(2012), "Books and resources", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijshe.2012.24913aaa.004Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Books and resources
Article Type: Books and resources From: International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Volume 13, Issue 1
What is Sustainable Technology? Perceptions, Paradoxes and Possibilities
By Karel Mulder, Didac Ferrer, Harro van LenteGreenleaf PublishingSheffieldSeptember 2011US$75.00256 pp.ISBN 1906093504
Designers of technology have a major responsibility in the current age. Their designs can have tremendous effects on society, in both the short and the long term. In fact, sustainable development itself has all the characteristics of a design project, albeit a vast one. But a failed product design here will be not just be unsuccessful in the market it will have far-reaching consequences. It is our common responsibility to make the project successful.
Technology has played an important role in creating the problems that we now face; but it will also play an important role in solving them. But this does not mean the technological fix will be easy. How do we allocate resources and attention when there are myriad issues under the umbrella of sustainable development currently in competition with one another? How do we arrive at precise specifications for the sustainable technologies that are to be developed and, furthermore, reach consensus on these specifications? What if our sustainable technological solutions aggravate other problems or create new ones? And, because sustainable development is all about the long-term consequences of our actions, how do we assess the effects of modifying existing landscapes, infrastructures and patterns of life? How could we be sure in advance that the changes that new technologies bring will make our society more sustainable?
The book defends the view that sometimes the claim that a technology is sustainable is made, in order to make the technology acceptable in the political process, as in the case of nuclear energy production, where the claims of sustainability refer to the absence of CO2 emissions. In the case of biofuels, claims of sustainability have led to a fuel or food debate, showing that sustainability has counteracting articulations. And the well-known rebound effect is observed when increased resource efficiency can create a stimulus for consumption. Finally, the authors reflect on future options for the sustainable technology designer. They argue that an important first step is an awareness of the multitude of sustainable development challenges that play a role in production, use, recycling and end-of-life disposal.
Researching Sustainability: A Guide to Social Science Methods, Practice and Engagement
Edited by Alex Franklin and Paul BlytonEarthscanLondonMay 2011£29.99384 pp.ISBN 9781849711227
This book is meant for students and researchers across the social sciences who are planning, conducting and disseminating research on sustainability-related issues. Real-world sustainability problems cross many boundaries.
The book seeks to guide students and practitioners through the practical and theoretical challenges of doing interdisciplinary research to understand and address these problems. It contains many in-depth, “hands on” accounts by expert contributors, providing real-life examples and lessons that can be put to use immediately. Coverage includes:
The general challenges that sustainability presents to researchers, including frictions between sustainability and scientific tradition, complexity, research paradigms, interdisciplinarity, social-environmental interactions, and ethical concerns.
A range of social science-based research methods and approaches (each chapter presents a different method, its challenges and suitability for different situations, an in-depth example of the method in action, and insights and lessons).
Dissemination of sustainability research findings, including influencing policy, communicating with school children and working with the media.
The book concludes with a critical synthesis of issues and methods examined in the book together with a discussion of future research pathways.
Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainability
Edited By Geoffrey Lawrence, Kristen Lyons and Tabatha WallingtonEarthscanLondonNovember 2010£65.00320 pp.ISBN 9781844077755
As the threats of food insecurity loom ever larger, the world faces the sad irony of food shortages in the global South alongside a purported “obesity epidemic” in the global North. The twin issues of food production and food access are of particular concern in the context of climate change, “peak oil”, biofuels and land grabs by wealthy nations.
This book, edited by Geoffrey Lawrence, Kristen Lyons and Tabatha Wallington, seeks to offer critical insights from international scholars, with chapters on global food security, supermarket power, new technologies and sustainability. The book assesses the contributions of diet and nutrition research in building socially just and environmentally sustainable food systems and provides policy recommendations to improve the health and environmental status of contemporary agri-food systems. The book features contributions from a range of social science perspectives, including sociology, anthropology, public health and geography, with case study material drawn from throughout the world.
University Reform in an Era of Global Warming
By C.A. BowersEco-Justice Press, LLCEugene, ORJuly 2011US$11.00195 pp.ISBN 0966037049
This book is especially timely for reasons related to the current efforts on the part of several national organizations to promote sustainability reforms in courses in all academic disciplines. The American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education is in the forefront of this reform effort. Replacing an inefficient campus infrastructures was easy when compared to the challenges of engaging faculty in discussions of how the content of their courses continue to reinforce the deep cultural assumptions that gave conceptual direction to the individualistic/consumer-dependent lifestyle that that is now widely recognized as unsustainable.
The chapters address a number of especially daunting challenges, with the main one being that many faculty who were graduate students in the last decades of the twentieth century continue to think within the same conceptual frameworks they acquired from their mentors. Their mentors were unaware of environmental limits, as well as the metaphorical nature of language that reproduces the ecologically problematic cultural assumptions that, in turn, have become part of today’s students’ taken for granted. Several chapters address such limitations of these twentieth century conceptual frameworks as the way academic freedom in now being used by many faculty in the social sciences, humanities, and professional schools to justify ignoring not only the ecological crisis, and the failure to ask whether such traditional areas of inquiry, such as the thinking of Western philosophers and other abstract theorists, will be useful to students as they face the life-changing environmental impacts of climate change.
Myths and Realities of Business Environmentalism – Good Works, Good Business or Greenwash?
By Kurt A. StrasserEdward ElgarCheltenhamJune 2011£58.50224 pp.ISBN 9781849800662
Many businesses profess to be voluntarily taking steps to protect the environment, and going beyond compliance with environmental regulations to do so. Kurt Strasser evaluates these claims in this timely and cutting-edge inquiry.
The author begins by analyzing whether firms with business environmentalism programs have better environmental performance records than others. He finds that the record is mixed and complex. Yet these kinds of programs are important, he argues, even if to date they have been only partially successful. He goes on to explore what policies should be adopted to promote and channel business environmentalism. The book concludes with a case study of the business community’s efforts to mitigate climate change.
A nuanced look at an issue of growing concern, this volume will be of great value to anyone concerned with corporate social responsibility, whether it be from a law, business, NGO or government perspective.