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Climate science is an area of science where virtual methods are widespread and the political stakes are high, because climate change as a result of emission of anthropogenic GHGs seems to demand a cessation of fossil fuel combustion and the use of alternative energy sources so dear to environmentalists.
It is important to note that climate change is an area of science where models inevitably play an important role (Kellow 2007). Environmental conservation for sustainability is an important aspect in the day to day activities on the globe.
This paper discusses environmental conservation for sustainable management of resources. It utilizes the examples of the Murray River water conservation project and the AMCOR housing and parking project. The two projects differ in different aspects that include scale and sustainability.
The Murray Basin River
The Murray Basin River is composed of a large area that is estimated at approximately 1,000,000 KM2. It is approximately one-seventh of the total land mass of Australia. A large part of the basin is flat with extensive plains that are less than 200M in altitude above sea level.
The basin has been transformed by major constructions of water storage facilities along the river system. The water storage facilities are meant to regulate the flow of water, conserve water and also for hydro-electric power generation. The major storages include Dartmouth and Lake Victoria.
Hume and the Menindee Lake are also other major water storage facilities that regulate the water flow. These structures make it possible for water to be stored during the wet periods. This water is later released during the dry season (Haisman, 2004). There have also bee important development in agriculture due to these facilities.
Natural inflows in the reservoirs vary from seasons to season especially in the Hume reservoir. Thus, the Northern darling System flows generously throughout the summer while the Southern Murray system is actually a winter rainfall system.
In order to facilitate all these, the Commonwealth Government has set aside funds that are distributed throughout the territories. The funds are distributed on the basis of progress of implementation of reforms. The council of Australian governments predates the national competition policy in that there is close interaction between the states that aim at achieving the goals of sustainable and efficiency of the rural and urban industries in Australia.
The council of Australian governments has enacted policies that control the water pricing system, ecological conservation, and enactment of comprehensive systems of water allocation. The council is also charged with the mandate of water allocation, trading and cross border sales of water, and separation of resource management from water service provision.
The AMCOR housing and parking project
The Amcor site is housing and parking project that is predominantly a residential community project that will involve several aspects of environmental conservation for sustainability. The achievements of the project are meant to show how ecological sustainability and environmental management can cause sustainability of the environment.
The project is also meant to interface with the Yarra River corridor. This will act as a refuge from the built environment thereby buffering the indigenous vegetation and wildlife. The project also incorporates convenience retailing services and community facilities within walking distance of homes.
This will also create employment opportunities along the Heidelberg Road. It is also important to note that the project will restrict space that is paved for roads and parking. This will maximize the availability of land so that the remaining land can be used for other productive activities.
It will also make sure that cars do not dominate the roads in the area thereby reducing traffic and creating a safe haven for children. It is also meant to make walking around the place a pleasant experience. At the end of the project there will be homes for a diversity of households including some affordable housing.
There will also be respect among the existing neighborhood character whereby there will be cohesiveness in the community across south Alphington and south Fairfield (Australian Government. 2011).
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The development involves the community and other stakeholders who enact principles that guide future owners and developers to an appropriate outcome for future use and development of the site. The project’s environmental sustainability is governed by the following principles.
First the development is supposed to be of the highest standards that have energy efficient and water sensitive systems. Contamination of the site must be removed and there should be indigenous vegetation in the area.
The government is also expected to get involved in the project by securing land to build facilities such as early childhood education facilities, affordable housing, improved bicycle and pedestrian paths and their safety. The AMCOR housing and parking project is therefore a perfect example of how the environment and natural resources can be conserved to enhance environment sustainability in any particular region (NPS. 2011).
Differences in the two projects
The two examples given above represent environmental sustainability projects that are represented by differences in scale, complexity and sustainability. It is clear from those examples that the Murray Basin water management project is of such a large scale compared to the AMCOR housing and parking project.
The large scale aspect of the Murray water conservation project is actually the main course of its complexity. This is because it required a lot of resources and time before Australia would finally realize the final impact of the project.
One thing to note is that the Murray water conservation and management project involved many stakeholders who had to be involved in decision making processes throughout the project development (Hatton et al. 2001). Various arms of the government local authorities and the general public that was composed of a large population were fully involved in the project development.
In addition, funds had to be set aside by the government in order to finance the entire project. As a result, there were a lot of conflicts between the different stakeholders involved. The conflicts mainly arose because of the scale of the project, the number of stakeholders involved and the various regions the project covered.
jThis large scale project takes place in a complex system that does not have a firm, set boundaries around it. Thus it is an open system. The researchers therefore needed to chose which spatial and temporal scale to use to study this system (McLennan & Moore, n.d, p. 91).
On the contrary, the AMCOR housing and parking project is represented by an organization that is of a smaller scale compared to that of the Murray basin conservation project. Although the organization outsourced the professional advice of consultants, the project was actually more internalized in all its processes in the sense that the AMCOR formed a committee that spearheaded the project in various aspects.
Thus, there was minimum consultation and funding from external sources. Compared to the Murray water conservation project, the AMCOR project is funded at a small scale because it involved a particular community in one particular area.
The water management project in the Murray River involved a number of regions and states that had to be funded and managed by a number of authorities unlike the small scale AMCOR housing and parking project that does not require much of external involvement.
In addition, the sustainability of the two projects differ in the sense that the Murray River project has been able to sustain itself throughout the seasons since some systems alternate thereby causing water to be stored in the wet seasons and released during the dry seasons.
This makes it possible for water to be available throughout the year with no fail. On the other hand, the housing and parking project of AMCOR is still dependent on various factors that make it more or less sustainable.
Such factors include commitment and increased funding. The AMCOR project is actually an interaction between the environment and the social system. Therefore the way this system is designed has an influence on the quality of social relationship within this community (McLennan & Moore, n.d, pp. 94-95).
Scale and other aspects
Scale is an important phenomenon in contemporary environmental issues. This is especially so in the studies related to natural sciences because it is these studies that have understood the real importance of scale in the environment. Research on human-environmental interactions demands that one address interdisciplinary work on scaling across the natural and social divide.
Some researchers, such as Manson, have suggested that scale should pervade interdisciplinary research on human-environmental systems. However, the same researchers still question whether scale itself exists (Moran, 2010). This is because one definition of scale cannot meet the multiple needs of research on human-environmental systems.
Further challenge emanates from the multidisciplinary nature of human-environmental research, with each discipline bringing different and often conflicting scale concepts. Scale is actually an important concept when it comes to describing the hierarchical organization of the world in terms of spatial aspects.
Scale can be referred to as the size of the unit analysis, and to spatial scale, with different size grid cells that are embedded in each other in order to represent different spatial scales. It is important to note that the two uses of scale do not map easily on institutions and social phenomena easily.
This is because certain environmental problems require an understanding of how processes operate at different scales and how these processes might be related across the scales. Such problems that require this kind of understanding include problems like climate change on the ecosystem.
Scale is particularly troublesome when it comes to large basins such as Mississippi. There are a number of instances that attest to this fact. Thus, precipitation can affect the amount of nitrogen in the land. This is because rain water can wash away huge amounts of nitrogen down the drainage basin.
This fact is best exemplified by the probability that gulf water collected during dry seasons have lower nitrate levels than during wet seasons. This can give managers a sense of security that is not guaranteed. The above example clearly illustrates the problems of dealing with environmental issues that are rated at large scale.
Political issues and scale aspects must be factored in such situations. Scale issues include the basin scale and individual watershed scale. Thus, proper research has to be conducted in order to identify areas that are more sensitive. Hence, funds have to be availed in such areas in order to alleviate the issue. This will reduce the amount of pressure on management groups.
The advantages of large scale conservation projects are that they attract huge funding from the government and other large corporations. The large scale projects also have the capacity to utilize the best brains at their disposal. They tend to benefit a huge population. There effects are therefore on a large scale.
Thus, green house emission is reduced on a large scale, enough water is made available to a larger population and for huge industrial and agricultural uses. The disadvantages of such project sis the conflict involved. Since they involve and affect huge populations and different regions, the projects tend to attract various forms of conflict of interests. They also require a lot of resources in terms of money and time.
The two examples of the Murray River and AMCOR represent environmental sustainability projects that are represented by differences in scale, complexity and sustainability. It is clear from those examples that the Murray Basin water management project is of such a large scale compared to the AMCOR housing and parking project.
The large scale aspect of the Murray water conservation project is actually the main course of its complexity. The advantages of large scale conservation projects are that they attract huge funding from the government and other large corporations. The large scale projects also have the capacity to utilize the best brains at their disposal.
Australian Government. (2011). Case Study: AMCOR achieves impressive results. Web.
Haisman, B. (2004). Murray Darling River Basin Case Study, Australia. Web.
Hatton et al. (2001). A Case Study of the Murray-Darling Basin. International Water Management Institute. Web.
Kellow, A. (2007). Science and public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
McLennan, B. & Moore, G. (n.d). Why Scale Matters. Moran, E. (2010). Human –Environmental Interactions and Sustainability. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
NPS. (2011). AMCOR. Web.