Volume 2 (2014) | Issue 1

Papers published:

doi: 10.12924/cis2014.02010001 | Volume 2 (2014) | Issue 1
Joshua Farley
Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA
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Publication Date: 5 May 2014
Abstract: The human system, driven largely by economic decisions, has profoundly affected planetary ecosystems as well as the energy supplies and natural resources essential to economic production. The challenge of sustainability is to understand and manage the complex interactions between human systems and the rest of nature. This conceptual article makes the case that meeting this challenge requires consilience between the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, which is to say that their basic assumptions must be mutually reinforcing and consistent. This article reviews the extent to which economics is pursuing consilience with the sciences of human behavior, physics and ecology, and the impact full consilience would have on the field. The science of human behavior would force economists to redefine what is desirable, while physics and ecology redefine what is possible. The challenges posed by ecological degradation can be modeled as prisoner's dilemmas, best solved through cooperation, not competition. Fortunately, science reveals that humans may be among the most cooperative of all species. While much of the mainstream economic theory that still dominates academic and the policy discourse continues to ignore important findings from other sciences, several sub-fields of economics have made impressive strides towards consilience in recent decades, and these are likely to change mainstream theory eventually. The question is whether these changes can proceed rapidly enough to solve the most serious problems we currently face.

doi: 10.12924/cis2014.02010018 | Volume 2 (2014) | Issue 1
Debbie L. King 1 , Adegboyega Babasola 1 , Joseph Rozario 1, 2 and Joshua M. Pearce 1, 2, 3, *
1 The Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Lab, Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, United States
2 Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, United States
3 Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, 601 M&M Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295, United States
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 1 October 2014
Abstract: Manufacturing in areas of the developing world that lack electricity severely restricts the technical sophistication of what is produced. More than a billion people with no access to electricity still have access to some imported higher-technologies; however, these often lack customization and often appropriateness for their community. Open source appropriate tech­nology (OSAT) can over­come this challenge, but one of the key impediments to the more rapid development and distri­bution of OSAT is the lack of means of production beyond a specific technical complexity. This study designs and demonstrates the technical viability of two open-source mobile digital manufacturing facilities powered with solar photovoltaics, and capable of printing customizable OSAT in any com­munity with access to sunlight. The first, designed for com­munity use, such as in schools or maker­spaces, is semi-mobile and capable of nearly continuous 3-D printing using RepRap technology, while also powering multiple computers. The second design, which can be completely packed into a standard suitcase, allows for specialist travel from community to community to provide the ability to custom manufacture OSAT as needed, anywhere. These designs not only bring the possibility of complex manufacturing and replacement part fabrication to isolated rural communities lacking access to the electric grid, but they also offer the opportunity to leap-frog the entire conventional manufacturing supply chain, while radically reducing both the cost and the environmental impact of products for developing communities.

doi: 10.12924/cis2014.02010028 | Volume 2 (2014) | Issue 1
Barry Ness 1, * and José Alberto Fernandez Monteiro 2
1 Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), P.O. Box 170, 22100 Lund, Sweden
2 Librello Publishing House, 4000 Basel, Switzerland
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 10 October 2014
Abstract: We are proud of Challenges in Sustainability's (CiS) fruitful start. A variety of quality research articles, editorials and notes have been published on a range of themes and topics, including sustainability governance [1], improved cookstoves [2,3], the potentials of 3-D printing in the global South [4], and the need for consiliences between the natural and social sciences and the humanities [5], to name just a few. Furthermore, despite the journal's short history, we are pleased with its high visibility, where numerous articles have been viewed or downloaded over 1200 times since publication. The high exposure rate and the quality of publications affirm our aspirations for stable growth and development in the future.

doi: 10.12924/cis2014.02010030 | Volume 2 (2014) | Issue 1
Jephias Gwamuri 1, 2 , Ben T. Wittbrodt 1, 2 , Nick C. Anzalone 1 and Joshua M. Pearce 1, 2, 3, *
1 The Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Laboratory 601 M&M Building 1400 Townsend Drive Houghton, MI 49931-1295, United States
2 Department of Materials Science & Engineering Michigan Technological University 601 M&M Building 1400 Townsend Drive Houghton, MI 49931-1295, United States
3 Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering Michigan Technological University 601 M&M Building 1400 Townsend Drive Houghton, MI 49931-1295, United States
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 12 December 2014
Abstract: Although the trend in manufacturing has been towards centralization to leverage economies of scale, the recent rapid technical development of open-source 3-D printers enables low-cost distributed bespoke production. This paper explores the potential advantages of a distributed manufacturing model of high-value products by investigating the application of 3-D printing to self-refraction eyeglasses. A series of parametric 3-D printable designs is developed, fabricated and tested to overcome limitations identified with mass-manufactured self-correcting eyeglasses designed for the developing world's poor. By utilizing 3-D printable self-adjustable glasses, communities not only gain access to far more diversity in product design, as the glasses can be customized for the individual, but 3-D printing also offers the potential for significant cost reductions. The results show that distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printing can empower developing world communities through the ability to print less expensive and customized self-adjusting eyeglasses. This offers the potential to displace both centrally manufactured conventional and self-adjusting glasses while completely eliminating the costs of the conventional optics correction experience, including those of highly-trained optometrists and ophthalmologists and their associated equipment. Although, this study only analyzed a single product, it is clear that other products would benefit from the same approach in isolated regions of the developing world.

ISSN: 2297-6477
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