Today in class we did a better big words speed dating session. It helped me formulate a better idea of what my project will turn into, but probably more importantly it made me realize what the gaps in my argument are.
My elevator pitch went something like this (although it evolved every time I gave it):
My better big word is resilience, which replaces or expands upon the classic environmental thought of sustainability. Resilience comes from the biological ideal of ecological resilience, where the biophysical environment can go through change but maintain a baseline standard of ecological health. I’m incorporating this idea of ecological resilience into a conception of community resilience. Communities, just like ecosystems, are all connected, and if one part is not doing well then it will be harder to be resilient to change later on. I’m trying to figure out what the “reality” or baseline of resilience is — should we try to return to the baseline of yesterday, maintain our current society, or come up with a baseline that is completely different? In some ways, this is like creating a utopian vision to return to. At the same time, resilience inherently includes a dystopian view because it’s assuming that some big change or disaster is about to happen. A few other questions I have about resilience are the scale at which we can achieve resilience (should we focus on small resilient communities or can we achieve national resilience?), and if it’s possible to create a resilient community before knowing what it needs to be resilient to (i.e. natural disaster preparedness).
Some feedback I got included a recommendation to focus on only one aspect of resilience instead of trying to answer a bunch of different questions. It’s hard to choose just one aspect because they are all connected, but I think narrowing down my focus will help me strengthen the part that I do choose. I think this will come once I read some of the important texts on resilience, which will come in my next post!