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Edited by Fausto O. Sarmiento and Larry M. Frolich

With contributions from top geographers, this Companion frames sustainability as exemplar of transdisciplinary science (critical geography) while improving future scenarios, debating perspectives between rich North/poor South, modern urban/backwards rural, and everything in between. The Companion has five sections that carry the reader from foundational considerations to integrative trends, to resources use and accommodation, to examples highlighting non-traditional pathways, to a postscript about cooperation of the industrialized Earth and a prognosis of the road ahead for the new geographies of sustainability.
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E.C.H. Keskitalo and B.L. Preston

As a conclusion, this chapter synthesizes common findings regarding what enables or constrains adaptation, including issues associated with specificsectors or geographies, scale, and extent of adaptation policy implementation (what has enabledadaptation to progress beyond policy formulation to implementation). The chapter also considers the challenges arising from continued use of a linear model for decision-making that focuses on addressing perceived knowledge deficits associated with climate change, but neglects other barriers arising from social, cultural, institutional and political system factors. Furthermore, the chapter argues for the need for broader integration of various perspectives from social and, in particular, policy studies to comprehend adaptation (and mitigation) policy challenges.

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Edited by E. C.H. Keskitalo and B. L. Preston

This topical and engaging Research Handbook illustrates the variety of research approaches in the field of climate change adaptation policy in order to provide a guide to its social and institutional complexity.
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Edited by Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton

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Edited by Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton

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Edited by Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton

The understanding of global environmental management problems is best achieved through transdisciplinary research lenses that combine scientific and other sector (industry, government, etc.) tools and perspectives. However, developing effective research teams that cross such boundaries is difficult. This book demonstrates the importance of transdisciplinarity, describes challenges to such teamwork, and provides solutions for overcoming these challenges. It includes case studies of transdisciplinary teamwork, showing how these solutions have helped groups to develop better understandings of environmental problems and potential responses.
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Global Environmental Governance and Small States

Architectures and Agency in the Caribbean

Michelle Scobie

Global Environmental Governance gives the perspectives of small states on some of the most important issues of the anthropocene, from trade, climate change and energy security to tourism, marine governance, and heritage. Providing an in depth analysis of global environmental governance and its impact on Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS) Michelle Scobie explores which dynamics and contexts influence current policy and future environmental outcomes for one of the most biodiverse regions of the planet.
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Joe Williams

This chapter argues that the development of large-scale seawater desalination over the last two decades has been intimately linked to the privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of water services in general, and urban water in particular. It contends that a desalination “plant” should be more accurately understood as a desalination “factory”, which creates a manufactured product (potable water) in a pre-arranged quantity and with a pre-specified quality. The chapter provides a detailed analysis of the convoluted development of desalination as a decentralised and local water supply for San Diego, California. It focuses on two plants on the North American Pacific coast: the 189 ML/day Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County, which opened in 2015; and a larger facility currently under construction south of the US-Mexico border at Rosarito Beach, Baja California, which is heralded as the first ever “binational” seawater desalination project. My core contention here is that desalination is emerging as an important technology in political and ideological shift towards the neoliberalisation of municipal water supply.

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Suraya Scheba and Andreas Scheba

Desalination is being adopted in South Africa as an emergency ‘quick fix’ to drought crisis. Despite public opposition over potential social and ecological negative effects, small- and large-scale desalination plants are growing in numbers across the country. In this chapter we use a relational Marxist ontology and draw on the case of desalination adoption in the Knysna Local Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa, to argue that proponents’ representation of the drought as nature-induced, urgent and devoid of history created the political space for desalination technology to emerge as the best solution. Powerful actors used a range of communication and legal tools to discursively produce the drought–desalination assemblage, which resulted in the material manifestation of the technology. We then trace the historical materiality of the drought–desalination assemblage to counter the dominant narrative, providing instead an alternative explanation of how human and non-human actors produced the crisis materially.

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Maria Christina Fragkou

Desalinated water production has been celebrated by some as a solution to water scarcity and the barriers this means for social and economic development, as it produces water from an infinite source, the sea. Political ecology studies on the other hand, have now long been concerned by the possible social implications of this technique, but without any tangible evidence so far. In this chapter I critically analyse how the production of desalinated water for human consumption has permitted the growth of the mining sector in the world’s main copper supplier, the Chilean region of Antofagasta, while undermining the quality of life for the urban residents who consume it. The results are based on a survey which examined the perception of potable water quality and the uses of tap water in households, over 10 years after the plant´s functioning. Drawing on these, I demonstrate that the gradual introduction of desalinated water in the city’s metabolism has deepened existing socio-ecological inequalities within an already heavily segregated city, and has failed in overcoming tap water quality concerns for the residents of Antofagasta, maintaining perceptual and economic water scarcities, especially for lower-class households. These analyses do not only advance findings on desalination’s social impacts on the urban scale, but also disclose the importance of examining urban water inequalities at the household level, as the formation of daily practices and uses of tap water generate unequal conditions for urban dwellers, which cannot be grasped by city-wide analyses, usual in the urban political ecology tradition.