Conference Agenda

Session
RN12_05b: Environmental Perception, Consciousness, and Action
Time:
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Ana Horta, University of Lisbon
Location: BS.3.22
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

Presentations

Resource Extraction in Germany–Survival of Which Technological Future?

Martin David, Henriette Rutjes, Alena Bleicher

Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UfZ, Germany

This paper focusses on two former German mining areas (Harz and Ore Mountain region) and discusses technological trajectories developing around scientific resource extraction projects aiming to restart more sustainable modes of resource extraction. It is asked to what degree these developments can be classified survival. Based on qualitative interview data, the paper assumes that the end of German metal mining 30 years ago was and still is a highly controversial process which, at the same time, substantially pushes sociotechnical innovation. The paper draws from the conceptual idea of Norbert Elias’ survival units and identifies three main points to explain quite distinctive inherent technological trajectories of both regions. First, technological development strategies towards more sustainable forms of resource extraction are a form of self-constraint and a product of learning from past environmental pressures originating from primary mining; one strategy is invisibilizing primary mining, the other is the recovery of resources from waste streams. Second, self-legitimation for R&D activities is strongly fueled by narratives about negative effects of ceasing mining in the past; these processes occurred quit differently in the respective regions. Third, the construction of innovative, more sustainable resource futures depends on knowledge co-created by publics, administrations, research and industries from a past which should actually be overcome. The paper reveals that the inherent controversial design of the end of mining 30 years ago still determines how the impetus towards the future might enfold in each region. Furthermore, and in line with works on ecological modernization, the paper reveals that ecological survival is always the survival of local technology developers and that both normative ends cannot be separated.



Toward Proactive Environmental Action: Evidence from China’s EMS Adopters

Yuan Zheng Li

Université Laval, Canada

Two decades ago, ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management was introduced in China. Today, the country has become the world’s largest ISO 14001 adopter. What are the impacts of environmental management system (EMS) on other corporate environmental practices? This communication aims to offer some elements of the answer through examining relationships between EMS and various environmental actions. Based on primary and secondary sources including interviews, participant observations, and surveys conducted in the Pearl River Delta, known as “factory of the world”, our study applies ecological modernization theory and the Porter hypothesis to identify firm-specific and contextual factors influencing environmental measures undertaken in over 100 firms in fifteen industry sectors between 2012 and 2016. A matrix consisting of four types of combinations in adopting EMS derived from our comparative analysis among adopters and non-adopters. The more the surveyed firms engaging in EMS, the more likely they initiated concrete measures. The sampled companies establishing both ISO14001 and in-house EMS (type IE) were forerunners in taking initiatives. However, environmental practices among adopters ranged from minimal measures to more proactive actions. Evidence shows that a standardized framework has generated heterogeneous outcomes despite similar industrial activities, environmental impacts, and organizational attributes such as size and ownership. Our findings suggest that adopters may have different corporate strategies and organizational capacities that affect levels of environmental commitment, time, and resources invested to go beyond EMS application and produce further environmental actions.



Local Values Versus Urban Growth: Living Nearby Riga Port

Kristine Abolina1, Janis Daugavietis2, Agnese Zile-Veisberga2

1University of Latvia, Latvia; 2Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia

While the concept of degrowth is becoming more and more popular for individual lifestyle (zero waste lifestyle, etc), still powerful growth paradigm continues to re-shape the urban space in Riga, Latvia, from city as home to city as resource for economic activities. This paper focuses on Riga city neighborhoods next to the port where different kinds of pollution are higher than in other parts of city. The following research questions are analysed: A) do local inhabitants living nearby port feel like at home in their neighborhood? B) Which activities and services are meeting points for local community? C) does the Riga city development plan (2018-2030) and growth processes (like hypermarkets versus small shops) respect local inhabitants’ values that are important for them in the neighborhood? For analysis data from Riga city development plan, municipal and project “Living next to the port” surveys of local inhabitants as well as interviews and field studies are used.



Mental Wellbeing, Air Pollution And The Ecological State

Paola Eleonora Signoretta1, Veerle Buffel2, Piet Bracke3

1Loughborough, United Kingdom; 2Ku Leuven; 3Ghent University

The ecological State places environmental considerations at the core of its activities. To explores its role in the association between air pollution and mental wellbeing, we turn to a hierarchical three-level analysis on the third wave (2011-2012) of the European Quality of Life Survey (Ncitizens = 25007, Nregions=216, Ncountries=20) while the geographical focus is on regions and countries of the European Union. We use an established classification of Environmental Governance Regimes - viz. established, partial, emerging and other environmental States - subjective and objective indicators of air pollution, and the WHO-5 index of mental wellbeing. The findings show that the perception of major air pollution troubles and worse mental wellbeing go hand in hand only in partial and established environmental States.