Sustainable Development and Environmental Injustice in Rural Ontario, Canada: Cases of Wind Energy and Biosolid Processing

Chad Walker, Sarah Mason, Danny Bednar


Global demographics are shifting, and as a result, rural populations are becoming further open to marginalization in regional politics. This research uses in-depth qualitative interviews to examine how the politics of two specific techno-industrial developments in Canada have played out within a complex urban-rural perspective of development. Using an environmental justice framework, we focus on how urban and rural values are manifested in rural citizens’ perspectives of development processes—an idea that has rarely been investigated in the Canadian context. Through a unique multiple case-study approach, complexities emerge within the general view of marginalization of rural places. Most notable is the notion that regional policy directions are driven largely by urban centres of power disconnected from the realities of rural life. Further, we note residents’ identification of the multi-scalar nature of the problem, which appears to be less one of perceived industrial exploitation, and more a lack of representation in regional political processes.

Keywords: environmental justice; rural geography, risk, development, wind energy, biosolids

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.