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Robèrt Forgot Goulet: Augmenting TNS with the Capabilities Approach to Support the Social Dimensions of Sustainability

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While the definition of sustainability remains open for all to contribute to and participate in, there do seem to be some notions it has come to embody that should not be neglected as the definition coalesces. Among these are the

While the definition of sustainability remains open for all to contribute to and participate in, there do seem to be some notions it has come to embody that should not be neglected as the definition coalesces. Among these are the ethical and social dimensions of sustainability. Whether or not it is appropriate, required, or even desirable, concepts like social equity, human rights, ethical sharing of commons, etc. have increasingly come under the umbrella of the sustainability discourse. Even if “sustainability” as a bare word doesn’t imply those things, the concept of sustainable development certainly has taken on those dimensions. That sustainability might be redefined or re-scoped to be a purely environmental or a rigidly scientific endeavor, is not an immediate concern of this paper, though if that were to occur (whether for the sake of simplicity or pragmatics), it should be done explicitly so the ethical sub-discourse can be maintained (indeed, sustained) by some other movement.

This paper proposes a mechanism by which such a migration in terms can be prevented. First, in reviewing the work of Denis Goulet, it shows the solid basis for including an ethical aspect in the sustainability discourse. Second, it points out that Karl-Henrik Robèrt’s highly-lauded and broadly-employed sustainability framework, The Natural Step, is deficient in this area. This deficiency provides the impetus for, finally, proposing a mechanism by which The Natural Step can be extended to include the important social and ethical dimensions of sustainability. This mechanism is based on the capabilities approaches that, in many respects, evolved out of Goulet’s early work. Augmented accordingly, TNS can continue to be used without fear of overlooking the social and ethical aspects of the sustainability discourse.

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Blockchain: An Assessment of its Potential and Challenges in Addressing Sustainability Issues

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Blockchain, the technology behind the worldwide-known cryptocurrency Bitcoin, offers a new set of potential advantages and opportunities that various industries and institutions could use to enhance their processes. Although most research and development on blockchain has focused on applications for

Blockchain, the technology behind the worldwide-known cryptocurrency Bitcoin, offers a new set of potential advantages and opportunities that various industries and institutions could use to enhance their processes. Although most research and development on blockchain has focused on applications for cryptocurrencies and the finance industry, relatively few analyses and assessments have been conducted on how it could provide tools to address social and environmental issues. This research, using interviews, literature review and examples of blockchain applications, explores how this technology can be employed to address sustainability issues under the framework of three UN Sustainable Development Goals: 2. Zero Hunger, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy, and 14. Life Below Water. The analysis shows that blockchain has the potential to support solutions to sustainability problems that need efficient traceability, trust, a unique ID, transparency, or a highly secure payment system. However, the technology should not be mistaken for a panacea for addressing sustainability issues in its current state because it is not yet mature and has not been sufficiently tested. Expansion of blockchain as an effective tool for helping solve sustainability challenges will require a greater understanding of the governance of blockchain, its scalability and its potential unintended consequences for the technology to become properly integrated into the decision-making progress.

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2019-04-17

Biochar Briquettes: Alternative to Firewood and Charcoal Fuel

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Domestic energy is an important component of our day to day lives and is something we cannot live without. Imagine how life would be without a means to cook our food, to warm our house, life would be unbearable. As

Domestic energy is an important component of our day to day lives and is something we cannot live without. Imagine how life would be without a means to cook our food, to warm our house, life would be unbearable. As we enjoy these comforts rarely do we stop to think what the opportunity cost is. For those using renewable sources, it is not a big issue, but for those who rely on wood fuel, they have to strike a delicate balance between need for fuel and the need to conserve the greatest support systems of their livelihoods, the forests. The main source of energy for households in many developing countries is biomass, mainly from forests and woodlands. The continued use of firewood and charcoal fuel puts a strain on forests, resulting in adverse effects on the environment such as prolonged droughts, loss of biodiversity, dwindling water resources, changing weather patterns among other sustainability challenges. An alternative to firewood to charcoal lies in biochar briquettes. This paper discusses the role of biochar briquettes in mitigating climate change and serves as a step by step guide on how biochar briquettes may be produced.

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2018

The Sustainability Fair: Building a Grassroots Movement Around Community

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People everywhere should be doing everything they can to be more sustainable so that climate change can begin to be mitigated. We are already feeling the negative effects of climate change, and they are thoroughly documented. Despite this people are

People everywhere should be doing everything they can to be more sustainable so that climate change can begin to be mitigated. We are already feeling the negative effects of climate change, and they are thoroughly documented. Despite this people are not changing to be more sustainable fast enough. Many either reject the idea of climate change, do not know what they could do, or are unaware of how climate change affects them. Sustainability also impacts more than just climate change. Living more sustainably can have positive impacts economically as well as positive impacts on human health. In a world that is so connected and with such a wealth of information, we can no longer afford to have communities in the dark. Leaders need to rise on a community level to make a difference. Leadership is an aspect of an organization or a project that can elevate it to new heights. A leader is not everything, but the difference a good leader makes is universal. In this paper I will teach you about organizing a sustainability fair that educates and engages marginalized communities that typically are not included in the conversation on how to save our world.

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2018-11-10

Moving Sustainability Forward: A Game-based Approach For Building Confidence In Municipal Administration

Description

Cities with a car-oriented mobility system are significant consumers of energy and require drastic transformations in their structure and function to minimize their harmful impacts on environment and people and to achieve sustainability goals. To promote such sustainable transformations, municipal

Cities with a car-oriented mobility system are significant consumers of energy and require drastic transformations in their structure and function to minimize their harmful impacts on environment and people and to achieve sustainability goals. To promote such sustainable transformations, municipal administrators need to act as change-agents. Because municipal governments are often not agile organizations, they tend toward incrementalism even in the pursuit of transformational goals. Therefore, there is a need in municipal governments to build individual transformative capacity so that municipal administrators can design, test, and implement plans, projects, and policies that are capable of transforming cities toward sustainability. This research presents a game-based workshop, “Stadt-liche Ziele” (AudaCity), that uses a backcasting approach to make municipal administrators build a sustainability strategy. I conducted a pilot study to test the effects of the game on municipal administrators’ confidence in their own ability and power to implement sustainability actions, a key determinant of transformative capacity. Five municipal administrators from Lüneburg, Germany, working on mobility issues, participated in a three-hour-workshop playing the game. Interviews and questionnaires were used before and after the workshop and participants’ contributions during the event were recorded to explore collective changes in confidence. Results indicate that the game increased participant confidence by rewarding collective success, breaking down an ambitious goal into achievable tasks, and acknowledging how administrators’ current actions already contribute to the goal.

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2018-06-28

Community Values Mapping for Apache Junction, AZ

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The City of Apache Junction is located in an environmentally and culturally rich location on the eastern edge of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. This suburb is expected to grow in the future with undeveloped land zoned for development. Despite its

The City of Apache Junction is located in an environmentally and culturally rich location on the eastern edge of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. This suburb is expected to grow in the future with undeveloped land zoned for development. Despite its uniqueness, the city is challenged by a negative reputation in the region. To help improve the city's image and promote development, the City of Apache Junction has partnered with Arizona State University's Project Cities program. Through this partnership both parties work to work toward sustainable development of Apache Junction. This Culminating Experience project is one of several initiatives working for and with the city to help improve quality of life for residents. The project asks, how can we measure, identify, and promote locations of high community value in Apache Junction to attract new residents and create more development opportunities? A Public Participation GIS methodology was used to survey residents about their favorite locations in Apache Junction, participants were asked to mark their favorite locations on a paper map with stickers. Each sticker had a different color and corresponded with different values. The values were: recreational, cultural, spiritual, aesthetic, and special place values. All survey responses were transferred from physical maps to online geographic survey website Maptionnaire. Running statistical and geospatial analysis, survey found 6 locations in Apache Junction with highest density values. Findings from this project will be delivered to city of Apache Junction for integration into the Positively Apache Junction rebranding campaign and future urban development decisions.

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2018-04-27

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Girl Scout Green

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Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council is a mission driven organization that aims to help build the leaders of tomorrow. Girls in Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-pine are served through mission building programs that aim to build girls of courage confidence and

Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council is a mission driven organization that aims to help build the leaders of tomorrow. Girls in Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-pine are served through mission building programs that aim to build girls of courage confidence and character who make the world a better place (Girl Scouts, 2017). The intention of my sustainability engagement initiative was to ask staff to take part in a three-phased program that encouraged them to think differently. The initiative asked them to look at how, as an organization they can work to improve their sustainability habits. Tasking them to be just as impactful as the girl members that are served through Girl Scouting. However, as planning progressed towards implementation, plans were put on hold as the organization restructured due to a major culture shift outside the organization. Sustainability still remains a focus, and the engagement plan will be put into effect at a later time.

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2018-04-13

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Sustainability Achieved Through Education

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The purpose of this paper is to identify the absence of sustainability teachings within our private school systems, introduce a program for the school systems to incorporate into existing curriculum, and present the process that would be needed to be

The purpose of this paper is to identify the absence of sustainability teachings within our private school systems, introduce a program for the school systems to incorporate into existing curriculum, and present the process that would be needed to be followed for introduction of this program. There is a growing interest in the topic of sustainability and how it potentially will affect the next generations. Today some large companies and even some countries around the world are engaging in sustainability practices. Currently this is a very small piece of action regarding what needs to take place to hope to promote change around the world. Layering sustainable teachings and practices into children in their formidable years through graduation from high-school will bring about individuals that incorporate sustainable living into their everyday personal and professional lives. Repeating this practice generation after generation will ensure a sustainable planet.

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2018-04-24

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Living in a Wounded World: Sustainability and Psychological Trauma

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Greater cross-disciplinary collaboration between the fields of sustainability and clinical psychology could lead to improved outcomes for both. Moreover, some forms of mental disorder, such as PTSD and Moral Injury, constitute serious challenges that require the attention of sustainability’s interdisciplinary,

Greater cross-disciplinary collaboration between the fields of sustainability and clinical psychology could lead to improved outcomes for both. Moreover, some forms of mental disorder, such as PTSD and Moral Injury, constitute serious challenges that require the attention of sustainability’s interdisciplinary, systems-focused, solutionsoriented approach. My research frames the impacts of combat-related psychological trauma on military veterans as a sustainability problem according to criteria put forward by Arnim Wiek’s Transformational Problem Solving framework. I also provide a review of studies demonstrating the treatment benefits of agricultural therapy for veterans diagnosed with PTSD or symptoms associated with Moral Injury. I then describe my own efforts investigating the connection between trauma and sustainability using survey measurements, interviews, and participant observation onsite at Growing Veterans farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington. The results strongly suggest that sustainable agricultural can be of powerful clinical benefit to traumatized veterans and that sustainable behaviors and values in general increased as trauma symptoms decreased. More broadly, the project indicates that slight shifts in how we approach solution formulation and how we articulate and disseminate sustainability messages could have profound positive effects on the sustainability’s success.

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2018-03-27

Communicating Sustainability Solutions Through Photojournalism

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Strategies and interventions have promoted the sustainability of urban communities, but effective communication of these solutions is lacking. Documentation of current solutions tends to be dense and difficult for non-academics to understand. Sustainability scientists and practitioners need ways to meaningfully

Strategies and interventions have promoted the sustainability of urban communities, but effective communication of these solutions is lacking. Documentation of current solutions tends to be dense and difficult for non-academics to understand. Sustainability scientists and practitioners need ways to meaningfully and intelligibly communicate their experiences to the lay public. This project sought to visually present sustainable community development solutions to address this communication barrier. Members of urban/community gardens in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona, and Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, were photographed, interviewed. Their feedback was then examined to assess the degree to which photographs can tell a holistic sustainability story.
The photographs focused on aspects of life and behaviors that have contributed to happiness in local communities. A website was created and a gallery event was mounted for public review and discussion. Gallery attendees and website visitors were asked to complete a survey to assess (1) gained knowledge of sustainability solutions, and (2) how effective a tool photography is as a means of sustainability solutions communication.
This visual medium allowed people think about how to incorporate sustainable community solutions into their own lives and may have changed people’s interest in, and thoughts about, overall sustainability and sustainable solutions. The survey results demonstrated that photographs can successfully communicate sustainability ideas. Specifically, viewers gained an increased awareness of how community and urban gardening can increase happiness, well-being, and sense of community. This visual approach can continue to be used to more successfully communicate additional sustainability solutions ideas and methods to the public.

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2017-11-15