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Engaging Youth for Sustainable Coastal Community Economies

Lead Researcher and Department
Räisa Mirza, MSc Student, Department of Geography, Memorial University

Collaborators and Students
Dr. Kelly Vodden, Department of Geography, Memorial University

Funding Resources
INTRD Strategic Partnership; Harris Centre

Summary
Declining birth rates and an aging population will pose a challenge in sustaining economic growth in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as in most provinces in Canada and OECD countries. Demographic challenges are particularly acute in rural regions. A vibrant and engaged rural youth populace is crucial for the transformation of the economy of the province as it moves forward. However, the fisheries collapse compounded with few economic opportunities in rural areas has resulted in a net out-migration of youth from rural areas. This has led to an unprecedented loss of local conservation and economic knowledge and potential, important for future development of these sectors.

Research has shown that youth place a high priority on protection of the environment and sustainable regional development. However, civic engagement among youth is at an all-time low while seniors in rural areas are becoming over-burdened with community-level duties. In the context of the social economy, especially within the conservation and resource management sectors local knowledge is crucial for sustainable future economic growth and to find new solutions for local environmental and economic problems that have roots in past actions and behaviours.

This report seeks to address the need for increased understanding of the interplays that exist between the engagement of rural youth, their relationship with and understanding of their local environment and how building more capacity and knowledge about their locales can increase the resilience of rural communities. The report provides a background on the state of youth, youth engagement and programs to increase youth engagement in general, and insights on increasing their involvement in environmental stewardship, conservation and the ‘green economy’. Despite the proliferation of youth engagement programs at community organisation levels, there are very few examples of governments trying to effectively engage youth in determining their own futures. Furthermore, although much literature exists on the importance and benefits of intergenerational knowledge programs, few specific best practices were found to make a strong case for this practice. The report concludes with the acknowledgement that more detailed and long-term research needs to be undertaken on youth perceptions of environmental stewardship, linking intergenerational knowledge and increased community development.

http://www.mun.ca/harriscentre/reports/arf/2011/11-SPHCSRF-Final-Mizra.pdf

Dates
2012

Keywords
Youth engagement, Sustainable economies, Environmental stewardship, Community development

Locations
Grand Falls-Windsor
Harbour Breton
Grand Falls-Windsor - Baie Verte - Harbour Breton
Zone 12 - Exploits Valley
Zone 11 - Emerald
Zone 13 - Coast of Bays
Baie Verte

Industry Sectors
Social science research and development (Professional, scientific and technical services — Scientific research and development services — Research and development in the social sciences and humanities)

Thematic Categories
Community Development
Engagement
Sustainability
Youth

Departments
Geography, Faculty of Arts (STJ)
Harris Centre (STJ)