Conflicts in Ireland over how to best use natural resources – from oil and gas extraction to wind and fish farms – continue to make headlines. A new book from researchers with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway titled Methods of Sustainability Research for the Social Sciences offers fresh insights into how to understand local conflicts over natural resources, and their connections with [un]sustainable development.
“Recent efforts to exploit Ireland’s natural resources such as the Corrib Gas development, the proposed fish farm in Galway Bay, plans for hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and the erection of wind farms and pylons have been met with strong local opposition,” says Dr Henrike Rau, one of the book’s editors. She adds “Citizens across the country have voiced their concern over the potentially negative impacts of these projects for people and the environment. A recent event in Galway saw more than 1,000 people protest against the proposed fish farm in Galway Bay. Across the country people increasingly question the unsustainability of development that ignores local people’s interests and threatens their living environment.”
Methods of Sustainability Research is a collection of insights on innovative ways to examine sustainability questions. Its aim is to be a practical and useful resource for students, academics and practitioners interested in sustainability research.
Co-editors Dr Frances Fahy and Dr Henrike Rau, both of NUI Galway, brought together geographers, sociologists, psychologists, human ecologists and political scientists from Ireland and Europe, in an attempt to create a body of work that could offer real solutions informed by rigorous research. The book came in response to increased public interest in NUI Galway courses related to sustainability issues such as Environmental Planning, Sustainable Development in Ireland, Geographies of Sustainable Consumption and Sociology of the Environment.
Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says “Sustainability research has gained considerable momentum in recent times in both the natural and social sciences, partly because academics, policy makers and the public have grown increasingly aware of pressing social and environmental sustainability issues. The work of Drs Fahy and Rau and their team is making an important contribution to tackling our climate and energy crises. I am delighted to see the expertise that they and their colleagues have brought together has resulted in a format that so many can access.”
The book is being launched next Tuesday, 26 March at 5pm , in ‘The Space’, Áras na Mac Léinn, at NUI Galway. The launch is free, and all are welcome.