Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society

Dear Subscribers,

GAIA – Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 1/2015 has just been released. The latest issue features, amongst others, articles on World Citizens Movement and Climate Protection, on Transformative Science, and on Ecosystem Services in Practice. For more information, please browse the table of contents below.

We thank authors, reviewers and board members for their contributions to our journal.
Your Editorial Team
Almut Joedicke, Ulrike Sehy, Tobias Mickler, Martina Blum

We invite article submissions related to inter- or transdisciplinary environmental and sustainability research. For further information click here. >


Die Bodenlosigkeit der fossilnuklearen Gesellschaft >
The Soil-less Fossil-nuclear Society
Verena Winiwarter
reading sample >

In memoriam: Zum Tode von Hans Primas >
Martin Scheringer, Jochen Jaeger
reading sample >

Und doch: Klimaschutz als Weltbürgerbewegung >
And Even More: Climate Protection as a World Citizen Movement
Claus Leggewie, Dirk Messner, Sabine Schlacke
reading sample >

Eurozentrische Weltbürgerbewegung. Zum WBGU Sondergutachten Klimaschutz als Weltbürgerbewegung >
Eurocentric World Citizen Movement. Reflections on the Report Climate Protection as a World Citizen Movement by the WBGU
Sybille Bauriedl
reading sample >

Transformative Wissenschaft – eine neue Ordnung im Wissenschaftsbetrieb?

Transformative Science – A New Order in Academia?
Armin Grunwald

Transformative science seeks to further open science and academia to societal problems. The initiative provokes criticism from representatives of established research institutions. They fear complete reorganization of the research landscape. However, as will be shown, such fears are unjustified.

Von der "Großen Transformation" zu urbanen Transformationen. Zum WBGU-Hauptgutachten Welt im Wandel >
From the "Great Transformation" to Urban Transformations. Reflections on the Report World in Transition by the WBGU
Dieter Rink, Ellen Banzhaf, Sigrun Kabisch, Kerstin Krellenberg

In its flagship report 2011 World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) recommends planning towns and cities climate-friendly and sustainably. Instead of talking about one great transformation, it seems more appropriate – with regard to the heterogeneous urbanization processes – to talk about transitions in the plural.

Reallabore als Forschungs- und Transformationsinstrument. Die Quadratur des hermeneutischen Zirkels >
Real-world Laboratories. The Conundrum of Being an Instrument both for Research and Societal Transition
Felix Wagner, Armin Grunwald

Real-world laboratories are currently considered to be the research instrument suited best for depicting societal transitions towards a culture of sustainability. However, the balancing act between good scientific practice and gaining practical knowledge is not easy, since real life and in particular social life can only be captured partially. Fundamental questions have yet to be clarified.

The Ecosystem Services Concept: Gaps between Science and Practice in River Landscape Management >
Kerstin Böck, Susanne Muhar, Andreas Muhar, Renate Polt

While the ecosystem services concept is currently referred to as "mainstream" in science, its practical application has not made much progress yet. In order to illustrate this gap, we use the example of river landscape management and focus on stakeholders' views of the concept. Particular attention has been paid to stakeholders' awareness of the concept, their perception of the practicability, and their concerns regarding implementation. In two Austrian river landscapes, qualitative interviews (n = 110) were conducted with decision makers, stakeholders in river landscape management processes, and other persons benefiting from landscape functions. There is little awareness of the concept in most stakeholder groups. Those who are already familiar with it reported that it currently only plays a minor role in their work. Nevertheless, they regarded the concept as a potentially relevant tool: not only for assessments of river ecosystems, but also for bolstering argumentation, communication, and education, as well as for minimizing redundancies with already implemented concepts such as landscape functionality.

The Role of Photovoltaics in Energy Transition – Assessing the Prospects for a Regime Shift >
Kathrin Reinsberger, Thomas Brudermann, Alfred Posch

Photovoltaics is still a niche technology, accounting for a low proportion of electricity generation. Combining an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) with the analytic hierarchy process, we discuss the prospects and challenges relating to photovoltaics in Austria, when attempting to move from a niche level to a regime level change in energy transition. In carrying out this hybrid method, a set of pre-defined SWOT factors were judged by experts by means of pairwise comparisons. As results reveal, strengths and opportunities outweigh weaknesses and threats. According to the experts, financial and technological considerations dominate over environmental and social issues. Hence, characteristics such as rapid reduction in module costs, technological progress and low economies of scale imply that significant promise may be assigned to photovoltaics in terms of its expected contribution to the transformation of our energy system.

Kein Wandel ohne Macht – Nachhaltigkeitsforschung braucht ein mehrdimensionales Machtverständnis > (open access)
No Change without Power – An Agenda for a Multidimensional Understanding of Power in Sustainability Research
Lena Partzsch

Which power leads to change, and which power prevents it? The article provides an overview of existing understandings of power in research on environmental politics and sustainability, including positive perceptions of power that researchers have hardly made explicit so far. It exposes the diversity with which one can understand power through three ideal type concepts: power with (cooperation and learning), power to (resistance and empowerment) and power over (coercion and manipulation). Integrating these concepts in one power framework allows examining how the three dimensions interrelate with each other. As will be shown, power imbalances affect processes of power with and power to. Conversely, however, "sustainability leadership" as well as "green" creativity and resistance can also weaken and overcome power over. Examples from research on climate politics serve for illustration. The aim is to push a broader debate on the phenomenon of power and to set a new agenda for a multidimensional understanding of power in sustainability research.

Sozial-ökologische Forschung
Synthese- und Verwertungsprojekte als Förderinstrument transdisziplinärer Forschung > (open access)
Synthesis and Application Projects as Means of Facilitating Transdisciplinary Research
Immanuel Stieß, Klaus Rennings, Andreas Ernst, Marcel Hunecke

Für eine erweiterte Governance von Wissenschaft. Ein wissenschaftspolitischer Rückblick auf das Jahr 2014 >
A Plea for More Diversification in Science Governance. Looking back at Research Policy in the Year 2014
Uwe Schneidewind

Helmholtz-Allianz ENERGY-TRANS
Energiewende: Gestaltungsaufgaben auf vielen Ebenen >
Energy Transition: Organisational Tasks on Different Levels
Robert Brandt, Dörte Ohlhorst, Sibyl Steuwer, Kerstin Tews

Allianz Nachhaltige Universitäten in Österreich
Nachhaltigkeitskonzepte für Universitäten. Handbuch der Allianz Nachhaltige Universitäten in Österreich >
Sustainability Concepts for Universities. Handbook of the Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria
Thomas Lindenthal, Helga Kromp-Kolb, Lisa Bohunovsky, Thomas M. Weiger

Umwelt und Gesundheit – Ökologie der Person im Anthropozän >
Environment and Health – Ecology of the Individual in the Anthropocene
Angela Franz-Balsen, Eberhard Göpel, Christine Tretter, Felix Tretter

Zukunft gestalten: Nachhaltigkeitskompetenzen in der Hochschulbildung >
Shaping the Future: Sustainability Competences in Higher Education
Sandra Wilhelm, Ruth Förster, Ueli Nagel, Gabriela Wülser, Claudia Zingerli

oekom verlag GmbH
Waltherstraße 29
80337 Munich
CEO: Jacob Radloff
Amtsgericht München
HRB 102023 >

GAIA Editorial Team:
Dr. Martina Blum
Fon +49/(0)89/54 41 84 – 44
Fax +49/(0)89/54 41 84 – 49
Email >
© copyright 2015 by oekom verlag. All rights reserved.

If you do not wish to receive our newsletter any more, you can sign off here > or send an email to >
If you wish to change your email-address or personal information, please change your account settings here > or send an email to >
If our newsletter appeals to you, please recommend it to your esteemed colleagues and friends.
There is always room for improvements. We would be happy about any feedback. If you want to drop us a line, please write to >