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  1. Abstract

    In this Perspective we take an in-depth look at what coordinated stakeholder engagement could entail for phosphorus sustainability. The element phosphorus is critical to life on Earth and to the continued functioning of society as we know it. Yet, how society uses phosphorus is currently unsustainable, both as a resource in support of global food production where inequitable distribution creates food security challenges, but also from an environmental aspect, where mismanagement has led to negative impacts on the quality of agricultural soils, human health, and freshwater and marine ecosystems. A number of initiatives and cross-sector consortia have come together to address sustainable phosphorus management at either global or regional scales. However, these efforts could benefit from a more coordinated approach to stakeholder engagement to identify the diversity of needs and perspectives involved in this complex challenge. Herein we examine some examples of different approaches to developing such coordinated stakeholder engagement in other areas of environmental sustainability. We consider how to apply the lessons learned from those efforts toward stakeholder coordination in the realm of phosphorus sustainability. Particularly, we discuss the value of a coordinating body to manage the communications and knowledge sharing necessary to develop trust and cooperation amongmore »diverse stakeholder groups and to transition society to more sustainable phosphorus use.

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  2. Abstract Scientific study of issues at the nexus of food–energy–water systems (FEWS) requires grappling with multifaceted, “wicked” problems. FEWS involve interactions occurring directly and indirectly across complex and overlapping spatial and temporal scales; they are also imbued with diverse and sometimes conflicting meanings for the human and more-than-human beings that live within them. In this paper, we consider the role of language in the dynamics of boundary work, recognizing that the language often used in stakeholder and community engagement intended to address FEWS science and decision-making constructs boundaries and limits diverse and inclusive participation. In contrast, some language systems provide opportunities to build bridges rather than boundaries in engagement. Based on our experiences with engagement in FEWS science and with Indigenous knowledges and languages, we consider examples of the role of language in reflecting worldviews, values, practices, and interactions in FEWS science and engagement. We particularly focus on Indigenous knowledges from Anishinaabe and the language of Anishinaabemowin, contrasting languages of boundaries and bridges through concrete examples. These examples are used to unpack the argument of this work, which is that scientific research aiming to engage FEWS issues in working landscapes requires grappling with embedded, practical understandings. This perspective demonstrates themore »importance of grappling with the role of language in creating boundaries or bridges, while recognizing that training in engagement may not critically reflect on the role of language in limiting diversity and inclusivity in engagement efforts. Leaving this reflexive consideration of language unexamined may unknowingly perpetuate boundaries rather than building bridges, thus limiting the effectiveness of engagement that is intended to address wicked problems in working landscapes.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. null (Ed.)
    Community and stakeholder engagement is increasingly recognized as essential to science at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems (FEWS) to address complex issues surrounding food and energy production and water provision for society. Yet no comprehensive framework exists for supporting best practices in community and stakeholder engagement for FEWS. A review and meta-synthesis were undertaken of a broad range of existing models, frameworks, and toolkits for community and stakeholder engagement. A framework is proposed that comprises situational awareness of the FEWS place or problem, creation of a suitable culture for engagement, focus on power-sharing in the engagement process, co-ownership, co-generation of knowledge and outcomes, the technical process of integration, the monitoring processes of reflective and reflexive experiences, and formative evaluation. The framework is discussed as a scaffolding for supporting the development and application of best practices in community and stakeholder engagement in ways that are arguably essential for sound FEWS science and sustainable management.