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Special Issue "Sustainable Rural Community Development and Environmental Justice"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jonathan London
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, USA
Interests: environmental justice; rural communities; participatory research; rural community development; and community engaged planning
Dr. Clare Cannon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, USA
Interests: Political Economy and the environment, global and urban sustainability; gender and society; feminist and queer theories; quantitative methodologies.

Special Issue Information

Dear colleague,

Rural communities in the Global North and Global South face a wide range of challenges in the context of sustainable development. They often occupy marginalized positions relative to urban centers, serving as sites of natural resource extraction and waste disposal. Rural communities are also driven by internal conflicts associated with dynamics of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors. Such structures and processes of inequality present significant challenges to any prospect for sustainable rural community development.

Environmental justice, which is a vital field of scholarship, policy, and advocacy, addresses the intersections of systems of inequality and the distribution of environmental hazards and opportunities for disadvantaged populations. Many of the formative struggles of the environmental justice movement have occurred in rural communities around the world, as residents and organizations have confronted the forces and legacies of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and systemic racism. The profound inequities caused by these historic and contemporary phenomena weaken rural communities’ capacities for building sustainable economic, environmental, and social systems. Environmental justice can therefore be a valuable lens to understand and inform interventions in protecting and promoting sustainable rural community development.

Recent scholarship has chronicled key rural environmental justice struggles around the world and has raised a number of pressing questions for those committed to sustainable rural community development. Such questions as: How are efforts to promote environmentally-just rural communities intertwined with broader processes organized at regional, national and/or global scales? How do these efforts occur at the intersections of social inequalities related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual orientation? And finally, how are social movements using environmental justice as a framework to mobilize collective action to address problems of unsustainable and inequitable development in rural communities?

This Special Issue invites papers that address these and related questions using multiple methods including but not limited to case studies, quantitative approaches, qualitative methods, and  theoretical frameworks. Given the global focus of this journal to global concerns, we invite contributions from a range of scales including local, regional, and global. Relevant topics could include:

  • Rural economic restructuring and sustainable livelihoods
  • Indigenous struggles for natural resource sovereignty
  • Climate justice in rural communities
  • Political ecology approaches to rural communities
  • Environmental contamination in rural communities
  • Innovations in rural environmental governance
  • The role of youth as rural community advocates
  • Urban-rural divisions and their ramifications for environmental justice
  • Rural communities’ place in the UN Sustainable Development Goals

This special edition seeks papers with an explicit environmental justice focus, including those that address issues of disparities in distribution of environmental hazards, amenities and/or representation. Potential authors should include a cover letter that describes how their article aligns with this focus and addresses these issues.

Dr. Jonathan London
Dr. Clare Cannon
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Rural communities
  • Sustainability
  • Climate justice
  • Environmental justice
  • Intersectionality
  • Community development
  • Social justice
  • Rural geography
  • Environmental governance
  • Political Ecology
  • Urban-rural interface

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
A Place-Based Pedagogical Action Study to Enrich Rural Sustainability: Knowledge Ties of National Taiwan University’s 10-Year Partnership with Pinglin
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2916; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052916 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 497
Abstract
This study focuses on the loss of youth and talent as one of the most pressing social justice issues leading to unsustainable and inequitable development in rural communities. With the backdrop of the rapid decline in the young rural population and loss of [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the loss of youth and talent as one of the most pressing social justice issues leading to unsustainable and inequitable development in rural communities. With the backdrop of the rapid decline in the young rural population and loss of local tacit knowledge, we question how to balance rural sustainability through place-based critical pedagogy by integrating rural societies, agri-economics, and cultural landscapes. To confront the crisis of a loss of young rural talent and local wisdom, interdisciplinary professors from the National Taiwan University initiated place-based pedagogical action research from winter 2011 to winter 2019. This interdisciplinary place-based pedagogy approach supported hundreds of students and educators by nurturing socio-cultural and economic networks that benefit both urban universities and rural communities. Using the curriculum outcomes of this study, we propose the concept of “Knowledge-Ties Youth Rural Sustainability” (KYRS). The KYRS framework addresses two questions: (1) how to bring young talent to rural everyday landscapes in order to sustain rural livelihoods, and (2) how to integrate rural tacit knowledge with contemporary sciences to create new technologies that sustain the environment. The KYRS framework serves as a pedagogical action research blueprint for university educators encountering similar rural challenges and opportunities to those faced by the National Taiwan University in Pinglin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Rural Community Development and Environmental Justice)
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Article
Unsettled Belonging in Complex Geopolitics: Refugees, NGOs, and Rural Communities in Northern Colorado
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031344 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 637
Abstract
In Colorado, meat processing and packing industries profit from the low-wage labor of foreign born workers and refugees in particular. Scholars and journalists have examined the hazardous and environmentally unjust workplace conditions in meatpacking, and detailed refugee struggles in North American resettlement geographies. [...] Read more.
In Colorado, meat processing and packing industries profit from the low-wage labor of foreign born workers and refugees in particular. Scholars and journalists have examined the hazardous and environmentally unjust workplace conditions in meatpacking, and detailed refugee struggles in North American resettlement geographies. Our research builds from this work to examine how multi-scalar geopolitical processes shape processes of refugee resettlement and refugee labor in Colorado’s meatpacking industries. Methods for this work include analysis of secondary data and twenty-two semi-structured interviews with various actors knowledgeable about refugee resettlement and/or agricultural production in Colorado. We argue various intersecting geopolitical processes—from immigration raids of meatpacking plants to presidential-level xenophobic discourses and ensuing immigration policies—interact to impact refugee resettlement and participation in the meat production sector. Moreover, while the U.S.’s neoliberal model of outsourcing resettlement to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been widely critiqued, we argue NGO employees, many of whom identify as foreign-born and/or refugees, work to build connection and belonging among refugees in challenging resettlement environments. We suggest a feminist geopolitics approach, which examines how the “global” and the “intimate” are deeply intertwined, is a useful perspective for understanding complicated racialized spaces in the rural United States, including efforts to build connections and empower refugee identities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Rural Community Development and Environmental Justice)
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