A youthful look at the future of Nova Scotia’s coasts: Towards Inter-generationally inclusive coastal management
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Natural resource management initiatives often aim to manage resources for the benefit of future generations; however, the input and perceptions of the youth who make up those future generations are rarely included in the management process. When resource management initiatives fail to consult, engage and solicit the participation of youth, they are subsequently at risk of being inter-generationally blind, unimaginative, and may not meet the needs of the entire community they impact, nor the ‘future generations’ resources are often managed for. This research explores the extent to which Nova Scotia’s coastal management initiatives have involved youth and considers the potential for better and more comprehensive youth engagement and participation moving forward. Youth perceptions of Nova Scotia’s coastal management are analyzed for their potential to enhance Nova Scotia’s coastal management initiatives, and the feasibility of including these perspectives in provincial coastal management is assessed. Results from this study suggest that youth perceptions have traditionally been overlooked in coastal resource management in Nova Scotia, and this represents a missed opportunity for enhancing Nova Scotia’s youth retention, fostering community-youth development and, sourcing creative and youthful solutions to increasingly complex problems. Keywords: youth engagement; coastal management; participation; decision-making; inter-generational.