Hope this finds all the readers well, despite the hazy and smoky weather predicted until Friday this week. My eyes and lungs are coping with this, and I hear the radio mention Portland is going to break its record summer temperatures this week.
As I look at the trees around me, the hazy and hot day makes me think of the word ‘elasticity’. Elasticity as in “the ability of an object or material to resume its normal shape after being stretched or compressed”. Why elasticity? Are these trees around me ‘stretching’ to cope with climate meted on them?
I think about what it takes for other species which are more directly exposed to climate unlike many of us living in relatively controlled conditions. Adaptation depends on ‘elasticity’ and the ‘coping capacity’ of organisms, including us. How elastic or adaptable are the key social and economic systems to climate change, e.g., food systems, urban systems, energy systems, and production and consumption systems? These key systems upon which we depend are dependent on the planetary system or the Earth system. We know now that the planetary boundaries of these natural systems are being stretched.
This brings me back to elasticity. What do we do to limit the stretching of the planetary boundaries? How can we stretch our abilities to cooperate, innovate, and reach out to all in our communities so we can each engage in collective action for change? I think about human capacity, our ‘elasticity’ to change the status quo to bring collective change in our unsustainable use of resources. Can we push our ‘comfort-based boundaries’ and change our resource use behaviors based on science and empathy?
We at GPSEN are working to provide such tools for change, by creating networks that leverage existing resources to help advance sustainability research, education, and policy tools that can usher change, starting within our own region. We urge you to explore this week’s newsletter and look out for updates on our new website ready to go live in the next month. These tools are for you. And join us in exploring our collective human capacity to bring positive change in our communities.