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Challenges, Volume 15, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 9 articles

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5 pages, 991 KiB  
Editorial
A New Vision for Challenges: A Transdisciplinary Journal Promoting Planetary Health and Flourishing for All
by Susan L. Prescott and David Webb
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020026 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Since its inception in 2010, Challenges has had a strong interdisciplinary focus on sustainability and global challenges, including many important contributions to advances in renewable energies, biodiversity, food security, climate change, urban and rural development, green design, and the interrelated implications for human [...] Read more.
Since its inception in 2010, Challenges has had a strong interdisciplinary focus on sustainability and global challenges, including many important contributions to advances in renewable energies, biodiversity, food security, climate change, urban and rural development, green design, and the interrelated implications for human and environmental health [...] Full article
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22 pages, 3888 KiB  
Article
Unlocking the Transformative Potential of Outdoor Office Work—A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study
by Charlotte Petersson Troije, Ebba Lisberg Jensen, David Redmalm and Lena Wiklund Gustin
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020025 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
White-collar workers around the world are reconfiguring their ways of working. Some have found their way out, performing office work outdoors, through walk-and-talks, outdoor meetings, or reading sessions. Working outdoors has proved both invigorating and challenging. This qualitative interview study aims to develop [...] Read more.
White-collar workers around the world are reconfiguring their ways of working. Some have found their way out, performing office work outdoors, through walk-and-talks, outdoor meetings, or reading sessions. Working outdoors has proved both invigorating and challenging. This qualitative interview study aims to develop a conceptual framework concerning the implications of white-collar workers incorporating the outdoors into their everyday work life. Applying a constructivist grounded theory approach, 27 interviews with a total of 15 participants were systematically analyzed. Findings evolved around the following categories: practicing outdoor office work, challenging the taken-for-granted, enjoying freedom and disconnection, feeling connected and interdependent, promoting health and well-being, enhancing performance, and finally adding a dimension to work. These categories were worked into a conceptual model, building on the dynamic relationship between the practice of working outdoors on one hand, and how this challenges the system in which office work traditionally takes place on the other. Interviews reflected the profound learning process of the employees. Drawing on the concepts of free space and resonance, we demonstrate how performing office work outdoors may unlock a transformative potential by opening up connectedness and interdependence and contribute to a sustainable work life as well as overall sustainable development. Full article
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20 pages, 716 KiB  
Concept Paper
The Case for Multidisciplinary Frameworks for Developing Effective Solutions to Complex Human Problems: An Illustration Based on Development Education, Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Marketing
by Chahid E. Fourali
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020024 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 345
Abstract
Education, especially development education (DE), and a number of socially focused disciplines, including corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social marketing (SM), have long been targeted by policy makers for deriving advice on the ‘wisdom’ of levelling up differences and addressing sources of disadvantages [...] Read more.
Education, especially development education (DE), and a number of socially focused disciplines, including corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social marketing (SM), have long been targeted by policy makers for deriving advice on the ‘wisdom’ of levelling up differences and addressing sources of disadvantages at individual, group and/or regional levels. Additionally, the combined wisdom of such disciplines can also be a great source of advice to effectively address perennial universal problems. This paper is conceptual in nature with a multidisciplinary outlook. It contrasts DE, CSR and SM, with the view to deriving common grounds as well as strengths and areas for further development that can produce more comprehensive explanations and solutions to social problems. Such inclusive, more comprehensive explanations would help advise social-cause-focused workers, including researchers, learners and policy makers, about how each discipline can contribute to the resolution of multifaceted problems, the so-called ‘wicked problems’, that each discipline may not be fully equipped to address. The method of analysis used is an adjusted version of critical discourse analysis. It is used to explore the disciplines at four levels, namely definitional, philosophical, methodological and performance levels, thus giving a comprehensive view of each discipline’s nature, philosophical outlook, methodology and perceived efficacy in achieving its aims. The derived arguments also benefitted from comments provided by seven experienced representatives from the three disciplines. Overall, the outcomes suggest a relative maturity of critical ability in DE but also more effective and efficient methodological and evaluative perspectives in CSR and SM. Although the outcome of the analysis is open for debate, it nevertheless suggests several opportunities for mutual learning at all four levels. The paper suggests a novel integrated ‘supra-level’ framework that may help workers, in these three areas of knowledge, gain valuable insights from each of the three disciplines and highlight valuable opportunities for capitalising on their respective strengths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Trends)
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3 pages, 157 KiB  
Book Review
Book Review: Climate, Psychology, and Change: Reimagining Psychotherapy in an Era of Global Disruption and Climate Anxiety; Bednarek, S., Ed.; North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA, USA, 2024; ISBN: 979-8889840817
by Andrew Haddon Kemp
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020023 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 478
Abstract
Climate, Psychology and Change” offers a profound exploration of the psychological ramifications of the climate and ecological emergency (CEE), proposing a paradigm shift in psychotherapy to better support individuals and communities grappling with environmental distress. The book critiques the prevailing hyper-individualized [...] Read more.
Climate, Psychology and Change” offers a profound exploration of the psychological ramifications of the climate and ecological emergency (CEE), proposing a paradigm shift in psychotherapy to better support individuals and communities grappling with environmental distress. The book critiques the prevailing hyper-individualized and neoliberal societal framework, advocating for a decolonized, systemic psychotherapeutic approach that emphasizes interconnectedness across species and that challenges human exceptionalism. It outlines four psychological phases that individuals may experience in their environmental consciousness journey, epiphany, immersion, crisis, and resolution, highlighting their non-linear and systemic nature. This work underscores the importance of understanding distress within its broader social and ecological contexts and addresses the profound inequalities and injustices exacerbated by the CEE. With contributions from diverse psychological and non-traditional backgrounds, it introduces concepts like ‘ubuntu’, advocating for community-focused resilience practices. The book calls for a re-evaluation of psychotherapeutic practices to include communal and nature-connected approaches, offering innovative solutions like climate cafes and social dreaming. It presents a critical yet hopeful vision for the role of psychotherapy in navigating the challenges of the CEE, urging a rethinking of our relationship with the planet and each other, making it an essential read for those seeking to align psychotherapeutic practice with the realities of our changing world. Full article
22 pages, 5562 KiB  
Article
Participatory System Mapping for Food Systems: Lessons Learned from a Case Study of Comox Valley, Canada
by Mohaddese Ghadiri, Robert Newell and Tamara Krawchenko
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020022 - 28 Apr 2024
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Food systems are complex and multifaceted, comprising a diverse range of actors, processes, and interactions. Participatory system mapping can be employed to help understand this complexity and support the development of sustainable and resilient food systems. This article shares a participatory mapping approach [...] Read more.
Food systems are complex and multifaceted, comprising a diverse range of actors, processes, and interactions. Participatory system mapping can be employed to help understand this complexity and support the development of sustainable and resilient food systems. This article shares a participatory mapping approach that has been developed as part of the Climate–Biodiversity–Health (CBH) Nexus project in the Comox Valley, British Columbia, Canada. This research pursues two main aims: (1) to ground truth in the CBH system map of food systems, developed with the participation of stakeholders; and (2) to explain how participatory system mapping can be employed to clarify the complexity of food systems in a clear and concise manner for all stakeholders. This research contributes to the literature on participatory system mapping, including critiques of its practical utility, by employing participatory approaches to visualize multi-dimensional and multi-level system maps with an emphasis on verifying that they are clear, understandable/useful, and reliable for diverse stakeholder audiences. Full article
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17 pages, 342 KiB  
Review
The Folly of Food Waste amidst Food Insecurity in the United States: A Literature Review
by Michael F. Royer
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020021 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Food insecurity is an economic and social condition that involves individuals having limited or uncertain access to healthy food. Despite the well-intentioned efforts of both governmental and not-for-profit organizations in addressing food insecurity, well over one-in-ten households in the U.S., the wealthiest nation [...] Read more.
Food insecurity is an economic and social condition that involves individuals having limited or uncertain access to healthy food. Despite the well-intentioned efforts of both governmental and not-for-profit organizations in addressing food insecurity, well over one-in-ten households in the U.S., the wealthiest nation in the world, experience food insecurity every year. The objective of this literature review was to identify and explicate the methods and outcomes of food insecurity interventions that have been conducted among U.S. adults. This literature review identified 38 studies detailing several government programs and research interventions designed to address food insecurity. Results from the review highlight how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and not-for-profit food banks have demonstrated success in improving food insecurity. However, the prevalence of food insecurity among U.S. households has fluctuated without any sustained decreases that achieve a food insecurity rate that remains below 10 percent of the population. Food waste, which refers to food that is edible yet discarded at the retail or consumption phases, is rampant in the U.S., as approximately 30 percent (66.5 million tons) of edible food is wasted after leaving the farm every year. Food waste prevention efforts that involve rescuing edible, nutritious food and redistributing it to individuals who are food insecure can promote both environmental wellbeing and public health through simultaneous reductions in food waste and food insecurity. Full article
15 pages, 5135 KiB  
Article
The Socio-Spatial Distribution and Equity of Access to Urban Parks: A Case Study of Bengaluru, India
by Nilanjan Bhor and Dhananjayan Mayavel
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020020 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Given the effect of urbanization on land use and the allocation and implementation of urban green spaces, this paper attempts to analyze the distribution and accessibility of public parks in India’s Bengaluru city (previously known as Bangalore). Availability, accessibility, and utilization—the key measures [...] Read more.
Given the effect of urbanization on land use and the allocation and implementation of urban green spaces, this paper attempts to analyze the distribution and accessibility of public parks in India’s Bengaluru city (previously known as Bangalore). Availability, accessibility, and utilization—the key measures of Urban Green Spaces (UGS)—are mostly used in health research and policy and are important components of Planetary Health Equity in the context of studying UGSs and health. A geo-spatial method was used for mapping the park’s distribution and measuring its accessibility, using road network data. To understand equitable access to the parks, four socio-economic parameters—population density, the percentage of the population below 6 years of age, the proxy wealth index, and scheduled caste population—were correlated with the parks’ accessibility. This spatial distribution revealed that 19 of 198 wards did not have a single park and that 36 wards only had one park. About 25–29% of wards did not have accessibility to neighborhood-level and community-level parks within a 400–800 m distance. These parks must be accessible within a walking distance of 400–800 m but were found to most likely be inaccessible on the periphery of the city where the population density is low and the children population is high, in comparison to the central part of the city. Similarly, parks were found to be inaccessible in the eastern part of the city where the scheduled caste population is high and also found to be inaccessible for the low-income neighborhoods residing in the western part and southern periphery of the city, indicating the uneven distribution of and inequitable access to public parks. Our study proposes a reshaping of both neighborhood parks and community parks in an attempt to look beyond biodiversity, through the planetary health equity approach, by noting that, while biodiversity indirectly has a positive effect on health, public parks should not only be considered as advancing environmental sustainability and climate resilience, but also as improving the health and wellbeing of the population. Affirmative action in terms of the availability of public parks with adequate area requirements and essential services at a neighborhood scale is required to redress the inequity of access; in addition, the accessibility of parks must be considered important during urban planning. Full article
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14 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
How Constructionist Perspectives on Learning Can Improve Learning and Prevent Accidents in High-Risk Industries
by Thomas Wold
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020019 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Management systems containing procedures, checklists, and descriptions for how various tasks should be conducted are often used in high-risk industries. Much has been written about the judicial and technological concerns of management systems, but less has been written on how to train staff [...] Read more.
Management systems containing procedures, checklists, and descriptions for how various tasks should be conducted are often used in high-risk industries. Much has been written about the judicial and technological concerns of management systems, but less has been written on how to train staff in the use of them. Through a cognitive-constructionist perspective combined with social constructivism, this paper discusses how staff training can be designed to fit the characteristics of the workers. This paper focuses on how people learn in different ways, and how this is related to perspectives on knowledge. The method used is semi-structured interviews with twenty-seven workers in two different companies operating in the oil and gas-producing industry. The workers got only a short web-based theory course on the management system, with no practical exercises, repetitions, or other types of follow-ups. This is a signal that the management system is of less importance, and many of the workers thought they did not need it. Training must be designed to fit the workers, with practical exercises, repetition, and possibilities for on-the-job training. Accidents in this sector can cause human losses and great environmental harm, and this paper argues that better training of staff can prevent such accidents and reduce harm to the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Planetary Health)
15 pages, 1630 KiB  
Viewpoint
Prevention Science Can’t Wait: An Interview with Dr. Diana H. Fishbein
by Alan C. Logan and Diana H. Fishbein
Challenges 2024, 15(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe15020018 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 978
Abstract
In an ongoing series of interviews, Challenges Advisory Board member and Nova Institute for Health Fellow Alan C. Logan meets with thought leaders, scientists, scholars, healthcare professionals, artisans, and visionaries concerned about health at the scale of persons, places, and the planet. Here, [...] Read more.
In an ongoing series of interviews, Challenges Advisory Board member and Nova Institute for Health Fellow Alan C. Logan meets with thought leaders, scientists, scholars, healthcare professionals, artisans, and visionaries concerned about health at the scale of persons, places, and the planet. Here, Dr. Diana H. Fishbein responds to a set of questions posed by Challenges. For over forty years, Dr. Fishbein, a neuroscientist and criminologist by training, has been at the forefront of research examining the intersections of biological, environmental, social, and physical factors as they relate to brain development, functioning, risky behavior, and life outcomes. Within this broad-ranging career, Dr. Fishbein was among the very first to conduct a dietary intervention study (eliminating refined carbohydrate foods) examining behavioral outcomes (i.e., nutritional psychiatry). This, combined with related research endeavors and experiences, led to a wider-lens view of prevention research, a desire to understand the physiological mechanisms that explain heterogeneity in positive and/or unfavorable outcomes in prevention programs, and a dynamic career devoted to the science of prevention. Here, Dr. Fishbein reflects on her career and its many twists and turns through a range of interdisciplinary work. Shediscusses prevention science through the lens of future possibilities and the need for scientists to lean toward advocacy and supporting evidence-based policy changes. Prevention science, as Dr. Fishbein explains, is at the heart of the many interconnected challenges of our time. Full article
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