Humans have been adapting to changing environments since inception. Environmental changes were generally slow on a geological time scale, making oral traditions sufficient for transferring knowledge about successful adaptation experiments. Anthropogenic climate change is occurring faster than the best predictions of even just three years ago. Adaptation, therefore, must be swift. Yet no formal, systematic mechanism exists for documenting and aggregating the results of both failed and successful adaptation experiments. Nor does a mechanism exist, for disseminating this knowledge. This talk will introduce the Sustainability Experimentation Venture Network (SEVeN), a concept for producing, aggregating and disseminating knowledge related to sustainability experimentation broadly and climate adaptation specifically. The talk will engage the audience in a collaborative process of identifying the ideal parameters for SEVeN. For example, what qualifies as a “sustainability experiment?” What is the ideal scale of the sustainability experiments that should be documented? What are the key variables for which data should be collected (e.g., cost, speed of implementation, level of technical knowledge required, etc.)?
Monthly Archives: September 2014
Urban Growth, Heterogeneity and Activism in Mexico’s Cities | Mexico
Most often, sustainability is associated with questions pertaining to the natural environment or, in the urban context, with ways to mitigate the problems associated with rapid demographic growth and its associated troubles. But how might the concept of sustainability help us frame questions of racial, ethnic and cultural belonging in today’s rapidly expanding urban centers in the Global South? How is the articulation of ethnic and cultural identities amongst the growing urban indigenous population in Mexico a matter of sustainability? This talk will examine the experiences and mobilizations of Wixárika indigenous youth who are living, studying, and working in Mexico’s western cities of Guadalajara and Tepic. My ethnographic and archival research explores state and popular perceptions of racial belonging in these two cities and the challenges these imaginaries face. Specifically, this talk will discuss the ways that Wixárika university students and young professionals negotiate these perceptions, increasingly through forms of activism that assert the rights of indigenous people to be heterogeneous urban citizens. These acts of activism and visibility on university campuses, government buildings and private offices manifest a push away from observing racial alterity in cities as a relation of “negative difference” to one of “positive heterogeneity.”
Traditional Is Modern: An environmentally sustainable approach to earthquake-resistant construction | India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran
Traditional construction and vernacular architecture in earthquake areas. By focusing on traditional examples of earthquake resistant construction. Showing evidence of how one of the most extreme environmental forces to which buildings may be subject to can provide a fulcrum for understanding differences between indigenous traditional buildings and post-industrial construction using steel and concrete, now perceived as “modern.” The examples are based on experience from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iran, as well as in Italy, Portugal, Haiti and Central America.
Can Africa survive the current food system crisis? | Africa
Introducing the debate around the issue of systemic crisis of global food system in relation to global hunger, climate change, and sustainability; particularly, its ramifications on the African people and continent. Moreover, it is crucial to shed lights on three folds: (a) the political question of huger and food distribution, (b) the debate around the food system and climate change vis-à-vis land grabs which will include examination of large scale food production, and (c) alternative solutions of the current food system that rural farmers and social movements advocating for.