résultats de l’évaluation de l’aquifère. Il conclut que pour la prévention du conflit et le renforcement de l’évaluation hydrogéologique, il est nécessaire de renforcer la conceptualisation systémique des eaux souterraines, leur surveillance, l’homologation et l’échange de données pour favoriser la prise de décision en la matière.

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Health diplomacy

For whom? By whom? For what?

Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

English abstract: This article explores the role of health diplomacy in promoting the right to health. It first looks at the historical trajectory of the right to health as it evolves and intersects with state and human and health security. Second, it analyzes the definitions and roles of health diplomacy. It argues that health diplomacy is undergoing a cycle of (re)invention and innovation, bringing in both new and traditional actors. Yet it points out a gap in the subject of health diplomacy, asking what is the right to health, and what does its definition mean for the (changing) role of health diplomacy? It concludes by offering initial insight into what health diplomacy might be in the nearer future.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo explora el papel de la diplomacia de salud en la promoción del derecho a la salud. En primer lugar, examina la trayectoria histórica del derecho a la salud, cómo evoluciona y se cruza con la seguridad estatal, humana y sanitaria. En segundo lugar, analiza las definiciones y funciones de la diplomacia de salud. Sostiene que la diplomacia de salud está atravesando un ciclo de (re)invención e innovación, atrayendo a actores nuevos y tradicionales. Sin embargo, señala una laguna en la diplomacia de salud, al preguntarse qué es el derecho a la salud, y qué significa su definición para el papel (cambiante) de la diplomacia de salud. Concluye ofreciendo una visión inicial de lo que podría ser la diplomacia de salud en un futuro próximo.

French abstract: Cet article explore le rôle de la diplomatie de la santé dans la promotion du droit à la santé. Il examine d’abord la trajectoire historique du droit à la santé, son évolution et son intersection avec la sécurité étatique, humaine et de la santé. Il analyse ensuite les défintions et les fonctions de la diplomatie de la santé. Il soutient que la diplomatie de la santé traverse un cycle de (ré)invention et d’innovation en attirant des acteurs nouveaux et traditionnels. Cependant il signale une lacune dans la diplomatie de la santé en posant la question de ce qu’est le droit à la santé, et de ce que sa définition signifie pour le rôle (changeant) de la diplomatie de la santé. Il conclut en proposant une vision preliminaire de ce que pourrait être la diplomatie de la santé dans un futur prôche.