Sustainable Development Is Possible For Academic Research

1647 WordsAug 14, 20167 Pages
During the last eleven years my work in Belize has evidenced that sustainable development is possible when academic research incorporates community direction, and recognizes local expertise as a component in the formation of new knowledge. Indeed, we are able to manage problems—and in many cases improve lives—by collaborating to undertake community driven and academically supported initiatives. What is sometimes misunderstood in the context of academia, community-based research promotes the creation of new knowledge through multiple sources including academia, local tacit expertise, and cultural context (Strand, Marullo, Cutforth, Stoecker, & Donohue, 2003). Collaborative solutions to issues and challenges that work within the parameters of local resources are paramount to sustainability. Moreover, sustainability is critical in effecting a lasting improvement in the human condition. The projects that I implemented in December of 2014 and December of 2015—particularly those directed at soil quality—are indicators of the effectiveness and sustainability of these collaborative efforts. Although these projects may seem diverse, in the context of addressing the challenges of food insecurity, poverty, lack of access to clean water, and environmental degradation; interdisciplinary solutions in the framework of the integrated natural resource management model could be employed to resolve these issues (Sanchez, Palm, & Buol, 2003, p. 159). Agricultural communities—especially with
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