Listening to Experiences of Environmental Change in Rural Vietnam: An Intergenerational Approach

Laura Beckwith*, Siobhan Warrington, Hue Nguyen, Tanh Nguyen, Chamithri Greru, Graham Smith, Thuy Mai Thi Minh, Lan Nguyen, Oliver Hensengerth, Pam Woolner, Matt Baillie Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

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Locally led adaptation is increasingly promoted as an important strategy for addressing the impacts of climate change. However, the understanding of rural realities in the Global South is still limited by insufficient information about the complex and dynamic relationships between rural communities and their environment. These relationships are influenced both by the material aspects of place and by the social and cultural dynamics that shape identities. This paper seeks to address this gap by providing an in-depth examination of how older and younger people are living with environmental change in two rural areas in Vietnam. Recognizing the lack of attention given to older people as important environmental actors, this paper will make three key contributions: move from a focus on the vulnerability of older people to one which highlights their capabilities; introduce an intergenerational approach that builds an inclusive understanding of rural communities; and embrace a complex appreciation of environmental change that looks beyond the usual framings of climate change and impact upon livelihoods’ to other aspects of people’s relationship with a changing environment. In doing so, this paper calls for an increased appreciation for the multiple values of nature, particularly how different community members engage with and appreciate their environment, to support more relevant and sustainable approaches to addressing local environmental challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-480
Number of pages20
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number4
Early online date4 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

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