Environmental Skills and Knowledge for Sustainable Rural Communities: Problems and Prospects for the Inclusion of Young People

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Geography


This research seeks to connect the development of environmental skills and knowledges for young people to the production of a socially viable and economically regenerative countryside. Managing the countryside for the purposes of environmental sustainability is one of the few sectors of the rural economy that can offer young people the opportunity to live and work locally. It is also a means by which young people can develop a sense of responsibility for, and involvement in, their locales. Yet, how are community engagements being fostered through this sector, and how does it relate to a future for young people in rural areas?

The purpose of this research is to provide some answers to these difficult questions. In particular, through a combination of extended survey and in-depth qualitative research in two contrasting landscape regions the project aims to assess how, and with what effect, young people between the ages of 16 and 25 are being engaged in the environmental sector through programmes of voluntary work. It considers the roles that environmental organisations play in enabling young people to develop environmental skills and knowledges, and how these are mediated through the work of other groups at the heart of sustainable community networks.



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