• Energy Sustainability: A Pragmatic Approach and Illustrations

      Marc A. Rosen (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      Many factors to be appropriately addressed in moving towards energy sustainability are examined. These include harnessing sustainable energy sources, utilizing sustainable energy carriers, increasing efficiency, reducing environmental impact and improving socioeconomic acceptability. The latter factor includes community involvement and social acceptability, economic affordability and equity, lifestyles, land use and aesthetics. Numerous illustrations demonstrate measures consistent with the approach put forward, and options for energy sustainability and the broader objective of sustainability. Energy sustainability is of great importance to overall sustainability given the pervasiveness of energy use, its importance in economic development and living standards, and its impact on the environment.
    • Sustainable Agriculture and Innovation Adoption in a Tropical Small-Scale Food Production System: The Case of Yam Minisetts in Jamaica

      Clinton L. Beckford (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      Grown in Jamaica since the days of slavery, food yams are major staples in local diets and a significant non-traditional export crop. The cultivation system used today is the same as 300 years ago, with alleged unsustainable practices. A new cultivation system called minisett was introduced in 1985 but the adoption rate twenty four years later is extremely low. This paper analyzes the prospects for the widespread adoption of minisett and sustainable yam cultivation and advocates that greater use be made of farmers’ extensive knowledge of the complex agro-ecological, socio-cultural and economic milieu in which they operate.
    • On the Way to Improve the Environmental Benignity of Chemical Processes: Novel Catalysts for a Polymerization Process

      Silvana F. Rach; Fritz E. Kühn (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      An example for a process that can, in principle, be improved by the application of a catalyst is the synthesis of poly(2-methyl-propene)s (“polyisobutenes”), which are important for numerous industrial applications. Each year several 100,000 t are produced. The production of low-molecular weight polyisobutenes by means of cationic initiation by an excess of Lewis acids is well established. Typically, these initiators require the usage of solvents like chloroform, dichloromethane and ethylene and temperatures far below 0 °C (–100 °C in the case of ethylene as solvent). Solvent stabilized transition metal complexes with weakly coordinating counter anions overcome these drawbacks and thus are not only more efficient, but also more environmentally benign: they can be applied at ambient temperature and in non chlorinated solvents at low concentrations.
    • Opportunity and Problem in Context (OPiC): A Framework for Environmental Management

      David Tsetse; Wouter T. de Groot (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      Most frameworks used in the management of environmental problems focus on problem analysis and pay little or no attention to the explanation of the problem and the opportunities for solving it. The Opportunity and Problem in Context (OPiC) framework aims to be fully balanced in this respect. On a broad theoretical footing, the framework can give structure and interconnection to (i) the analysis and explanation of environmental problems by making use of parallel effect chains and norm chains, the functions and values of the environment, a breakdown of human action through lifecycle principles and explanation through fields of causally related actors, (ii) the identification of opportunities for solutions based on the problem analysis, on system concepts and on creativity enhancement, and (iii) the synthesis of this in the process of design and evaluation of solutions. The OPiC framework has been developed with a special view to developing countries but its applicability is not greatly dependent on scale and context.
    • Sustainability: A Crucial Quest for Humanity - Welcome to a New Open Access Journal for a Growing Multidisciplinary Community

      Marc A. Rosen (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      Sustainability, although often hard to define precisely, is a rapidly growing area of study that is becoming increasingly applied in diverse areas. The definition put forth in 1983 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, informally known as the Brundtland Commission, captures many aspects of the topic. That commission defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Other attempts have been made to define what we mean when we refer to sustainability or strive to achieve it as an objective. Despite the differences in definitions, a key theme that emerges is that sustainability is a concept that needs to be incorporated in many if not all of the activities that people undertake. [...]
    • Sustainability: A Platform for Debate

      Hilary Tovey (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      Sustainability, as a new platform for debating sustainable development, drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives and knowledges, provides an opportunity to ask some searching questions about this concept. This short paper seeks to remind ourselves of some of the questions we might ask (recognizing that there are also many others). It asks, in particular, about the organisation of work in contemporary societies and the sorts of relations to nature to which this gives rise; the sorts of knowledges which may help us to become more sustainable in our use of natural resources; the most useful modes of knowledge organization, transfer and dissemination for sustainability; and whether ‘sustainability’ is only or primarily about sustaining nature, or whether it must also include trying to create and sustain a certain kind of society.
    • Climate Change and Air Pollution: Exploring the Synergies and Potential for Mitigation in Industrializing Countries

      Frances C. Moore (MDPI AG, 2009-03-01)
      Air pollutants such as tropospheric ozone and black carbon (soot) also contribute to the greenhouse effect. Black carbon is thought to be the second or third most important anthropogenic contributor to global warming, while troposheric ozone is the fourth most important. Both are also major components of indoor and outdoor air pollution. This paper reviews the existing literature of the health, economic, and climatic impacts of tropospheric ozone and black carbon emissions, together with mitigation options. The local nature of many of the impacts, combined with their short atmospheric lifetime and the existence of cost-effective abatement technologies that are already widely deployed in developed countries means reducing these emissions provides a highly climatically-effective mitigation option that is also appropriate to the development strategy of industrializing countries.
    • The Challenge to Revert Unsustainable Trends: Uneven Development and Water Degradation in the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area

      Maria A. M. Costa; Antonio A. R. Ioris (MDPI AG, 2009-04-01)
      The search for water sustainability requires not only a combination of technical and managerial responses, but also firm action against socioeconomic injustices and political inequalities. The recognition of the politicised nature of water problems deserves particular attention in areas marred by long-term trends of environmental degradation and social exclusion. A case study of the Baixada Fluminense, an urbanised wetland in the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro, illustrates the challenge to reverse unsustainable practices in situations where water problems have been politically and electorally exploited. The research made use of an interdisciplinary approach to assess past and present initiatives that have attempted, but systematically failed, to restore river ecology and improve water services. The empirical results have important implications for water policy making and urban planning.
    • A Blueprint for Florida's Clean Energy Future - Case Study of a Regional Government's Environmental Strategy

      Margaret Lowman (MDPI AG, 2009-04-01)
      On 13 July 2007, Governor Charlie Crist of Florida signed executive orders to establish greenhouse gas emission targets that required an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Florida is a very high-risk state with regard to climate change. Its 1,350-mile-long coastline, location in "Hurricane Alley," reliance on coral reefs and other vulnerable natural resources for its economy, and the predictions that state population could double in the next 30 years all contribute to this designation of "high-risk. As a consequence of the potential economic and ecological impacts of climate change to Florida, a series of Action Teams were created to plan for adaptation to impending environmental changes. As the 26th largest emitter of carbon dioxide on a global scale, Florida needs to act aggressively to create a clean energy footprint as part of its statewide initiatives but with global impacts. This case study examines the process and expected outcomes undertaken by a regional government that anticipates the need for stringent adaptation.
    • Methanetrisulfonic Acid: A Highly Efficient Strongly Acidic Catalyst for Wagner-Meerwein Rearrangement, Friedel-Crafts Alkylation and Acylation Reactions. Examples from Vitamin E Synthesis

      Francesco Pace; Thomas Netscher; Simone Hoppmann; Alois Haas; Fabrice Aquino; Werner Bonrath; Horst Pauling (MDPI AG, 2009-04-01)
      Methanetrisulfonic acid had been prepared for the first time over 140 years ago, but it was used only scarcely in chemical transformations. In the course of our activities dealing with key-steps of industrial syntheses of vitamins, e.g. economically important vitamin E (acetate), we found that methanetrisulfonic acid is an extremely effective catalyst in a variety of reactions. Examples of its applications are Wagner-Meerwein rearrangements, Friedel-Crafts alkylations and ring closures, as well as acylation reactions. Use of this catalyst in truly catalytic amounts (0.04-1.0 mol%) resulted in highly selective transformations and yields over 95%. (Remark by the authors: We are describing only one example each for the various types of reactions. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to write (here and in the Introduction and in the Conclusion sections): “Wagner-Meerwein rearrangement, Friedel-Crafts alkylation and ring closure, as well as acylation reactions”)
    • Automobility: Global Warming as Symptomatology

      Gary Backhaus (MDPI AG, 2009-04-01)
      The argument of this paper is that sustainability requires a new worldview-paradigm. It critically evaluates Gore’s liberal-based environmentalism in order to show how “shallow ecologies” are called into question by deeper ecologies. This analysis leads to the notion that global warming is better understood as a symptom indicative of the worldview that is the source for environmental crises. Heidegger’s ontological hermeneutics and its critique of modern technology show that the modern worldview involves an enframing (a totalizing technological ordering) of the natural. Enframing reveals entities as standing reserve (on demand energy suppliers). My thesis maintains that enframing is geographically expressed as automobility. Because of the energy needs used to maintain automobility, reaching the goal of sustainability requires rethinking the spatial organization of life as a function of stored energy technologies.
    • Biotic Translocation of Phosphorus: The Role of Deer in Protected Areas

      Werner T. Flueck (MDPI AG, 2009-04-01)
      Biogeochemical cycles are cornerstones of biological evolution. Mature terrestrial ecosystems efficiently trap nutrients and certain ones are largely recycled internally. Preserving natural fluxes of nutrients is an important mission of protected areas, but artificially leaky systems remain common. Native red deer (Cervus elaphus) in the Swiss National Park (SNP) are known to reduce phosphorus (P) in preferred feeding sites by removing more P than is returned with feces. At larger scales it becomes apparent that losses are occurring due to seasonal deer movements out of the SNP where most deer end up perishing. Thus, the SNP contributes to producing deer which translocate P to sink areas outside the SNP due to several artificial factors. An adult female dying outside of SNP exports about 1.8 kg of P, whereas a male dying outside of SNP at 8 years of age exports 7.2 kg of P due also to annual shedding of antlers. Averaged over the vegetated part of the SNP, the about 2,000 deer export 0.32 kg/ha/yr of P. Other ungulate species using the SNP and dying principally outside of its borders would result in additional exports of P. Leakiness in this case is induced by: a) absence of the predator community and thus a lack of summer mortalities and absence of several relevant non-lethal predator effects, b) hunting-accelerated population turnover rate, and c) deaths outside of SNP principally from hunting. The estimated export rate for P compares to rates measured in extensive production systems which receive 10-50 kg/ha/yr of P as fertilizer to compensate the losses from biomass exports. Assumptions were made regarding red deer body weight or population turnover rate, yet substituting my estimates with actual values from the SNP would only affect somewhat the magnitude of the effect, but not its direction. The rate of P loss is a proxy for losses of other elements, the most critical ones being those not essential to autotrophs, but essential to heterotrophs. High deer turnover rates combined with accelerated biomass export warrants detailed mass balances of macro and micro nutrients, and studies of biogeochemical cycles in protected areas are essential if preserving natural processes is a mandate.
    • Considering Structural, Individual and Social Network Explanations for Ecologically Sustainable Agriculture: An Example Drawn from Washington State Wheat Growers

      Leland Glenna; Raymond A. Jussaume Jr. (MDPI AG, 2009-04-01)
      As acceptance of the concept of agricultural sustainability has grown, it has become increasingly recognized that notions of sustainability and how to promote it will necessarily vary depending on the commodity in question. It thus becomes important to investigate how movements towards sustainability are emerging for different commodities. The objective of our paper is to present the results of an analysis of Washington wheat producers that investigates the degree to which interest in sustainability exists amongst those farmers and whether structural factors and farmer personal characteristics are more or less significant than social network factors in explaining farmers’ views of possible sustainable methods. Our findings indicate that a measure indicating use of local social networks to gain information is associated with a higher degree of interest in new production methods aimed at improving agricultural sustainability.
    • Selective Reduction of Dimedone

      Werner Bonrath; Ulla Létinois (MDPI AG, 2009-05-01)
      The selective hydrogenation of dimedone (1) to the corresponding monoketone 2 over palladium and Amberlyst 15® is reported. The product is a synthetic building block for the fragrance and pharmaceutical industry. Advantages of the new catalytic procedure are the high catalyst activity and selectivity, less by-product formation, avoidance of the presence of acid, and consequently, less salt formation due to the omission of a neutralization step. Using a substrate/catalyst ratio of >100 compound 2 can be synthesized in 97% yield at full conversion. Recycling of the catalyst several times has been shown to be feasible without any detectable decrease in selectivity.
    • Agricultural Systems Located in the Forest-Savanna Ecotone of the Venezuelan Amazonian. Are Organic Agroforestry Farms Sustainable?

      Ana Yamila López-Contreras; Igor Netuzhilin; Carmen Leonor Hernández; Danilo López-Hernández (MDPI AG, 2009-05-01)
      The savannas located in the forest-savanna ecotone in the Venezuelan Amazon have unfertile sandy ultisols and entisols which show a very low crop production unless they are supplemented with large amounts of fertiliser. In spite of this restriction, local farmers have established long-term production systems by using low input doses of organic manure. The use of organic waste in unfertile ultisols and entisols typical of savannas have resulted in increases in organic matter content and biological activities in soils with respect to inorganic fertilised or non-fertilised natural savanna, which, in turn, may be related to increases in crop productivity. These results could be a successful and reliable soil management technique for rehabilitation of the South American savannas.
    • Production of Biosorbents from Waste Olive Cake and Its Adsorption Characteristics for Zn2+ Ion

      Benilde Mendes; Filomena Pinto; Sofia Monteiro; Ana Fernando (MDPI AG, 2009-06-01)
      In this study, waste olive cake (OC) was utilized as the raw material for the production of biosorbents by chemical treatment and its adsorption capacity for zinc ion was evaluated. Tests were conducted with the total biomass (T) and with the fraction > 2.00 mm (P), in order to determinate the influence of this fractionation step on subsequent treatments. Two chemical agents were used: sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. The parameters studied include physical and chemical properties of materials, contact time, pH, adsorbent dose and initial concentrations. The kinetic data were best fitted to the pseudo-second order model. Zinc binding is strongly pH dependent, with more zinc ions bound at a higher pH (5-7 in a range of 3-7). Both Langmuir and Freundlich models are well suited to fit the data on sorption of zinc by OC. Data on sorption of zinc by waste olive cake treated with sulfuric acid (OC-H) was better described by the Freundlich model. Zinc sorption by waste olive cake treated with sodium hydroxide (OC-OH) was better described by the Langmuir model. Results show OC-OH is a biosorbent with a superior adsorption capacity for zinc than OC-H. The maximum adsorption capacity obtained from the Langmuir isotherms increases in the order (mg/g): OC-HT (14), OCT (22) and OC-OHT (27). Results also indicate that the previous fractionation step doesn´t produce a biosorbent with a superior adsorption capacity.
    • A Methodological Proposal for Corporate Carbon Footprint and Its Application to a Wine-Producing Company in Galicia, Spain

      Juan Luís Doménech Quesada; Adolfo Carballo Penela; María do Carme García-Negro (MDPI AG, 2009-06-01)
      Corporate carbon footprint (CCFP) is one of the most widely used indicators to synthesise environmental impacts on a corporate scale. We present a methodological proposal for CCFP calculation on the basis of the “method composed of financial accounts” abbreviated as MC3, considering the Spanish version “metodo compuesto de las cuentas contables”. The main objective is to describe how this method and the main outputs obtained work. This latter task is fulfilled with a practical case study, where we estimate the carbon footprint of a wine-producing company for the year 2006. Results show the origin of impacts generated, providing this firm with disaggregated information on the contribution to its CCFP of each one of its activities and consumptions.
    • Renegotiating the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: The Process for a Sustainable Outcome

      Gail Krantzberg (MDPI AG, 2009-06-01)
      This is a defining moment for the Great Lakes St Lawrence region, with the opportunity to renovate the regime for ecosystem improvement, protection and sustainability. The binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was first signed in 1972. The outcome of a 2007 review of the Agreement by government and citizens, resulted in a broad call for and revisions to the Agreement, so that it can once again serve as a visionary document driving binational cooperation to address long-standing, new and emerging Great Lakes environmental issues in the 21st century. A prescription for renegotiating the Agreement to generate a revitalized and sustainable future mandates that science inform contemporary public policy, third Party Mediation presses for and coordinates a deliberate negotiation, and inclusive discourse and public engagement be integral through the process.
    • Improving the Sustainability of Office Partition Manufacturing: Balancing Options for Reducing Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds

      Marc A. Rosen; Frank S. Luisser (MDPI AG, 2009-06-01)
      Options are examined to improve the sustainability of office partition manufacturing by reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions. Base VOC emissions for a typical plant are estimated using a mass balance approach. Pollution prevention and sustainability measures are assessed using realistic criteria and weightings. Sustainability has been considered from an industry perspective, considering factors like economics, environmental impact, quality, health and safety. Through a case study, it is demonstrated that several advantageous options are available for reducing VOC emissions in manufacturing office furniture partitions, and thereby enhancing the sustainability of that industrial operation. The measures deemed most viable include implementing several best management practices, not painting of non-visible parts, switching gluing processes, recycling solvent and modifying attachments. The results are intended to be balanced so as to improve their acceptability and adoptability by industry. It appears that it would be advantageous for manufacturers of office panels to evaluate the feasibility of these measures and to implement the most appropriate. The results are likely extendable to other operations in the wood furniture industry, and would improve their sustainability.
    • Environmental Management, Sustainable Development and Human Health. Edited by Eddie N. Laboy-Nieves, Fred C. Schaffner, Ahmed Abdelhadi, Mattheus F.A. Goosen. CRC Press, London, 2009. XIV, 577 pp., Hardcover. $179.95. ISBN: 978-0-415-46963-0

      Shu-Kun Lin (MDPI AG, 2009-06-01)
      Although on the publisher’s website for this book [1], chapter numbers are given, in the copy of the book I received there are no chapter numbers in the Table of Contents, even though in the main text, cross references are made and the chapter numbers are mentioned. This book is divided into the following sections: [...]