Navigation Links
K-State geographer working to clarify what sustainability really means to rural decision-makers
Date:9/22/2009

From book titles to real estate developments, it's easier to find things claiming to be sustainable than it is to define it.

That's why a Kansas State University geographer is trying to pin down exactly what sustainability means to those who might be trying to work toward it. Her goal is to better understand what is important to people who have to make decisions about what to sustain with the hope that this will later help civic and business leaders in rural communities make more informed decisions about sustainability.

Lisa Harrington is a K-State professor of geography whose interest is in rural geography. She is teaching a K-State class in sustainability science and said one of the big issues in teaching such a course is developing a good sense of what sustainability means and communicating that to students.

"I want to develop a better sense of how people view the term sustainability and develop a better sense of issues and problems that people in rural areas are having related to ideas of sustainability," Harrington said. "Sustainability is broadly applied without always being meaningful. Generally, people try to use it appropriately. It's just that it is a term that's broad enough it can be misused."

For her research, Harrington interviewed civic leaders and resource users in rural Washington and Oregon to get a sense of what sustainability means to them and how they feel about it. Harrington found that some rural leaders have an understanding of sustainability that fits how scholars and professionals define it -- as something that can last into the future. But other rural leaders she interviewed don't like how the term is used or don't understand it.

"Some of the people I interviewed are planners, so they want a really clear definition that they can apply to their work," Harrington said. "I wanted to get a sense of what sorts of problems rural leaders and decision-makers were focusing on and some of the changes and stresses they're experiencing that relate to sustainability."

In the rural Pacific Northwest, Harrington said, the primary industries are fishing, logging and tourism. All of these industries require a balance of sustaining the local economy and sustaining the very environment that makes fishing, logging and tourism viable in the first place. Moreover, Harrington said that the tourism industry raises social sustainability issues like whether service industry workers can afford housing in the communities where they work.

"When people are thinking about sustainability, they can't really sustain everything -- ecologically, socially or economically -- at the same time," she said. "Choices have to be made."

Harrington presented the research in July at the 17th annual Colloquium of the International Geographical Union's Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems.

Harrington plans to continue this research elsewhere in the country, including in Kansas. She expects that the specific issues will be different -- for instance, sustaining family farms rather than ocean ecology. But Harrington expects that some of the underlying problems will be the same, including the availability of suitable housing and jobs that pay enough to sustain families.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa Harrington
lbutlerh@k-state.edu
785-532-3410
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. K-State Veterinary Lab routinely tests for bluetongue virus
2. K-State chemistry professor to receive Masao Horiba award
3. K-State sociologists use Department of Energy grant
4. K-State researchers findings on E. coli
5. K-State specialist in tick-borne pathogens receives $1.8 million grant
6. K-State contributions to red flour beetle genome sequencing featured in March 27 issue of Nature
7. Rapid test for pathogens developed by K-State researchers
8. K-State professors USDA research shows mad cow disease also caused by genetic mutation
9. K-State research: Freshwater pollution costs US at least $4.3 billion a year
10. Researchers to use K-States BSL-3 Lab for $1 million study of fungus threatening wheat crops
11. K-State biologist collaborating with researchers in Africa on grassland sustainability, biodiversity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
K-State geographer working to clarify what sustainability really means to rural decision-makers
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus ... justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections ... the prisons involved, it has secured the final ... (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. ... additional facilities to be installed by October, 2016. ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry ... - 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture ... in 2015 and is estimated to grow at ... billion by 2024.  Increasing application of ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... TURKU, Finland , June 9, 2016 ... French National Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure ... France during the major tournament ... and data communications systems and services, announced today that its ... Police Prefecture to back up public safety across ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... LOUISVILLE, Ky. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... from two Phase 1 clinical trials of its ... double-blind, placebo-controlled, single and multiple ascending dose studies ... and pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy ... APL-2 subcutaneously (SC) either as a single dose ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated electronic ... showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 for ... Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug Information ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division ... tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing ... collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: