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Rural Renewal Initiative

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Rural Climate Resilience

Climate change threatens rural communities across the US due to their strong dependence on natural resources and higher poverty rates and lower resilience capacity than urban areas. There is a pressing need to advance the science of rural climate resilience and to reduce climate change vulnerabilities in rural communities. This project seeks to meet that important need through the confluence of knowledge, skills, and perspectives from diverse but connected communities, disciplines, and institutions within the Mississippi River basin. The Rural Confluence project is significant because it will engage rural communities to create shared frameworks for rural climate resilience, project rural climate change impacts and community resilience scenarios, expand social and economic opportunities for rural communities, and broaden STEM workforce opportunities for people from rural and underrepresented backgrounds.


Through the collaborations between faculty and students at Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Louisiana State University, along with Hispanic and Native American minority-serving institutions, Western Oklahoma State College and Northern Oklahoma College, this project will substantially advance rural climate resilience research and generate lasting improvements in rural STEM opportunities. These collaborations will lay the foundation for long-term partnerships between the Rural Renewal Initiative (OSU), Rural Prosperity Nebraska (UNL), and the Gulf Scholars Program (LSU). Rural Confluence is expected to touch the lives of thousands of people and translate to economic impacts in rural communities by identifying potential solutions to expected climate change-driven losses. Focusing climate resilience research on rural communities creates the potential to bridge the divide between rural and scientific communities, while creating frameworks and civic engagement strategies that may be applied in other rural communities around the world.

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