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  1. Abstract

    Community resilience is critical to managing the effects of climate change and in achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Resilient communities are able to manage stressors and recover from them, such as in instances of energy service outages. Instances like these can lead to communities that feel forced to exhibit individual characteristics of resilience, such as neighbors relying on each other in times of need because history has shown them that they cannot rely on outside institutions for help. Communities may adopt factors of individual psychological resilience in the face of energy service outages because they lack structural support to exhibit community resilience or to pursue resilient energy systems. This lack of access to support and resources is in conflict with principles of procedural justice and energy sovereignty while reinforcing institutional mistrust within affected communities and contributing to social vulnerability. This article contemplates and expounds on the idea of coerced resilience in the face of energy service outages and severe weather within a rural, remote community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP). The UP is located at the tail end of electricity infrastructure, putting its residents at increased risk of experiencing energy service outages that are further complicated by its isolation and severe winter weather. We examine the idea of coerced resilience, its relation to social vulnerability, and how it conflicts with concepts of energy justice and the UN’s SDG. We further go on to highlight how certain populations and youth can minimize instances of coerced resilience and contribute to sustainable development making it an important consideration to achieve sustainable development goals.

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  2. Abstract

    In this paper, we reflect on our collective experiences engaging with Anishinaabe Tribal Nations in the Great Lakes region to support Tribal sovereignty in decision‐making for food, energy, and water (FEW) systems. In these diverse experiences, we find common lessons. The first set of lessons contributes new empirical knowledge regarding the challenges and opportunities that rural Great Lakes Tribal Nations navigate for enacting sovereignty in decision‐making. Our experiences illustrate that while Tribal Nations benefit from a broad and deep commitment to sovereignty and many cultural strengths, they are often challenged by shortages in administrative capacity; technical support; and embeddedness in economic, socio‐cultural, and institutional dynamics that must be further negotiated for Tribes to enact the sovereignty to which they are inherently (and legally) entitled. Productive partnerships struggle when university partners fail to acknowledge these realities. The second set of lessons addresses the potential for, and challenges of, effective engagement processes. We find that engagement with university professionals is often mismatched with the priorities and needs of Tribal Nations. Effective engagement with Tribal Nations requires practical knowledge, applied assistance, and grounded, genuine relationships; these requirements often run counter to the institutional structures and priorities imposed by universities, federal funding agencies, and student recruitment. These findings, associated with both empirical knowledge and lessons on process, highlight shared insights on formidable barriers to effective engagement. Based on our firsthand experience working with rural Tribal Nations on FEW decision‐making, we share these reflections with particular focus on lessons learned for professionals who engage, or hope to engage, with Tribal Nations in rural settings and offer opportunities to transform engagement processes to better support the immediate, practical needs of rural Tribal Nations.

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  3. This paper proposes two contributions to the literature on the social acceptance (SA) of energy systems and public perceptions of renewable energy (RE) transitions. The first contribution is methodological, recognizing more effective and inclusive forms of engagement begin with building reciprocal relationships and collaborative research partnerships operationalizing the tenets of energy justice. Employing these methodological recommendations, we conducted a collaborative, inclusive, and equitable research design and engagement practice by collaborating with Tribal members on research with expressly mutual benefits. In this work, a years-long collaboration of Tribal members and non-Tribal researchers developed a methodology to survey respondents at an accessible and culturally relevant community event to learn about preferences and perceived barriers to transitioning to RE. A second contribution is empirical. The results suggest shared priorities for energy solutions that enhance energy sovereignty, i.e., community control and ownership of energy services provisioning. They also demonstrate widespread awareness regarding barriers to a RE transition and simultaneously, some potential misperceptions about the challenges to transition. This study reinforces the need for SA research to move beyond asking what technologies receive public support and where those technologies should be sited to consider how access and transparency in planning processes, collaboration, engagement, development, ownership, and benefits are organized and can be radically reconfigured to enable the just transition to a decarbonized energy system. 
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  4. Abstract

    Social practice theory offers a multidisciplinary perspective on the relationship between infrastructure and wellbeing. One prominent model in practice theory framessystems of provisionas the rules, resources, and structures that enable the organization of social practices, encompassing both material and immaterial aspects of infrastructures. A second well-known model frames social practices in terms of their constituent elements: meanings, materials, and competences. Reconciling these two models, we argue that household capacity to respond to shifting systems of provision to maintain wellbeing is profoundly tied to the dynamics of privilege and inequity. To examine these dynamics, we propose a new analytical tool utilizing the Bourdieuian conceptualization of forms of capital, deepening the ability of social practice theory to address structural inequities by re-examining the question ofwhois able to access specific infrastructures. To illustrate this approach, we examine how households adapted to shifting systems of provision during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from 183 households in the Midwestern United States, we apply this tool to analyze adaptations to disruptions of multiple systems of provision, including work, school, food, and health, from February 2020 to August 2021. We highlight how household wellbeing during the pandemic has been impacted by forms of capital available to specific households, even as new social practices surrounding COVID-19 prevention became increasingly politicized. This research provides insight into both acute challenges and resilient social practices involving household consumption, indicating a need for policies that can address structural inequities across multiple systems of provision.

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  5. 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 the 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. 
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