Figure 2. A livelihood and livelihood assets approach to the water-energy-food nexus. (Clarke, 2022)
On shore Coal Seam Gas (CSG) extraction is a controversial practice that has attracted scrutiny from stakeholders surrounding its risk to livelihoods and the environment at the water-energy-food nexus. Victoria’s 2016 public Inquiry into Unconventional Gas provided an opportunity to evaluate how stakeholders conceptualise the role of livelihoods at the water-energy-food nexus and how discourses were deployed to interpret the risks and benefits of CSG development. This paper argues that the relationship between CSG, livelihood assets and resource security is discursively constructed as a form of power and plays a significant role in both nexus modelling and CSG decision-making. This is supported by the application of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), which determined that stakeholders regularly considered livelihood assets to be crucial to both sustaining livelihoods and resource security in Victoria. Based on these findings, a revised water-energy-food nexus model is presented where livelihood assets are positioned at the centre of the nexus framework. This paper concludes by considering how competing environmental discourses are likely to shape the future of Australia’s water, energy and food security in ongoing CSG debates more generally.
Clarke, E. (2022). Livelihood discourses at the water-energy-food-nexus in Victoria’s Coal Seam Gas (CSG) debate. Environmental Sociology, 8(1), 52-63.
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