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Environmental Sustainability as Indicator of Social Quality

The New Opportunities Offered by Communication

Renato Fontana and Martina Ferrucci

Compared to the European scenario that emerged from the analysis of Eurobarometer (2011–2014) surveys, we conducted a research on the opinions of the Italian students and professionals from eight focus groups about the relation between environmental issues, social quality and communication. The assumption is that communication is a strategic factor that could contribute to determining the social quality and, consequently, the satisfaction of the common people. The study demonstrates that it is necessary to plan well-thought-out communication activities aimed at increasing awareness of environmental issues. Findings from this study support the need to develop a greater awareness and a renewed critical consciousness of the relationships between person, environment and social quality.

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People, Planet, Power

Toward a New Social Settlement

Anna Coote

This article presents proposals for a new social settlement – a framework for deciding how people live together and what they expect from government, now and for the future. The proposed settlement has three goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. To achieve these goals we have identified a set of objectives too often ignored in mainstream debates: achieving prosperity without depending on economic growth; shifting investment and action upstream to prevent harm rather than coping with the consequences; strengthening the “core economy” of unpaid work, everyday wisdom, and social connections; and fostering solidarity and an understanding of how individuals depend on each other to achieve shared goals. The article draws on a report from the New Economics Foundation, which focuses on the United Kingdom but offers a framework for developing policy and practice that may be useful in other countries, especially in the developed world.

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Humanosphere Potentiality Index

Appraising Existing Indicators from a Long-term Perspective

Takahiro Sato, Mario Ivan López, Taizo Wada, Shiro Sato, Makoto Nishi and Kazuo Watanabe

humanosphere has been developed to synthesize an approach that arises within three different scientific branches and their engagements with environmental sustainability. In order, these are earth science, life science, and social science. The geosphere is

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Wendy Lynne Lee

Edwards, Andres R. 2010. Thriving Beyond Sustainability: Pathways to a Resilient Society. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers.

Lake, Osprey Orielle. 2010. Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press.

Suzuki, David, and David R. Taylor. 2009. The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet. Vancouver, Canada: Greystone Books.

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Automobiles and Socioeconomic Sustainability

Do We Need a Mobility Bill of Rights?

Daniel Newman

consumer take-up of electrics. 3 However, electric cars represent evolution not revolution. While they might be more environmentally sustainable than internal combustion engines (though not necessarily), 4 they offer little on socioeconomic sustainability

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Greening British Businesses

SMEs and the New Wave of the Environmental Social Movement

Curtis Ziniel and Tony Bradley

This article examines relationships between a new wave of radical green activism and an increase in greening businesses in Britain. We examine the spread of the movement through the formation of businesses implementing more environmentally sustainable practices. Our empirical data, combined with Office for National Statistics data, are drawn from both the supply and the demand side of the economy. Our analysis tests key individual-level determinants (education, energy conscientiousness, localism) and area-level determinants (party politics, population density). Our findings indicate the main factors in determining the growth of the ethical marketplace. We draw conclusions about relationships between environmental social movements and SME business sectors. Our results have implications for research on ethical business development and consumerism and for literature on social movements and political geography.

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Communities of Practice at the Cidade do Saber

Plural Citizenship and Social Inclusion in Brazil

Carla Guerrón Montero

Abstract

I explore the relationships among state, culture and politics in the context of the largest educational project of social inclusion, local participation and citizenship in the Municipality of Camaçari, state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. The City of Knowledge (Instituto Raimundo Pinheiro – Cidade do Saber), or CDS, offers free access to education, cultural events, and sports and leisure activities to economically disadvantaged children and adults, based on the concept of ‘plural citizenship’, the understanding that wider access to education, culture and sports shortens social distances and generates sustainable human development. Concepts of social inclusion, local participation, critical thinking and constructions of citizenship are applied, tested and contradicted on the ground. Sustainability is experienced as sustainable human development; sustainable urbanism; environmental sustainability and challenges to the sustainability of CDS, a community of practice where stakeholders are potentially producing a new way to understand what it means to be a modern Brazilian citizen.

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Debarati Sen and Sarasij Majumder

The global circulation of food and agricultural commodities is increasingly influenced by the ethical choices of Western consumers and activists who want to see a socially and environmentally sustainable trade regime in place. These desires have culminated in the formation of an elaborate system of rules, which govern the physical and social conditions of food production and circulation, reflected in transnational ethical regimes such as fair trade. Fair trade operates through certifying producer communities with sustainable production methods and socially just production relationships. By examining interdisciplinary academic engagements with fair trade, we argue that fair trade certification is a transnational bio-political regime; although, it holds the potential for reflecting global counterpolitics. By reviewing the literature on the emergence and history of fair trade certification, agro-food chains, case studies on certified producer communities and the certification process, this article shows that fair trade certification is a new governing mechanism to discipline farmers and producers in the Global South by drawing them into globalized market relationships. However, recent studies suggest that fair trade also leaves open the potential for creative iterations of the fair trade idea in producer communities to give voice to their situated struggles for justice. Thus, fair trade constitutes a contested moral terrain that mediates between the visions of justice harbored by producers and activists in the Global South and reflexive practices of the Western consumers. To map these critical developments around fair trade and fair trade certification, close ethnographic attention to the material and symbolic life of certification is vital.

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Youngho Chang, Jiesheng Tan and Letian Chen

Studies on sustainable development rely on diverse and seemingly conflicting concepts that yield contrasting results. The root of these conflicting concepts is the lack of agreement on the path toward achieving sustainable development (SD), namely, weak (or economic) versus strong (or ecological) sustainability. This article revisits the Solow-Hartwick model (Solow 1974, 1986; Hartwick 1977, 1978a, 1978b), which suggests that an economy can achieve intergenerational equity by mandating the Hartwick rule of investing the amount of rents from natural capital into renewable capital. It constructs a modified Solow-Hartwick model in which the assumptions of constant population and no technological progress are relaxed and from which it derives a more general form of the Hartwick rule. The modified Solow-Hartwick investment rule presents how weak sustainability can be attained and explains how the residual Hotelling rents (or proceeds from natural resources) could be utilized in order to achieve strong sustainability. In this article, we apply the modified Solow-Hartwick investment rule to a selection of developing and developed Asian economies to assess their sustainability. We then compare our results with two existing measures of sustainability, the genuine savings (GS) model and the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), both of which frequently present contradicting evaluations on the status of sustainability.

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The Rule of Law as a Condition for Development Toward Sustainability

Toward a New Legally Oriented Environment at a Global Level

Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini

, placing rule of law at the center for the purposes of socioeconomic and environmental sustainable growth, the rule of law builds confidence in state institutions, and the important development role of all stakeholders can promote justice principles in the