GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 1/2014 has just been released. We thank authors, reviewers and board members for their contributions to our journal.

The latest issue of GAIA features, amongst others, articles on Climate Skeptics and Their Line of Argumentation, on a Theory of Transdisciplinary Research and on Communicating Climate Change. For more information, please browse the table of contents below.

Your Editorial Team
Almut Joedicke, Ulrike Sehy, Tobias Mickler, Martina Blum

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Die "Große Tranformation": Chancen einer Debatte (reading sample)
The "Great Transformation": Prospects of a Debate
Irmi Seidl

Geschlechter im Klimawandel. Soziale Differenzierung in der Anpassungsforschung
Gender in Climate Change. Social Differentiation in Adaptation Research
Sybille Bauriedl

Wissenschaftspolitik demokratischer gestalten
Making Science Policy More Democratic 
Steffi Ober

Representatives from science, politics and business are the principal actors to decide on goals and strategies of research agendas. All too often, civil society actors are not involved in these processes. Thus the research agendas lack societal legitimation. More democratic processes of decision making would lead to more transparent science policies, promoting the development towards sustainability.

Energiearmut - vom politischen Schlagwort zur handlungsleitenden Definition
Fuel Poverty in Germany: From a Buzzword to a Definition
Kerstin Tews

Rising electricity prices call into question the social compatibility of the German energy transition: politics, economy and social welfare associations fear that a new "fuel poverty" could hit the economically weak. Instead of using the term for political ends, fuel poverty should be defined in a way so that it can drive action, helping to shape the energy transition in a socially acceptable way. The British understanding of fuel poverty may serve as a model here.

Auf dem Weg zu einer Theorie transdisziplinärer Forschung
Towards a Theory of Transdisciplinary Research
Martina Ukowitz

Transdisciplinary research opens up a social space - the agora - where existing knowledge is negotiated and new knowledge is generated, and where socially robust solutions are developed. In the field of sustainability sciences, working transdisciplinarily is accepted practice. In order to establish transdisciplinary research within the academic mainstream, scientists, however, increasingly need to familiarize themselves with transdisciplinary methodology and theory building, especially with the key components, which are a strong focus on application and the involvement of stakeholders.

Das Erbe der Sylvicultura oeconomica. Eine kritische Reflexion des Nachhaltigkeitsbegriffs
The Legacy of Sylvicultura oeconomica. A Critical Reflection on the Notion of Sustainability 
Daniela Gottschlich, Beate Friedrich

300 years ago, Hans Carl von Carlowitz developed the concept of sustainability for environmentally sound forest management. In 1987, the Brundtland Commission and its concept of sustainable development established a new paradigm for integrating environmental policies and development strategies. In the German discourse, the two different concepts are interwoven. When referring to sustainable development today, forestry, but also politics, business and society often look at it from an economic point of view, considering nature merely as a resource.

Communicating Climate Change Adaptation. State of the Art and Lessons Learned from Ten OECD Countries (reading sample)
Veronika Wirth, Andrea Prutsch, Torsten Grothmann

Communicating climate change adaptation is an important instrument to motivate for taking adaptation action. Adaptation communication formats are numerous, but are they effective? Successful adaptation communication seemingly relies less on providing more information than on how it is presented. An analysis of 278 formats in ten OECD countries yields good practice examples and a list of success factors. One recommendation is that addressing emotions, norms and values helps in motivating for taking action.

Die Struktur klimaskeptischer Argumente. Verschwörungstheorie als Wissenschaftskritik (open access)
The Structure of Climate Skeptical Arguments. Conspiracy Theory as a Critique of Science
Jens Soentgen, Helena Bilandzic

Climate skeptics place themselves against the mainstream. Questioning and rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change causes, they argue that climate science is involved in a global conspiracy, guided by self-interest and aspirations of societal change. On the basis of 97 climate skeptical English and German non-fiction books, the logical structure of climate skeptical (or denialist) arguments is reconstructed, with a special focus on the construction of the causes for climate change. The analysis shows that climate skeptical arguments are made on three levels: on the level of insight from climate science, on the level of an intuitive sociology of science and on a political/economic level, thus achieving the desired effect of moving the audience emotionally. The reconstruction of arguments may serve as a basis for more quantitative research, but it is also useful for entering the debate with climate skeptics as it allows anticipating climate skeptical objections.

Change Agents für den städtischen Klimaschutz. Empirische Befunde und praxistheoretische Einsichten
Change Agents for Climate Change Mitigation in Urban Areas. Empirical Findings and Practice-Theoretical Insights
Bernd Sommer, Miriam Schad

Within the field of interdisciplinary sustainability science, the popular concept of change agents has been only vaguely theorized. In the current debate, neither sociological theories of practice nor the level of participation required for a transformation towards sustainability are considered. On the basis of a qualitative analysis of change agents in two districts of the city of Cologne, as well as Pierre Bourdieu's theory of practice, this paper aspires to provide a sociological substantiation of the concept of change agents. The availability of social and/or economic capital, time, and a mental disposition for change are identified as prerequisites for actors to evoke social change. More than half of the analyzed change agents were directly or indirectly open to sustainability issues. Here, for urban sustainable development, lies a potential to integrate actors beyond the traditional sustainability community and build on local social networks.

Forschung für Nachhaltige Entwicklungen
Research for Sustainable Development
Erik Zürn, Nicole Hurtz, Cordula Kropp

Helmholtz-Allianz ENERGY-TRANS
EU-Energiepolitik nach 2020. Vorteile eines Ziel- und Instrumentenmixes
EU Energy Policy beyond 2020. Benefits of a Policy Mix
Paul Lehmann, Sebastian Strunz, Erik Gawel, Klaas Korte

Urbanity and Human Ecology. Internationales Symposium zur Entwicklung nachhaltiger urbaner Lebensstile in Europa
Urbanity and Human Ecology. Modifying European Urban Life for Sustainability
Sarah Buron,Wolfgang H. Serbser

Österreich-Konsortium GAIA
Improving Open Space Design to Cope Better with Urban Heat Island Effects
Wolfgang Loibl, Richard Stiles, Stefan Pauleit, Katrin Hagen, Beatrix Gasienica, Tanja Tötzer, Heidi Trimmel, Mario Köstl, Wolfgang Feilmayr

Developing the Environmental Humanities: A Swiss Perspective
Philippe Forêt, Marcus Hall, Christoph Kueffer

Vordenker einer nachhaltigen Gesellschaft. Karl Polanyi und die "Große Transformation"
Mastermind of System Change. Karl Polanyi and the "Great Transformation"
Maja Göpel, Moritz Remig

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