Principles to avoid policy paralysis

Global environmental change challenges are to their nature complex, and complexity seems to be somewhat of a buzzword in contemporary sustainability science. But too much focus on complex interactions can create a hurdle for appropriate policy decisions and even cause an uncertainty paralysis, signified by a failure to act even in the face of looming threats. Fret not, however, in a new article in the…

Karl-Göran Mäler 1939-2020

Professor emeritus Karl-Göran Mäler passed away 20 May 2020, at the age of 81. He was one of the founders and the first director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and a pioneering world leading environmental economist. He was an intellectual giant, mentor and dear friend to colleagues at the Beijer Institute and around the world.   Karl-Göran’s curiosity and continuous wish to understand…

Conceptualizing a Sustainable Food System in an Automated World: Toward a “Eudaimonian” Future

The industrialized world has entered a new era of widespread automation, and although this may create long-term gains in economic productivity and wealth accumulation, many professions are expected to disappear during the ensuing shift, leading to potentially significant disruptions in labor markets and associated socioeconomic difficulties. Food production, like many other industrial sectors, has also undergone a century of mechanization, having moved toward increasingly large-scale…

The water and diamond paradox and green NNP as a welfare indicator

A classical structure that is used to analyze the water and diamond paradox provides an intuitive underpinning to the modern theory of welfare measurement in a growth context. John Law’s and Adam Smith’s concepts of value-in-use and value-in-exchange have modern aggregated counterparts. Complemented with Dupuit’s extension in terms of a utility function with a declining marginal utility, they are close to enough to provide the…

A social contract with the ancestors—Culture and ecosystem services in southern Madagascar

We investigate the role of culture in sustaining essential ecosystem services in the arid and erratic climate of an agropastoral landscape in southern Madagascar. Our fieldwork and interviews in Ambovombe subprefecture in Androy addressed land use, agropastoralism, livelihood, institutions and their moral basis. Our analysis points to the interdependence of cultural practices and ecosystem services: sacred forests, crop pollination, subsistence farming, cattle economy and societal…

Remote Sensing and Ethnobotanical Assessment of the Mangrove Forest Changes in the Navachiste-San Ignacio-Macapule Lagoon Complex, Sinaloa, Mexico

The present study focuses on the Navachiste-San Ignacio-Macapule lagoon complex in northwest Mexico and evaluates the spatiotemporal change in the mangrove area over the last three decades using Landsat MSS and TM imagery. Local ethnobotanical uses of the mangrove forest and local perceptions about the status and recent development of the mangrove forest cover are also analyzed. The results of interviews with 54 inhabitants of…

An urban ecology critique on the “Smart City” model

The aim of this letter is to raise some critical concerns and gaps in the booming literature on Smart Cities; concerns that we think deserve greater attention from scientists, policy makers and urban planners. Using an urban ecology lens, we provide some reflections that need to forgo any wider-scale implementation of the Smart City-model with the goal to enhance urban sustainability. We discuss that the…