Determinants of Technology Innovation in the Transportation Sector: Oil Endowments

by Russell Salazar

The development of energy-efficient technologies is becoming increasingly necessary in a warming world. How can countries encourage firms and individuals to innovate more eco-friendly technologies in an effective manner? Kim (2014) takes a closer look at the socio-economic motivators for the development of energy-efficient technologies, with a primary focus on the transportation sector. The study presents empirical evidence to support the claim that smaller oil endowments result in a greater incentive for the development of more eco-friendly vehicles and energy-efficient designs. These findings, combined with explanations from related economic theory, provide insight into potential sustainability schemes for policy makers around the world. Continue reading

The Changing Climate and the Pressures on Women of Rural Mexico

by Russell Salazar

Subsistence agriculture is a difficult practice in a world of uncertainty in temperatures and rainfall, and food security in some areas is a primary concern. A study by Bee (2014) looks at potential effects of the changing climate on the lives of women in rural Mexico, and gains insight into the choices they make given their “socio-political, economic and environmental contexts”. Eighty-eight percent of the female interviewees claimed to be engaged in “unpaid domestic work”, which includes the provision of daily food for the household through crop farming, namely maize and beans. Bearing the burden of household food security against unfavorable climates, these women act as teachers and decision-makers. They have learned to adapt to the weather, gaining knowledge about food sources and cultivation and passing that knowledge on to their children. Continue reading

Environment and Politics: Alaskans Adapt to a Changing Climate

by Russell Salazar

While climate change mitigation must continue, societies are marching on into an inevitably warmer world. The ability for a community to adapt to a new environment will be a crucial characteristic in the coming century. Wilson (2013) presents a study of an Alaskan village to show how political and social changes are correlated with a community’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The paper focuses on the subsistence livelihoods of the Koyukon Athabascan people, describing major changes since the 1950s that altered their climate adaptability. These included an increased emphasis on formal education, a greater exposure to market economies, as well as the legislation and bureaucracy introduced by the government, all of which had a profound impact on the Koyukon Athabascan way of life. Wilson concludes by encouraging more cautious and deeper ethical considerations with regard to placing political constraints on communities. Continue reading

The Morality, Ethics, and Values of Climate Change-Related Decision-Making

by Russell Salazar

What must a socially responsible organization do in the midst of a changing climate? Besio and Pronzini (2014) write that discourse on climate change has been transforming into a moral debate, and businesses and organizations must react. They take a closer look at the use of morality as a communicative tool, and analyze its relationship with the decision-making processes of organizations with regard to sustainability. Continue reading