Applying the FEW nexus concept at the local scale

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Henry P. Huntington, Jennifer Schmidt, Philip A. Loring, Erin Whitney, Srijan Aggarwal, Amanda G. Byrd, Subhabrata Dev, Aaron D. Dotson, Daisy Huang, Barbara Johnson


The food-energy-water (FEW) nexus describes interactions among domains that yield gains or tradeoffs when analyzed together rather than independently. In a project about renewable energy in rural Alaska communities, we applied this concept to examine the implications for sustainability and resilience. The FEW nexus provided a useful framework for identifying the cross-domain benefits of renewable energy, including gains in FEW security. However, other factors such as transportation and governance also play a major role in determining FEW security outcomes in rural Alaska. Here we show the implications of our findings for theory and practice. The precise configurations of and relationships among FEW nexus components vary by place and time, and the range of factors involved further complicates the ability to develop a functional, systematic FEW model. Instead, we suggest how the FEW nexus may be applied conceptually to identify and understand cross-domain interactions that contribute to long-term sustainability and resilience.



Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences


Arctic, climate change, energy security, food energy water nexus, food security, sustainability, water security


Published: 2021-04-01 17:14

Last Updated: 2021-05-11 10:37

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