ICR -- Investigating Community Resilience
Every week Dave Barrons hosts a conversation about community resilience in the Northwestern Michigan. Each show investigates resilience through various themes with his guests. Select one of the themes in the left sidebar to watch past shows from that theme's perspective.
This is an archive site, please visit the new website - icr.nrec.org
In this second of a two part discussion Bob and Dave begin by recognizing how widespread talk of resilience is becoming. In the effort prevent the concept from becoming hackneyed, the two zero in on two key points of distinction: resilience is not the same as sustainability nor is resilience the same as efficiency. In fact resilience is the opposite of single outcome efficiencies. Resilient eco-social communities will not be completely completely or fully efficient. Pockets of inefficiencies and unused resources often become the locus of resilience when changes in the environment (natural and man-made environments) demand adaption.
With this program Bob and Dave dive into a two part discussion of the basic concepts and thinking points involved in the idea of 'community resilience'.They begin with a discussion of the premise of resilience as applied to eco-social communities. Quickly they share the Richard Heinberg narrated video, The Ultimate Roller Coaster Ride: Four Hundred Years of Fossil Fuel History. Eco-Social Resilience matters because the drive of history is changing. Energy constraint and expense, along with climate change, are already causing changes, even shocks, to our globalized system of doing things. Severe stresses to our way of life are likely in the near term future.
We wrap up our current discussion of placemaking and related issues with Harry Burkholder and Heather Seyfarth. Both are planners with Lands Information Access Association and involve in numerous community planning projects. Economic development surveys reveal that "an attractive place with lots to do" is the prime reason the key, youthful demographic age grades communities need to attract to strengthen local social capital. Designing a place for people, making a place that is attractive to live in, is critical to small communities as well as large. All communities in a region need to attend to their design for people for the whole region's benefit. Burkholder and Seyfarth report on their experiences trying to develop a future vision amongst local leaders.
No other form of transportation is as energy efficient as "steel wheels on steel rails". Saving the few railroad tracks that serve northern Michigan is a must for our future resilience. Bruckbauer points out that Michigan is really just getting a handle on it's rail needs with the current level of planning, and much more public support is needed to insure that the north gets the connections and rail development it needs. Just a few years ago the state was not looking at future rail plans at all, and only strong public showings at public comment sessions has kept the northern part of the state in the discussion at all. July 14 brings a panel discussion to the Traverse Area Public Library where current work on downstate rail improvements will be outline and discussed. But, our rails connect downstate so what happens there matters here, and public interest and support is critical to keeping the whole effort going.
This week's talk covers two topics, really. Gary Howe returns to outline Traverse City's application for a private grant from the PetSafe Company for the construction of a dog park at one of several possible locations in town. The grant application goes well as Traverse City is in the final group of 25 applicants. Voting for the winner begins July 13th on www.barkforyourpark.com. Check out that site to vote, and go to www.tcdogpark to connect with the local effort. Dog parks can be an effective example of 'placemaking'. Gary and Dave will fill out the discussion with a bigger picture look at 'placemaking' with a dog park being but one specific example.
Jim Crowfoot, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, is this weeks guest. The discussion begins with a description of the freshman/sophomore seminar Jim designed for students entering the U of M., a multi-disciplinary, look at The Environment, Religions, Spirituality and Sustainability. Crowfoot is greatly concerned that even high achieving students gaining acceptance at the U of M come that far with little understanding of the environmental foundations of our human societies or the threats to that foundation. Religions and spirituality come into play because Crowfoot found over years of teaching that students so often set their own values aside when entering the classroom leaving them with little connection to the material being taught. Without sensing and understanding ones own spiritual connection to the natural world, or the place of nature and the environment in one's religious beliefs, the contemporary threats to our environment and to our communities can not be grasped. Understanding the social-ecological community and coming to grips with ones own place in it, is a powerful and absolutely neccessary tool, Crowfoot believes, as we face the multitude of changes and challenges in the near future.