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(Re)connect the nexus: young Brazilians' experiences of and learning about food-water-energy

Grant number: 17/24167-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2017
Effective date (End): March 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Acordo de Cooperação: CONFAP ; Newton Fund, with FAPESP as a partner institution in Brazil ; ESRC, UKRI
Principal Investigator:José Antônio Perrella Balestieri
Grantee:Nadia Raphaela de Carvalho
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia (FEG). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Guaratinguetá. Guaratinguetá , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/50226-0 - (Re)connect the nexus: young Brazilians' experiences of and learning about food-water-energy, AP.TEM


Recent research about the foodwaterenergy nexus has tended to focus on flows (e.g. of food between producers and consumers) and ways of governing the nexus. However, there is a real need to understand how people understand, experience, learn about and participate in the foodwaternexus in their everyday lives. It is only by doing so that we can address crucial questions in terms of equality of access to nexus resources, resilience to nexus threats, and the role of education in addressing the needs and aspirations of diverse communities. In Brazil, as in other similar countries, young people are a hugely important group, both demographically and socially. In Brazil, young people (aged 024) make up 42% of the population. Moreover, we already know that in diverse global contexts, young people are instrumental in terms of securing access to resources (including nexus resources), economic productivity, social cohesion, societal resilience, and community life. In addition, young people are often the main recipients of education programmes especially Education for Sustainability (EfS) through which both threats to the nexus and broader sustainable development goals are frequently addressed. However, there is scant research either in Brazil or globally that focuses on young people and their interactions with the foodwaterenergy nexus. This project's main aim is to examine young people's (aged 1024) understandings, experiences and participation in the 'foodwaterenergy' nexus in Brazil. It focuses on this age group as older children and young adults are generally the main targets for EfS, and as they are likely to have greater capacities for engagement with and reflection on the nexus than younger children. In achieving this aim, the project will address three sets of research questions with huge potential for both academic and societal impacts. 1: What are young people's (aged 1024) understandings, experiences and participation in the foodwaterenergy nexus in Brazil? Focussing on Sao Paulo State as a case study, how do these vary in terms of their diverse geographical (urban, suburban, rural) and socioeconomic positioning (focussing on age, gender, class and ethnicity )? Amidst the complexities of the foodwaterenergy nexus, what are the key priorities for young people, their families and communities? How are young people included or (not) in accessing parts of the nexus? 2: What is the role of embodiment and reconnection in young people's engagements with the foodwaterenergy nexus? In other words, what are the everyday choices that young people with adult others must make in, for instance, choosing between the food, water or energy that fuel their bodies, homes and public services? What does it mean for young people to have 'closer' or 'more' distant connections with food in a Brazilian context and does the principle of 'reconnection', so important to EfS and other programmes for sustainable development have salience there? To what extent do young people's experiences challenge (perhaps Minority World) assumptions about the status of components of the nexus~ i.e. what are food, water and energy, in those contexts? 3: How does Education for Sustainability in Brazil specifically address the foodwaterenergy nexus? To what extent can learning about the nexus support young people's own understandings, experiences and participation of foodwaterenergy? (AU)

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