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  • Working with indigenous, local and scientific knowledge in assessments of nature and nature’s linkages with people
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2020-01-15
    Rosemary Hill; Çiğdem Adem; Wilfred V Alangui; Zsolt Molnár; Yildiz Aumeeruddy-Thomas; Peter Bridgewater; Maria Tengö; Randy Thaman; Constant Y Adou Yao; Fikret Berkes; Joji Carino; Manuela Carneiro da Cunha; Mariteuw C Diaw; Sandra Díaz; Viviana E Figueroa; Judy Fisher; Preston Hardison; Kaoru Ichikawa; Dayuan Xue

    Working with indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) is vital for inclusive assessments of nature and nature’s linkages with people. Indigenous peoples’ concepts about what constitutes sustainability, for example, differ markedly from dominant sustainability discourses. The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) is promoting dialogue across different knowledge systems globally. In 2017, member states of IPBES adopted an ILK Approach including: procedures for assessments of nature and nature’s linkages with people; a participatory mechanism; and institutional arrangements for including indigenous peoples and local communities. We present this Approach and analyse how it supports ILK in IPBES assessments through: respecting rights; supporting care and mutuality; strengthening communities and their knowledge systems; and supporting knowledge exchange. Customary institutions that ensure the integrity of ILK, effective empowering dialogues, and shared governance are among critical capacities that enable inclusion of diverse conceptualizations of sustainability in assessments.

  • Understanding and countering the motivated roots of climate change denial
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2020-01-08
    Gabrielle Wong-Parodi; Irina Feygina

    Action on climate change is currently minimal, and woefully inadequate for steering away from its worst trajectories and impacts. Psychological science offers insights into the causes of climate change denial and reluctance to engage with solutions, and identifies avenues for enhancing climate acceptance and engagement. We review psychological processes that underlie denial, and survey promising directions for fostering support for solutions. We draw largely on studies conducted in the United States, whose population is exceptionally high on climate denial and disengagement, and where the majority of research has focused. However, these approaches provide insight into underlying psychological dynamics that can inform broader efforts to engage audiences with climate change.

  • Indigenous sustainable relations: considering land in language and language in land
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-12-16
    Jenanne Ferguson; Marissa Weaselboy

    In this piece we (as one Indigenous anthropologist writing with a non-Indigenous anthropologist) explore research on how land is also connected to the revitalization of Indigenous minority languages and lifeways, suggesting that projects concerning either the sustainability of language and of land should not be considered separately. Under a framework of ‘sustainable relations,’ we explore how Indigenous ontologies of language conceptualize the indivisibility of language and land, and land and humans, which leads to a situation in which projects for the revitalization of language and for the reclamation of connections with land are often linked. The vital importance of the land-language connection for the continued sustainability of language, land and Indigenous lifeways is also showcased through an examination of recent studies looking at correlations between Indigenous language maintenance, engagement with the land and overall health and well-being of communities.

  • Making room and moving over: knowledge co-production, Indigenous knowledge sovereignty and the politics of global environmental change decision-making
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-12-01
    Nicole Latulippe, Nicole Klenk

    The global environmental change research community that engages with Indigenous knowledge holders commonly practice engagement in an extractive way: knowledge is treated as data that can be aggregated and understood in abstract and universal form. This assumes that knowledge and governance are separate and gives knowledge co-production the appearance of playing an informative and facilitative role in global environmental change governance. But seeking Indigenous knowledge to inform environmental decision-making implies that Indigenous peoples are stakeholders as opposed to self-determining nations with rights and responsibilities regarding their knowledge systems and lands. Indigenous sovereignty is not respected when knowledge is treated as mere data for collective decision-making. This paper brings literatures on knowledge co-production together with Indigenous knowledge, research, and environmental governance to explain why co-production scholars must move away from seeking to better ‘integrate’ Indigenous knowledges into western science and make way for Indigenous research leadership.

  • Exploring the potential contribution of green microfinance in transformations to sustainability
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-11-23
    Frédéric Huybrechs, Johan Bastiaensen, Gert Van Hecken

    In this review, we explore the potential of green microfinance to contribute to transformations to sustainability. Green microfinance aims for environmental objectives in addition to microfinance’s traditional financial and social goals. We argue that the questions of whether and how these instruments contribute to social-ecological change on the ground have so far remained underexplored. Moreover, the incipient green microfinance practice and discourse often reflect individualistic economic framings of social-ecological dynamics, at the risk of maintaining or even strengthening the structures that reproduce social exclusion and environmental degradation. To better understand green microfinance’s potential contribution to transformations to sustainability, we advocate for a systemic and power-sensitive approach to its theory and practice.

  • Usable environmental knowledge from the perspective of decision-making: the logics of consequentiality, appropriateness, and meaningfulness
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-11-15
    Art Dewulf, Nicole Klenk, Carina Wyborn, Maria Carmen Lemos

    Environmental knowledge is a crucial input for public and private decision-making, yet often useful environmental knowledge appears to be unusable for decision-makers. To better understand how usable knowledge can be produced, we need to build on a better understanding of decision-making processes. We distinguish three different logics of decision-making and discuss their implications for knowledge use: (1) the logic of consequentiality, rooted in theories of rational choice, in which environmental knowledge is used because of its utilitarian value; (2) the logic of appropriateness, rooted in institutional theories, in which environmental knowledge is used because it fits existing rules and routines; and (3) the logic of meaningfulness, rooted in theories of sensemaking and interpretation, in which environmental knowledge is used because it makes sense to decision-makers. The theory and practice of environmental knowledge (co-)production can profit from considering these different logics of decision-making.

  • Socio-technical transitions to sustainability: a review of criticisms and elaborations of the Multi-Level Perspective
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-07-29
    Frank W Geels

    This article discusses the socio-technical transition literature, particularly the Multi-Level Perspective, which investigates the fundamental changes in (energy, transport, housing, agro-food) systems that are needed to address persistent sustainability problems. The article positions the MLP within the wider academic debate on sustainability transformations, and reviews criticisms and seven recent elaborations of the MLP with regard to: (1) politics and power, (2) cultural discourse and framing struggles, (3) grassroots innovation, (4) multiple transition pathways, (5) incumbent firm resistance and reorientation, (6) destabilization and decline, (7) policy analysis. Mobilizing insights from the wider social sciences, these elaborations have nuanced and differentiated the understanding of socio-technical transitions to sustainability and made the MLP the central pillar of a multi-facetted, cumulative research programme with a broad empirical evidence base.

  • Serious gaming as a tool to facilitate inclusive business; a review of untapped potential
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-11-12
    Erika N Speelman, Romina Rodela, Mandy Doddema, Arend Ligtenberg
  • Insects for sustainable animal feed: inclusive business models involving smallholder farmers
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-11-07
    Shaphan Y Chia, Chrysantus M Tanga, Joop JA van Loon, Marcel Dicke

    Global population growth, an increasing demand for animal products and scarcity of conventional feed ingredients drive the search for alternative protein sources for animal feed. Extensive research indicates that insects provide good opportunities as a sustainable, high quality and low-cost component of animal feed. Here, we discuss how insect farming can promote inclusive business for smallholder farmers in the agribusiness value chain. Inclusive business models involving insects as ingredients in feed may contribute to solving socio-economic and environmental problems in developing countries, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. With low initial capital investments, smallholder insect farmers have good opportunities to increase productivity, improve their livelihood and contribute to food security and a circular economy.

  • Conceptualizing inclusiveness of smallholder value chain integration
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-11-04
    Mirjam AF Ros-Tonen, Verena Bitzer, Anna Laven, David Ollivier de Leth, Yves Van Leynseele, Andrea Vos

    The integration of male and female smallholders in high-end value chains (e.g. those for tree crops like cocoa, oil palm, avocado, and mango), has been promoted throughout the global South as a strategy for poverty alleviation, economic growth, employment generation, gender equality, and improved wellbeing. More critical literature, however, questions the inclusiveness of farmers’ value chain engagement. Despite rapid mainstreaming of inclusiveness in policy discourse, remarkably little literature sheds light on the operationalization of the concept. This paper addresses this gap. Based on a comprehensive review of three bodies of literature with the prefix ‘inclusive’ (inclusive business, inclusive value chain, and inclusive development) it unravels economic, social, relational and environmental dimensions as a basis for analysing and enhancing the inclusiveness of smallholders’ value chain engagement.

  • Inclusive agribusiness under climate change: a brief review of the role of finance
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-11-01
    Remco Oostendorp, Marcel van Asseldonk, John Gathiaka, Richard Mulwa, Maren Radeny, John Recha, Cor Wattel, Lia van Wesenbeeck

    Inclusive agribusiness models aim at benefitting broad layers of the farming population in developing countries, not only farmers in well-structured value chains, but also (remote) subsistence smallholders producing for local markets. Under climate change, inclusive business models also need to be made climate-smart to increase the farmers’ resilience. In this paper we provide a brief review of the role of inclusive finance as an inherent as well as synergetic component of inclusive agribusiness models. Financial institutions have difficulty in reaching out to remote smallholders, and community-based organizations often lack capacity to upscale financial services. This limits many farmers in their capability to deal with increasing climate risks. Closing this finance gap requires innovations in delivery models, and in financial products and services. Developing such adapted products requires better insight into the financial lives of smallholders, particularly under climate change, for instance from further research into climate-smart financial diaries.

  • Challenges and opportunities in mapping land use intensity globally.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2013-10-22
    Tobias Kuemmerle,Karlheinz Erb,Patrick Meyfroidt,Daniel Müller,Peter H Verburg,Stephan Estel,Helmut Haberl,Patrick Hostert,Martin R Jepsen,Thomas Kastner,Christian Levers,Marcus Lindner,Christoph Plutzar,Pieter Johannes Verkerk,Emma H van der Zanden,Anette Reenberg

    Future increases in land-based production will need to focus more on sustainably intensifying existing production systems. Unfortunately, our understanding of the global patterns of land use intensity is weak, partly because land use intensity is a complex, multidimensional term, and partly because we lack appropriate datasets to assess land use intensity across broad geographic extents. Here, we review the state of the art regarding approaches for mapping land use intensity and provide a comprehensive overview of available global-scale datasets on land use intensity. We also outline major challenges and opportunities for mapping land use intensity for cropland, grazing, and forestry systems, and identify key issues for future research.

  • Land System Science: between global challenges and local realities.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2014-05-23
    Peter H Verburg,Karl-Heinz Erb,Ole Mertz,Giovana Espindola

    This issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability provides an overview of recent advances in Land System Science while at the same time setting the research agenda for the Land System Science community. Land System Science is not just representing land system changes as either a driver or a consequence of global environmental change. Land systems also offer solutions to global change through adaptation and mitigation and can play a key role in achieving a sustainable future earth. The special issue assembles 14 articles that entail different perspectives on land systems and their dynamics, synthesizing current knowledge, highlighting currently under-researched topics, exploring scientific frontiers and suggesting ways ahead, integrating a plethora of scientific disciplines.

  • Land system change and food security: towards multi-scale land system solutions.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2013-10-22
    Peter H Verburg,Ole Mertz,Karl-Heinz Erb,Helmut Haberl,Wenbin Wu

    Land system changes are central to the food security challenge. Land system science can contribute to sustainable solutions by an integrated analysis of land availability and the assessment of the tradeoffs associated with agricultural expansion and land use intensification. A land system perspective requires local studies of production systems to be contextualised in a regional and global context, while global assessments should be confronted with local realities. Understanding of land governance structures will help to support the development of land use policies and tenure systems that assist in designing more sustainable ways of intensification. Novel land systems should be designed that are adapted to the local context and framed within the global socio-ecological system. Such land systems should explicitly account for the role of land governance as a primary driver of land system change and food production.

  • A conceptual framework for analysing and measuring land-use intensity.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2013-10-22
    Karl-Heinz Erb,Helmut Haberl,Martin Rudbeck Jepsen,Tobias Kuemmerle,Marcus Lindner,Daniel Müller,Peter H Verburg,Anette Reenberg

    Large knowledge gaps currently exist that limit our ability to understand and characterise dynamics and patterns of land-use intensity: in particular, a comprehensive conceptual framework and a system of measurement are lacking. This situation hampers the development of a sound understanding of the mechanisms, determinants, and constraints underlying changes in land-use intensity. On the basis of a review of approaches for studying land-use intensity, we propose a conceptual framework to quantify and analyse land-use intensity. This framework integrates three dimensions: (a) input intensity, (b) output intensity, and (c) the associated system-level impacts of land-based production (e.g. changes in carbon storage or biodiversity). The systematic development of indicators across these dimensions would provide opportunities for the systematic analyses of the trade-offs, synergies and opportunity costs of land-use intensification strategies.

  • The global technical potential of bio-energy in 2050 considering sustainability constraints.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2010-12-01
    Helmut Haberl,Tim Beringer,Sribas C Bhattacharya,Karl-Heinz Erb,Monique Hoogwijk

    Bio-energy, that is, energy produced from organic non-fossil material of biological origin, is promoted as a substitute for non-renewable (e.g., fossil) energy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and dependency on energy imports. At present, global bio-energy use amounts to approximately 50 EJ/yr, about 10% of humanity's primary energy supply. We here review recent literature on the amount of bio-energy that could be supplied globally in 2050, given current expectations on technology, food demand and environmental targets ('technical potential'). Recent studies span a large range of global bio-energy potentials from ≈30 to over 1000 EJ/yr. In our opinion, the high end of the range is implausible because of (1) overestimation of the area available for bio-energy crops due to insufficient consideration of constraints (e.g., area for food, feed or nature conservation) and (2) too high yield expectations resulting from extrapolation of plot-based studies to large, less productive areas. According to this review, the global technical primary bio-energy potential in 2050 is in the range of 160-270 EJ/yr if sustainability criteria are considered. The potential of bio-energy crops is at the lower end of previously published ranges, while residues from food production and forestry could provide significant amounts of energy based on an integrated optimization ('cascade utilization') of biomass flows.

  • Different ontologies: land change science and health research.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2013-10-01
    Joseph P Messina,William K Pan

    Land use and land cover (LULC) is now recognized as an important driver of disease. For emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases, LULC offers context and serves as a likely proximate driver of risk particularly when considering vector-borne or zoonotic diseases. Ontological differences embedded within disciplinary structures impede progress limiting the ultimate potential of both LULC data and land change theory within disease research. Geography, space, and time serve as effective complements to traditional health and place organizational and disease-research strategies. Improved systemic clarity is obtained if one orients the disease relationship to particular contexts and if the scales of the relationships are clearly defined.

  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services science for a sustainable planet: the DIVERSITAS vision for 2012-20.
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2012-02-01
    Anne Larigauderie,Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard,Georgina M Mace,Mark Lonsdale,Harold A Mooney,Lijbert Brussaard,David Cooper,Wolfgang Cramer,Peter Daszak,Sandra Díaz,Anantha Duraiappah,Thomas Elmqvist,Daniel P Faith,Louise E Jackson,Cornelia Krug,Paul W Leadley,Philippe Le Prestre,Hiroyuki Matsuda,Margaret Palmer,Charles Perrings,Mirjam Pulleman,Belinda Reyers,Eugene A Rosa,Robert J Scholes,Eva Spehn,Bl Turner,Tetsukazu Yahara

    DIVERSITAS, the international programme on biodiversity science, is releasing a strategic vision presenting scientific challenges for the next decade of research on biodiversity and ecosystem services: "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Science for a Sustainable Planet". This new vision is a response of the biodiversity and ecosystem services scientific community to the accelerating loss of the components of biodiversity, as well as to changes in the biodiversity science-policy landscape (establishment of a Biodiversity Observing Network - GEO BON, of an Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - IPBES, of the new Future Earth initiative; and release of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020). This article presents the vision and its core scientific challenges.

  • Transforming agribusiness in developing countries: SDGs and the role of FinTech
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-08-29
    Robert Hinson, Robert Lensink, Annika Mueller

    Transformation of agribusiness is critical in light of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. FinTech and the integration of FinTech with other (green) technologies as well as with digitized agriculture plays an important role when it comes to, for example, SDG 12, specifically, responsible production, as it can mitigate trade-offs and enhance synergies between environmental and social SDGs, for example, 1 and 15, increasing profitability without additional use of natural resources. Important limitations and risks need to be addressed, however, for developing countries to fully benefit from the potential that FinTech holds in this context. Mitigating factors include massive infrastructure investments and large-scale capacity building. Rigorous research on economic sustainability and cost-effectiveness of newer FinTech models is needed to make sound policy recommendations.

  • Integrated modelling and management of water resources: the ecosystem perspective on the nexus approach
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-08-23
    Stephan Hülsmann, Janez Sušnik, Karsten Rinke, Simon Langan, Dianneke van Wijk, Annette BG Janssen, Wolf M Mooij
  • Integrated nutrient recovery from source-separated domestic wastewaters for application as fertilisers
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-08-21
    Iemke Bisschops, Hamse Kjerstadius, Brendo Meulman, Miriam van Eekert
  • Why irrigation water pricing is not widely used
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-07-11
    Brian Davidson, Petra Hellegers, Regassa Ensermu Namara

    Despite its obvious advantages, pricing irrigation water is not widely practiced because it is not easy to deploy effectively. Water authorities require an understanding of the objectives they hope to gain from it, the performance different pricing instruments have and the preconditions that must be met to enable them to work. Also, pricing instruments work under assumptions that do not hold in an environment where multiple market failures exist and their introduction may lead to a number of unintended consequences those who operate irrigation systems never considered. The aim in this paper is to outline the difficulties that are associated with implementing pricing instruments in the irrigation sector.

  • CityLab reflections and evolutions: nurturing knowledge and learning for urban sustainability through co-production experimentation
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-07-05
    Christina Culwick, Carla-Leanne Washbourne, Pippin M.L. Anderson, Anton Cartwright, Zarina Patel, Warren Smit

    Applied research has evolved to play an important role in understanding and reorienting relationships between different knowledge partnerships in urban sustainability. This paper reflects on experiences from the global South on knowledge co-production experiments through ‘CityLabs’, which are forums for bringing together different knowledge brokers (particularly government and academia) to co-produce policy-relevant urban knowledge. Each CityLab experimented with different configurations to generate knowledge relevant for addressing urban sustainability challenges. This paper reflects on these experiences and identifies emerging common principles. These include: deliberate formulation of safe spaces, in which to engage, willingness for flexibility around the direction, focus and outputs, and carefully fostering trust and mutual understanding among participants. Urban experimentation, and CityLabs in particular, provide real opportunities for facilitating learning, reframing issues and shifting practices around urban sustainability between government and the academy.

  • A collaborative approach to bring insights from local observations of climate change impacts into global climate change research
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-05-19
    Victoria Reyes-García, David García-del-Amo, Petra Benyei, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Konstantina Gravani, André B Junqueira, Vanesse Labeyrie, Xiaoyue Li, Denise MS Matias, Alex McAlvay, Peter Graham Mortyn, Anna Porcuna-Ferrer, Anna Schlingmann, Ramin Soleymani-Fard

    Bringing insights from Indigenous and local knowledge into climate change research requires addressing the transferability, integration, and scalability of this knowledge. Using a review of research on place-based observations of climate change impacts, we explore ways to address these challenges. Our search mostly captured scientist-led qualitative research, which – while facilitating place-based knowledge transferability to global research – did not include locally led efforts documenting climate change impacts. We classified and organized qualitative multi-site place-based information into a hierarchical system that fosters dialogue with global research, providing an enriched picture of climate change impacts on local social-ecological systems. A network coordinating the scalability of place-based research on climate change impacts is needed to bring Indigenous and local knowledge into global research and policy agendas.

  • 更新日期:2019-05-18
  • From transdisciplinary projects to platforms: expanding capacity and impact of land systems knowledge and decision making
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-05-06
    Jonathan Morgan Grove, Steward TA Pickett

    Land system science can inform decision making to address societally important issues, including food, energy, and water security, livelihoods and lifestyles, biodiversity loss, and climate change. There is growing experience among scientists and practitioners with land systems as a transdisciplinary science. Most often, this experience has accumulated through short-term projects. However, there is a need for durable, long-term land system science platforms to address diverse types of complex, wicked problems, from immediate crises and emergencies over days and weeks; to sudden events over months and years; to extensive, pervasive, and subtle changes occurring over decades. In this paper, we offer a strategic framing of the issues and features for transdisciplinary land system science platforms that can be adapted and applied to local conditions.

  • Toward a normative land systems science
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-04-05
    Jonas Ø Nielsen, Ariane de Bremond, Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Cecilie Friis, Graciela Metternicht, Patrick Meyfroidt, Darla Munroe, Unai Pascual, Allison Thomson

    Science should provide solutions for societal transformations toward sustainability in the face of global environmental change. Land system science, as a systemic science focused on complex socio-ecological interactions around land use and associated trade-offs and synergies, is well placed to contribute to this agenda. This goal requires a stronger engagement with the normative implications of scientific practice, research topics, questions and results. We identify concerns as well as three concrete steps for land system science to more deeply contribute in normative issues. In particular, we encourage land system scientists to discuss explicitly the normative questions, values, perspectives and assumptions already present in our research, as well as to identify key normative research questions to contribute to societal transformations.

  • Hidden emissions of forest transitions: a socio-ecological reading of forest change
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-05-16
    Simone Gingrich, Christian Lauk, Maria Niedertscheider, Melanie Pichler, Anke Schaffartzik, Martin Schmid, Andreas Magerl, Julia Le Noë, Manan Bhan, Karlheinz Erb

    Achieving a global forest transition, that is, a shift from net deforestation to reforestation, is essential for climate change mitigation. However, both land-based climate change mitigation policy and research on forest transitions neglect key processes that relieve pressure from forests, but cause emissions elsewhere (‘hidden emissions’). Here, we identify three major causes of hidden emissions of forest transitions, that is, emissions from agricultural intensification, from woodfuel substitution, and from land displacement. Taken together, these emissions may compromise the climate change mitigation effect of national forest transitions. We propose to link analyses of hidden emissions of forest transitions with quantifications of full socio-ecological greenhouse-gas accounts and analyses of their politics. Such an integration allows for drawing lessons for effective and just climate change mitigation policies.

  • The political ecology of hydropower in the Mekong River Basin
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-03-18
    Kim Geheb, Diana Suhardiman

    Hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin is occurring at a rapid, though controversial pace, pitting a variety of stakeholder groups against each other at both intranational scale and international scale, and affecting state relations across scales. In this paper, we explore the narratives surrounding hydropower development in this basin, while referring to the concept of hydrosocial cycles as the central tool in our analysis. These look at the processes of socio-political construction of nature, viewing water as a medium that conveys power, and thus sources of both collaboration and conflict. While the Mekong hydropower narratives do, indeed, attempt to conflate the massive regulation of hydrological systems with large-scale social and economic ambitions, they are also intended to obscure a widespread and systemic effort to control and alienate the region’s waters via engineering at multiple scales.

  • Maintaining perspective of ongoing environmental change in the Mekong floodplains
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2019-02-27
    Mauricio E Arias, Gordon W Holtgrieve, Peng Bun Ngor, Thanh Duc Dang, Thanapon Piman

    The Mekong River remained hydrologically unregulated until recent decades and still harbors immense natural resources that are the basis of rural livelihoods. Research on how dams and climate change could alter the river has heightened in recent years, and while this research has led to important scientific concepts and increased discussion of sustainable development, it has done little to prevent the rapid environmental change in the Mekong floodplains of Cambodia and Vietnam. Meanwhile, localized drivers of floodplain change (including overfishing, deforestation, and water infrastructure development) are impacting the environment in faster and more direct ways, potentially exacerbating the negative effects of regional factors such as hydropower and climate change. Sustainable development of the basin must include comprehensive science and implementable policy programs that integrate across regional and local scales and focus on clearly defined societal and policy goals, collection of critical data, capacity building of in-region scientific and policy institutions, effective law enforcement, and adaptable implementation strategies.

  • Zero CO2 emissions for an ultra-large city by 2050: case study for Beijing
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-08
    Chenmin He, Kejun Jiang, Sha Chen, Weiyi Jiang, Jia Liu

    In order to reach the 1.5 °C target adopted by the Paris Agreement, the world must reduce CO2 emissions to zero by around 2050. In this paper, the Integrated Energy and Environment Policy Assessment Model for China (IPAC) modeling team analyzed the feasibility of this emission scenario for China, which is an important step in producing an effective action plan. We picked an ultra-large city to be a case study in order to understand the pathway to zero emissions by 2050 and to provide support for the national zero emissions scenario by 2050. Beijing is a growing city with rapid development in economic activities. This study evaluated the future development pattern for Beijing, and the possibility of it becoming a zero emissions city through a detailed analysis of its transport, building and industry sectors, as well as the space heating sector which is prominent in China's northern region. Key technology advances, such as the electric vehicle, zero-emissions space heating and carbon capture and storage (CCS) and so on, were studied to understand the feasibility of turning Beijing into a zero-emissions city by 2050, which is less than 35 years away. The IPAC model was used to quantify the emission scenario pathway for Beijing. The additional investment required by the energy industry was also obtained. Based on the results, zero carbon emissions in Beijing by 2050 is feasible.

  • Models for assessing engineered nanomaterial fate and behaviour in the aquatic environment
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-28
    Richard J Williams, Samuel Harrison, Virginie Keller, Jeroen Kuenen, Stephen Lofts, Antonia Praetorius, Claus Svendsen, Lucie C Vermeulen, Jikke van Wijnen

    Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs, material containing particles with at least one dimension less than 100 nm) are present in a range of consumer products and could be released into the environment from these products during their production, use or end-of-life. The high surface to volume ratio of nanomaterials imparts a high reactivity, which is of interest for novel applications but may raise concern for the environment. In the absence of measurement methods, there is a need for modelling to assess likely concentrations and fate arising from current and future releases. To assess the capability that exists to do such modelling, progress in modelling ENM fate since 2011 is reviewed. ENM-specific processes represented in models are mainly limited to aggregation and, in some instances, dissolution. Transformation processes (e.g. sulphidation), the role of the manufactured coatings, particle size distribution and particle form and state are still usually excluded. Progress is also being made in modelling ENMs at larger scales. Currently, models can give a reasonable assessment of the fate of ENMs in the environment, but a full understanding will likely require fuller inclusion of these ENM-specific processes.

  • Analysing trade-offs between SDGs related to water quality using salinity as a marker
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-20
    Martina Flörke, Ilona Bärlund, Michelle TH van Vliet, Alexander F Bouwman, Yoshihide Wada

    Salinisation can have different adverse impacts on water resources that are used for drinking, irrigation, or industrial purposes. In addition, salinisation in its turn is also strongly influenced by anthropogenic activities such as irrigation. This paper maps trade-offs between water quality (SDG 6.3) and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using salinisation as an example. Many interlinkages exist between SDG 6.3 and other SDGs as identified in the literature review part. These are however not yet fully addressed in studies applying a comprehensive systems approach or modelling frameworks. In order to find solution options for achieving a sustainable future the interlinkages between SDGs related to salinisation and its impacts need to be considered as they play a key role in mitigating impacts, prioritising measures for action and hence turning trade-offs into synergies.

  • Modeling water quality in the Anthropocene: directions for the next-generation aquatic ecosystem models
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-22
    Wolf M Mooij, Dianneke van Wijk, Arthur HW Beusen, Robert J Brederveld, Manqi Chang, Marleen MP Cobben, Don L DeAngelis, Andrea S Downing, Pamela Green, Alena S Gsell, Inese Huttunen, Jan H Janse, Annette BG Janssen, Geerten M Hengeveld, Xiangzhen Kong, Lilith Kramer, Jan J Kuiper, Simon J Langan, Sven Teurlincx

    “Everything changes and nothing stands still” (Heraclitus). Here we review three major improvements to freshwater aquatic ecosystem models — and ecological models in general — as water quality scenario analysis tools towards a sustainable future. To tackle the rapid and deeply connected dynamics characteristic of the Anthropocene, we argue for the inclusion of eco-evolutionary, novel ecosystem and social-ecological dynamics. These dynamics arise from adaptive responses in organisms and ecosystems to global environmental change and act at different integration levels and different time scales. We provide reasons and means to incorporate each improvement into aquatic ecosystem models. Throughout this study we refer to Lake Victoria as a microcosm of the evolving novel social-ecological systems of the Anthropocene. The Lake Victoria case clearly shows how interlinked eco-evolutionary, novel ecosystem and social-ecological dynamics are, and demonstrates the need for transdisciplinary research approaches towards global sustainability.

  • Pesticides in surface waters: from edge-of-field to global modelling
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-16
    Alessio Ippolito, Gabriella Fait
  • Modeling phosphorus in rivers at the global scale: recent successes, remaining challenges, and near-term opportunities
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-12
    John A Harrison, Arthur HW Beusen, Gabriel Fink, Ting Tang, Maryna Strokal, Alexander F Bouwman, Geneviève S Metson, Lauriane Vilmin

    Understanding and mitigating the effects of phosphorus (P) overenrichment of waters globally, including the evaluation of the global Sustainability Development Goals, requires the use of global models. Such models quantitatively link land use, global population growth and climate to aquatic nutrient loading and biogeochemical cycling. Here we describe, compare, and contrast the existing global models capable of predicting P transport by rivers at a global scale. We highlight important insights gained from the development and application of these models, and identify important near-term opportunities for model improvements as well as additional insight to be gained through new model analysis.

  • Model inter-comparison design for large-scale water quality models
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-08
    Michelle TH van Vliet, Martina Flörke, John A Harrison, Nynke Hofstra, Virginie Keller, Fulco Ludwig, J Emiel Spanier, Maryna Strokal, Yoshihide Wada, Yingrong Wen, Richard J Williams

    Several model inter-comparison projects (MIPs) have been carried out recently by the climate, hydrological, agricultural and other modelling communities to quantify modelling uncertainties and improve modelling systems. Here we focus on MIP design for large-scale water quality models. Water quality MIPs can be useful to improve our understanding of pollution problems and facilitate the development of harmonized estimates of current and future water quality. This can provide new opportunities for assessing robustness in estimates of water quality hotspots and trends, improve understanding of processes, pollution sources, water quality model uncertainties, and to identify priorities for water quality data collection and monitoring. Water quality MIP design should harmonize relevant model input datasets, use consistent spatial/temporal domains and resolutions, and similar output variables to improve understanding of water quality modelling uncertainties and provide harmonized water quality data that suit the needs of decision makers and other users.

  • Towards restoring urban waters: understanding the main pressures
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-08
    Sven Teurlincx, Jan J Kuiper, Ellen CM Hoevenaar, Miquel Lurling, Robert J Brederveld, Annelies J Veraart, Annette BG Janssen, Wolf M Mooij, Lisette N de Senerpont Domis

    Water bodies in the urban landscape are omnipresent, with many being small, lentic waters such as ponds and lakes. Because of high anthropogenic forcing, these systems have poor water quality, with large consequences for the provisioning of ecosystem services. Understanding of the main pressures on urban water quality is key to successful management. We identify six pressures that we hypothesize to have strong links to anthropogenic forcing including: eutrophication, aquatic invasive species, altered hydrology, altered habitat structure, climate change, and micropollutants. We discuss how these pressures may affect water quality and ecological functioning of urban waters. We describe how these pressures may interact, posing challengers for water management. We identify steps that need to be taken towards sustainable restoration, recognizing the challenges that potentially interacting pressures pose to water managers.

  • Bridging global, basin and local-scale water quality modeling towards enhancing water quality management worldwide
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-07
    Ting Tang, Maryna Strokal, Michelle T.H. van Vliet, Piet Seuntjens, Peter Burek, Carolien Kroeze, Simon Langan, Yoshihide Wada

    Global water quality (WQ) modeling is an emerging field. In this article, we identify the missing linkages between global and basin/local-scale WQ models, and discuss the possibilities to fill these gaps. We argue that WQ models need stronger linkages across spatial scales. This would help to identify effective scale-specific WQ management options and contribute to future development of global WQ models. Two directions are proposed to improve the linkages: nested multiscale WQ modeling towards enhanced water management, and development of next-generation global WQ models based-on basin/local-scale mechanistic understanding. We highlight the need for better collaboration among WQ modelers and policy-makers in order to deliver responsive water policies and management strategies across scales.

  • Priorities for developing a modelling and scenario analysis framework for waterborne pathogen concentrations in rivers worldwide and consequent burden of disease
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-11
    Nynke Hofstra, Lucie C. Vermeulen, Julia Derx, Martina Flörke, Javier Mateo-Sagasta, Joan Rose, Gertjan Medema

    Diarrhoea caused by waterborne pathogens still has a large burden of disease. We introduce a modelling and scenario analysis framework that enables better understanding of sources of and possible future changes in the disease burden due to environmental change and management implementation. The state-of-the-art research that can contribute to the development of the framework at the large scale is analysed, together with research gaps and opportunities for future research. Priorities have been identified and these include implementation of Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment and application of the models in scenario analyses. The credibility of the model outputs should be central in the analysis, for example by developing stochastic models. Implementation of the framework contributes towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Agricultural water pollution: key knowledge gaps and research needs
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-10-25
    Alexandra EV Evans, Javier Mateo-Sagasta, Manzoor Qadir, Eline Boelee, Alessio Ippolito
  • Towards a global model for wetlands ecosystem services
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-10-13
    Jan H. Janse, Anne A. van Dam, Edwin M.A. Hes, Jeroen J.M. de Klein, C. Max Finlayson, Annette B.G. Janssen, Dianneke van Wijk, Wolf M. Mooij, Jos T.A. Verhoeven
  • How to model algal blooms in any lake on earth
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-09-25
    Annette BG Janssen, Jan H Janse, Arthur HW Beusen, Manqi Chang, John A Harrison, Inese Huttunen, Xiangzhen Kong, Jasmijn Rost, Sven Teurlincx, Tineke A Troost, Dianneke van Wijk, Wolf M Mooij
  • Can relational values be developed and changed? Investigating relational values in the environmental education literature
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-28
    Natália Britto dos Santos, Rachelle K Gould

    The possible dynamism of relational values is of extreme interest to sustainability scholars and practitioners, yet the fledging field of relational values has seen few research on whether interventions of any kind affect the relational values that people hold and express. Other fields that study related topics can provide insight into this question. This paper investigates how the field of environmental education has addressed relational values, without labelling them as such. Results demonstrate that recent environmental education literature explores different types of relational values. Connectedness was the most common relational values construct present, but its definition was not always clear. The environmental education literature provides evidence that relational values can be dynamic – that they may change after interventions such as environmental education programs. We argue that research at the intersection of environmental education and relational values may benefit both fields.

  • Relational values in evaluations of upstream social outcomes of watershed Payment for Ecosystem Services: a review
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-23
    Leah L Bremer, Kate A Brauman, Sara Nelson, Kelly Meza Prado, Eric Wilburn, Ana Carolina O Fiorini

    Relational values associated with meaningful and just human–environment relationships (e.g. care and responsibility) have been proposed as motivating ‘upstream’ participation in Payments for Watershed Services (PWS). However, the way relational values are affected by and interact with PWS remains poorly understood. We reviewed 50 studies of social outcomes of PWS and found that approximately half assessed or discussed relational values. This included changes in relational values presented positively, such as amplifying values and norms around care for land; negatively, such as undermining traditional practices and intergenerational learning; and influencing other outcomes, such as links between land ties and human health. To improve understanding of the full suite of outcomes linked to the effectiveness, durability, and equity of PWS, we propose a research agenda based on locally-based relational value systems that include, for example, place-based conceptualizations of responsibility, care, and relation to the natural world.

  • Relational values in agroecosystem governance
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-22
    Karen E Allen, Courtney E Quinn, Chambers English, John E Quinn

    Understanding farmers’ values regarding biodiversity conservation, and how these values inform land use decisions within and around farms is essential because of the amount of land under agricultural production regionally and globally. New research within the emerging context of relational values offers a nuanced perspective that can deepen our understanding of farmer values and subsequent decision making, with direct applications to agricultural policy. Here we provide an initial review of some of the relational values articulated for agricultural systems associated with biodiversity conservation in a diverse literature. We illustrate that these relational values are complex, contribute to the maintenance of multifunctional landscapes, and frequently do not adequately intersect with current conservation policy. We use the literature to identify new areas of conservation biology and sustainability science research that might bridge this gap by understanding farmer’s values in relation to conservation policy in multifunctional agricultural landscapes.

  • Relational values in environmental assessment: the social context of environmental impact
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-15
    Emily Grubert

    Relational values, or values that people hold on the basis of their relationships and responsibilities to society and the broader environment, are increasingly recognized as deeply important to human understanding of what is acceptable. This review argues that given that environmental impacts are mediated by relational values, in the sense that such values have a major effect on how impacts are experienced, environmental assessment processes designed to support infrastructure decisions should consider relational values explicitly. Currently, formal environmental assessment tools generally do not explicitly include societal values other than instrumental financial valuations, though the assessment community increasingly recognizes their significance. The environmental social sciences and humanities have produced substantial scholarship on relational values in communities experiencing environmental change, which can inform integration with environmental assessment.

  • Relational values about nature in protected area research
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-22
    Alta De Vos, Carlos Bezerra Joana, Roux Dirk

    Protected areas are increasingly expected to justify their existence in terms of their importance to society. However, this importance, and the complex ways in which people relate to protected areas, cannot be captured by instrumental and intrinsic value framings alone. Rather, our understanding of the role of protected areas in society needs to take account of people’s relational values about nature. Here we review the literature on values associated with human-nature connection and related concepts to highlight which approaches are currently being used to understand expressions of relational values in empirical protected area research. Our results highlights seven ‘application domains’ for relational values research, highlighting expressions of relational values, and the stakeholder focus of each. Place-focused and psychological theories were most common across these domains. This work represents a first step in developing the foundations of a relational value research agenda in protected areas.

  • Connecting ‘relational values’ and relational landscape approaches
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-14
    Marie Stenseke

    The introduction of the concept ‘relational values’ into sustainability sciences brings valuation research closer to other academic strands interested in the physical side of human–environment interactions, such as the field of relational thinking in landscape research. In this article, how the physical environment is handled thus far in the evolving concept ‘relational values’ is reviewed, and related to insights gained in research based on relational landscape approaches. In the article it is argued that while the emerging idea of ‘relational values’ has the potential to significantly influence policies as well as concrete management, insights from landscape research improve the understanding of place-based human–environment interactions, the dynamics in these interactions and possibilities and challenges in stewardship and public participation. Recognizing the need to continuously reconsider how humans connect to their physical environment, includes nuancing identifications of who is related to a specific place.

  • Listening to relational values in the era of rapid environmental change in the Inuit Nunangat
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-14
    Megan Sheremata

    Relational values have the potential to facilitate the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in environmental governance. This paper explores relational values as discussed in studies pertaining to Inuit knowledge in Canada. Relational values foster a greater appreciation of the role of nature in Inuit lives. Paying attention to relational values may facilitate the inclusion of culturally-specific narratives pertinent to the priorities of Indigenous peoples in decision-making. Relational values may also add context to complex, cross-cutting issues, and help set the foundation for transdisciplinary exchange on a number of key themes pertinent to Inuit, and potentially other Indigenous peoples.

  • Reciprocity, redistribution and relational values: organizing and motivating sustainable agriculture
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-24
    Kristal Jones, Daniel Tobin

    This paper integrates historical and contemporary theorizations of relational values in both people–nature and people–people relationships, in order to further develop concepts used to analyze how values are embedded in systems of human–environment interactions. We focus on people–people relational values that can motivate sustainable agricultural practices, projects and systems by drawing on Polanyi’s articulation of substantive economics, and the distinction between the principles that organize economic systems and the ability of those systems to express multiple types of values. We apply these concepts to characterize how relational values are operationalized within sustainable agriculture projects, and we review how descriptions of such projects in the literature characterize their organizing principles and specific values. Our review suggests that instrumental and relational values can coexist within a single system, and we argue that it is the values, and not the organizing principles of the system, that determine potential impacts of agricultural sustainability.

  • Relational values from a cultural valuation perspective: how can sociology contribute to the evaluation of ecosystem services?
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-17
    Hiroe Ishihara

    Some authors have recently suggested a broadened perspective for the ecosystem services approach to include nature’s contribution to people and relational values. This paper aims to develop the notion of relational values further by bringing in theoretical contributions from sociology: namely, the recursive relationship between structure and individual cultural practices, especially the notion of ‘habitus’ developed by Bourdieu. It argues that just as culture is shared and internalised as habitus, so too are relational values. Further, it reveals that the internalisation leads not only to the reproduction of routine cultural practices at the individual level but also to the establishment of new individual cultural practices contributing to structural change. The paper argues that symbolic power plays a key role in the sharing and internalisation process. With these sociological arguments, the paper aims to incorporate contribution from social theory, often ignored in the previous literature, and to enrich the ecosystem services literature.

  • From moral ecology to diverse ontologies: relational values in human ecological research, past and present
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-19
    Alder Keleman Saxena, Deepti Chatti, Katy Overstreet, Michael R Dove

    While ‘relational values’ constitute an emerging theory in environmental ethics, they hold important continuities with the broader human-ecological social sciences. Human ecology, particularly as developed by qualitative research, has long considered the environment in relational terms. Core findings of this field underscore that ‘humans’ and ‘nature’ must not be held conceptually distinct from each other; that human communities’ use of and interaction with environmental resources are mediated by social values, which sometimes outweigh economic concerns; and that value systems concerning the environment are neither static, nor isolated from larger cultural value frameworks. More recent theoretical developments in materialism, ontology, and multispecies ethnography expand the scope of socio-environmental inquiry, offering avenues for moving beyond anthropocentric approaches to human-environment relations. Three elements of social science-based human-ecological research are indispensable to the relational values conversation: qualitative, immersive fieldwork; an emphasis on language; and acknowledging the possibility of incommensurability among knowledge and value systems.

  • Stephen Kellert’s development and contribution of relational values in social-ecological systems
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-08
    Helen Ross, Katherine Witt, Natalie A Jones

    Relational values add a vital yet neglected dimension to explain the ‘coupling’ processes between humans and nature in social-ecological systems. We highlight the late Stephen Kellert’s seminal contribution to the study of relational values, in the context of later contributions in this field. Kellert’s set of nine, later ten, values were strongly founded in empirical research over several decades with wildlife and landscapes, in the USA and other countries. The values are related to the ‘biophilia hypothesis’- that humans have innate connections with nature. This review explains the development and innovation of Kellert’s framework, taking a critical view of the methods and subject matter on which it is based, and its contribution to the study of social-ecological systems.

  • Relational value, partnership, eudaimonia: a review
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-19
    Luuk Knippenberg, Wouter T de Groot, Riyan JG van den Born, Paul Knights, Barbara Muraca

    In this paper we firstly draw on empirical research to argue that relational values are prime drivers in conservation action and strongly present in the wider public, and further show that they are central to much religious thought. We next clarify the conceptual relations of relational values to both constitutive value and intrinsic value, arguing that relationships with nature have constitutive value and that intrinsic value can reside in the relational triads of humans, nature and their relationship. Lastly, we show that partnership with nature (emphasizing intensity, harmony and space in the humans-nature relationship) and nature-inclusive eudaimonia (emphasizing how relationships with nature can be a central constituent of a flourishing human life) represent two ways in which relational values can crystalize and inspire conservation action.

  • Stewardship, care and relational values
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-05
    Simon West, L Jamila Haider, Vanessa Masterson, Johan P Enqvist, Uno Svedin, Maria Tengö
  • Caring for nature matters: a relational approach for understanding nature’s contributions to human well-being
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-12
    Kurt Jax, Melania Calestani, Kai MA Chan, Uta Eser, Hans Keune, Barbara Muraca, Liz O’Brien, Thomas Potthast, Lieske Voget-Kleschin, Heidi Wittmer

    Ecosystem services frameworks effectively assume that nature’s contributions to human well-being derive from people receiving benefits from nature. At the same time, efforts (money, time, or energy) for conservation, restoration or stewardship are often considered costs to be minimized. But what if caring for nature is itself an essential component of human well-being? Taking up and developing the concept of relational values, we explore the idea that well-being cannot be reduced to the reception of benefits, and that instead much derives from positive agency including caring for nature. In this paper, we ask specifically, first, how can ‘care’ be conceptualized with respect to nature, second, how does caring for nature matter both to protecting nature and to people’s well-being, and third, what are the implications for research and practice? We describe the theoretical background, drawing especially from (eco)feminist philosophy, and explore its (mostly) implicit uses in the conservation literature. Based on this analysis we propose a preliminary framework of caring for nature and discuss its potential to enrich the spectrum of moral relations to/with nature. We explore both its consequences for environmental research and for the practice of conservation.

  • Quantifying relational values — why not?
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-17
    Christopher Schulz, Julia Martin-Ortega

    Relational values have recently emerged as a novel concept for research on human-environment relationships, seeking to understand ethical principles that may foster environmental stewardship, coupled with a recognition of nature’s contributions to people. At present, most empirical research on relational values uses qualitative methods. Here we review some of the reasons that may have contributed to the lack of quantitative research, besides noting that a lot of existing quantitative empirical research on human-environment relationships already deals with relational values, even if it does not use that terminology. We suggest that incorporating quantitative approaches into the methodological toolkit of relational values research has a number of benefits: First, it contributes to the empirical evidence base testing hypotheses and assumptions emerging from qualitative and conceptual work. Second, it may help identifying core relational values shared across cultures, and this way improve communication and cooperation across different cultures. Third, it may improve the political legitimacy of environmental decision-making via statistically representative measurements of public views. Complementing qualitative with quantitative approaches for relational values research is also in the spirit of integrated valuation and value pluralism.

  • A typology of elementary forms of human-nature relations: a contribution to the valuation debate
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-11-14
    Roldan Muradian, Unai Pascual

    This article aims to contribute to the debate about the role of relational values in environmental decision making, by putting forward a typology of ‘human-nature relational models’. We argue that human-nature relational models, which stress the notion of cognitive frameworks, can be useful to understand core drivers of individual and social behavior that underlie environmental change and socio-environmental conflicts. A ‘relational models’ approach calls for taking into consideration the diversity of cognitive frameworks conditioning our interaction with nature, with the ultimate goal of avoiding, mitigating, transforming and resolving socio-environmental conflicts and achieving a wiser relationship with the natural environment.

  • Relational values: the key to pluralistic valuation of ecosystem services
    Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain (IF 4.258) Pub Date : 2018-10-22
    Austin Himes, Barbara Muraca

    Multiple frameworks have recently been proposed adopting relational values as a new domain of value articulation distinct from the dichotomy of intrinsic and instrumental values that has dominated environmental ethics for decades. In this article, we distinguish between the innate relationality of all evaluative process and relational values as the content of valuation which is a new and fruitful category for expressing the importance of specific relationships people hold with non-human nature. We examine the concept of relational values used in recent frameworks and propose a simple conceptualization with clear distinctions between relational, instrumental, and intrinsic (inherent moral) values. We argue that as a new category of value articulation, relational values provide conceptual and empirical insights that the intrinsic/instrumental value dichotomy fails to deliver. Finally, we draw on theoretical and empirical research to show why a clear distinction between instrumental and non-instrumental relational values is important for environmental conservation, sustainability, and social justice.

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上海纽约大学William Glover