Book Recommendation: Parks of the Future

Protected Areas in Europe Challenging Regional and Global Change

Parks als Instrumente nachhaltiger Entwicklung Zersiedelung, demografische Veränderung, Klimawandel, Biodiversitätsverluste … die Liste der Herausforderungen für die räumliche Entwicklung in Europa ist lang. Seit den 1990er Jahren wurden als Antwort auf die regionalen und weltweiten Veränderungen zahlreiche Großschutzgebiete errichtet. Mehr… read more

Polycular -> project name: ÖkoGotschi

ÖkoGotschi is a location-based augmented reality computer game about sustainability and ecology. Abstract information on the topic of ecology and sustainability is easily explained and conveyed in an entertaining way. The aim is to fully exploit the potential of computer… read more

Book recommendation: If You Really Want to Change the World

A Guide to Creating, Building, and Sustaining Breakthrough Ventures

Silicon Valley’s latest trend for creating new ventures is based on trial and error: test market needs with new product concepts and a minimum amount of capital, expect that the product may not meet the market need, so fail fast… read more

Ester Boserup’s Legacy on Sustainability

A new publication on the life and work of a pioneer of sustainability research

Edited by Marina Fischer-Kowalski (Univ. Klagenfurt) et al Arising from a scientific conference marking the 100th anniversary of her birth, this book honors the life and work of the social scientist and diplomat Ester Boserup, who blazed new trails in… read more

Making a difference with knowledge – but how?

Many researchers who dedicate themselves to the issue of sustainability are disappointed because their scientific findings rarely lead to practical action.

The numerous attempts at practically-oriented research undertaken to date have proven incapable of solving the problem of how to transfer knowledge. And for that reason, we are taking a new route. By examining the few successful research projects in practice… read more

When the rebound just gets harder and harder

Improving energy efficiency is often cited as the key to a more sustainable society. But this equation has a crucial snag: a paradox phenomenon known as ‘rebound’.

In his 1865 book, “The Coal Question”, British economist and philosopher William Stanley Jevons made a remarkable observation. Although the steam engine introduced by James Watt had functioned far more efficiently with coal than its predecessor model by Thomas Newcomen… read more

Not considering a Plan B is irrational and dangerous

Sigrid Stagl was the first person in the world to be awarded a PhD in the new field of ‘Ecological Economics’. In this interview, she talks about the dilemmas of her discipline, false incentives, and the role of economic growth.

Professor Stagl, in 1999 you were the first person in the world to be awarded a doctorate in Ecological Economics. What’s the difference between Ecological Economics and ‘normal’ Economics? Stagl: We refer to a ‘preanalytic vision’ as being the starting-point… read more

The contribution we’re making to society is improving all the time

Gerhard Wotawa’s calculations became headline news overnight following the Fukushima reactor disaster in Fukushima. Here he talks about the benefits of Earth observation systems, and his experiences of the media.

From 2000 to 2009, you were an Atmospheric Science Officer at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), at its head office in Vienna. What is the organisation there to achieve, and what was your role there? Wotawa: The… read more

First emitted, then compensated

Forest versus air travel: with its carbon dioxide compensation project, Vienna University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences is demonstrating what sustainability can look like for institutions in practice.

For Vienna University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, the issue of sustainability is a constant companion – both scientifically, and in its teaching. “For us, though, it’s not enough for a university just to research and teach sustainability,”… read more

How sustainable are protected areas?

One in every four square metres of ground in Europe is now in a protected area. But what do these areas actually contribute to sustainability?

Some 25 percent of the surface area of Europe – and 12 percent of the world as a whole – is now made up of protected areas. But what do protected areas actually contribute to sustainability? Do they really do… read more

Going “beyond GDP”: the search for new ways of measuring the world

As long as the world is only measured by GDP, environmental disasters will remain useful events. But new prosperity indicators are now being developed to try and put that right.

The goal of sustainable development presents policy with a crucial problem: although pretty well everyone is now in agreement that the Earth’s resources are not inexhaustible, policy still has to be measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone, and doesn’t… read more

Why the tipping point is two degrees ahead

The goal of international climate policy is to prevent global warming from exceeding two degrees Celsius. But what actually happens if it does so is still unclear – and that’s exactly the problem.

Whenever the issue of global warming comes up, one figure is always described as something like a magic limit, the number which may not be passed: two degrees Celsius. Since as long ago as 1996, the institutions of the European… read more