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Using an ecological footprint to operate and maintain a short-term self regulating and community based environmental programme.

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dc.contributor.advisor O'Regan, Bernadette
dc.contributor.advisor Moles, Richard Carragher, Vincent 2012-02-09T17:05:32Z 2012-02-09T17:05:32Z 2011
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This research aimed to embed a low carbon management programme with a community using local physical and social capital to engage residents and lower carbon dioxide emissions. An actor-driver matrix was developed such that appropriate research strategies were employed to engender ownership of the programme within the community. The carbon intensity for household and lifestyle related consumption, of residents, was measured using an appropriate bottom-up ecological footprint and survey method. A carbon literacy intervention was prepared using effective communication methods, and disseminated. A longitudinal and comparative approach utilizing ecological footprinting and its strength as a relative and tangible construct for consumption were exploited. The use of appropriate low carbon actors and low carbon drivers was shown to support the reduction of carbon emissions within a community. Schools can represent a crucially important low carbon actor, as 78% of respondents believed that the school’s participation had assisted in their reduction in GHG emissions during the time span of this project. Today’s pupils are the decision makers of the future, and impacting on their values, beliefs and low carbon behaviours create an opportunity to impact on their carbon related decisions in the future, and if this follows through in practice, it will serve to diminish a rebound effect. Within this research, the (i) continued application and embedding of ecological footprint measurement, (ii) monitoring and (iii) the customised low carbon feedback all aided in changing respondent mindsets. The mean ecological footprint per capita reduced by 28% over four years and the most significant reductions in ecological footprint components were related to coal, landfill waste and oil use, which reduced by 63%, 47% and 45% respectively. A majority of respondents believed that the ecological footprint and the customised low carbon feedback had supported their reduction in GHG emissions, and that antecedent behavioural factors of knowledge, attitudes, perception and motivation had also changed significantly within the project time span. The bottom-up ecological footprint method developed provided a transparent, understandable and appropriate measure of human impact by residents. Its utility was such that numerous Irish communities expressed an interest in adopting this method and a number of communities are now employing the methods developed. The experience suggests strongly that roll out of community based projects elsewhere will require adoption of the Actor-Driver Matrix to customise the approach to the needs of each community. This project points up the very important advantages of an organisation which would serve to accept audits of communities carbon reductions, represent them in a carbon market and negotiate on behalf of communities with corporate entities wishing to benefit from carbon offsetting. In such a system, advantages to the corporate entities would be evident through their contributions to community scale environmental and social betterment. Keywords: Ecological Footprint, low carbon community, low carbon, Actor-Driver Matrix, carbon literacy, low carbon feedback. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship IRCSET en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Logal Agenda 21 Partnership Fund via North Tippeary County Council
dc.description.sponsorship EPA
dc.description.sponsorship AES Waste
dc.description.sponsorship Irish Speedsavers
dc.description.sponsorship Thinking Toys
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject ecological footprint en_US
dc.subject low carbon community en_US
dc.subject low carbon en_US
dc.subject carbon history en_US
dc.title Using an ecological footprint to operate and maintain a short-term self regulating and community based environmental programme. en_US
dc.type Doctoral thesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.type.restriction none en

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