When Jim told us that we would eventually be coming up with our own environmental theory during the class overview in the beginning of the semester, I was skeptical. I didn’t feel comfortable dealing with other people’s theories, let alone creating my own. Like many things in college, I decided to put it on the back burner and worry about it later.
Now, after weeks of late night readings, grappling with complex theories about knowledge, science, reality, and ethics, carrying out a praxis project, and presenting a poster at the Festival of Scholars, it’s finally time to bring that simmering pot to a rolling boil. Surprisingly (and thankfully) I feel totally ready. I know it won’t be easy, but I now have the tools to think everything through, and I think creating my own theory will be a great outlet to not only process everything I learned this semester and decide what I agree with and what I disagree with, but also move me towards a senior thesis/capstone.
The SAAB grant that I received to do research this summer deals with resilient communities, so I thought it would be an obvious big word to explore. It’s relatively new in that it’s not completely overused like sustainability yet, but it’s getting there. I hope to define it in my own way while it’s still getting shaped.
To me, resilience is sustainability but with a social aspect. Sustainability focuses on things you can do, or technologies to implement, but I see resilience as including the interactions between people and the environment, and allowing for natural fluctuations of utopian and dystopian events.
Here are some preliminary connections and questions that I thought of while brainstorming in class on Tuesday:
- Reality: nature/culture= resilience in an ecological sense and in a social sense. What is the baseline of resilience, in other words what are we trying to make sure we can return to? The reality of today or reality of yesterday?
- Knowledge: ? Still figuring out that connection.
- Ethics: What should we protect/return to? Is a resilient world utopian and idealistic? What’s most important in a resilient community, the landscape or the people? Can a place still be considered resilient if only one of these things is maintained?
- Politics: Relates to cosmopolitanism and resilience, interconnectivity, what scale of resilience is most viable? Who should be in charge of resilience? Government or local communities?
I’m excited to read more about resilience and begin forming my own connections and theories!