Special Issue: Research innovation in New Zealand in the sustainability space.
This special issue deals with the diverse range of issues facing New Zealand and include a specific focus on integrating the human dimensions of environmental challenges into a post-normal science framework, quantitative modelling and the relatively new exploration of participatory modelling, and empirical ethics. These issues include climate change/global warming, water and air quality, indigenous habitat protection, and the risks to biodiversity associated with genetically modified organisms and invasive pests. The issue consists of seven papers. The first paper examines the reduction of terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions using a post-normal science framework. The second paper focuses on climate change mitigation at a regional level in New Zealand. The third paper explores the environmental impact of New Zealand's food and fibre industries from two perspectives: the direct impacts of the producer; and how purchasing decisions by consumers have indirect impacts on the environment. Three papers evaluate different participatory modelling approaches. Thus the fourth paper attempts to implement mediated modelling, which seeks to build consensus among stakeholders, based on a shared conceptual/mathematical modelling language. The fifth paper explores the scope for mediated modelling to be used as a tool by local authorities in New Zealand in helping facilitate and implement long-term community plans for working towards future sustainability solutions. The sixth paper uses an influence matrix, which was trialled in the Motueka catchment. The seventh paper highlights the importance of empirical ethics when developing public policy. It discusses qualitative research that compared the attitudes and beliefs of the public with those of the science community in New Zealand, on the issue of genetic engineering. This special issue provides a sample of the diversity of New Zealand ecological economic and sustainability research in New Zealand. The papers' innovative approaches to the issues provide unique perspectives on some of New Zealand's most pressing sustainability issues. In doing so, these papers clearly identify New Zealand as a hotbed of innovative thinking in the sustainability space.