Place is about community and change. Some places lead to collective action, either because they allow people to gather and protest together, or because they represent a struggle. When urban planning is done right, it can create opportunities rather than isolation. Public spaces like plazas and parks draw a diverse range of people, giving us opportunities to meet other people in our communities. Planners can involve the whole community in the design of communal places, and when they do, civic participation rises. Ask people to take responsibility for planning community spaces, and we do that in ways that make community more sustainable.
We catch up on stories from earlier in the season with the latest developments. Great news on the Colorado River Delta gives us something to celebrate, as a decade’s long tragedy gets turned into a success story of water security and international cooperation. We revisit our conversation on placemaking with a discussion of the role of nature and wilderness in literature. And we wrap things up with post-election coverage of the impending fiscal cliff and what a second term for Obama means for the environment.
This week, we look at the earth beneath our feet — the landscape and the rocks themselves that form the foundations of our lives. We get intimate with stones and do some earth-shattering geology, we take a look at artists bringing their work back down to earth, and we explore that age-old question of nature versus nurture to discover just how deep environmental influences run. In our Pro extension, we guide our conversation to the inner realms, exploring landscapes of the imagination and the inner world of spirit.
We explore the ways that modern technology is wearing away at the boundaries between our bodies and our environment and how embracing our habit-forming instincts can help us craft better lives for ourselves. We also look at the human body as a sacred landscape in its own right, home to a teeming microbiome of bacteria that have helped us survive and adapt for thousands of years.
We look at an innocent casualty of war that is often overlooked as we explore the ecological impact of human warfare throughout history, the environmental cost of maintaining military might, and why the instability and insecurity brought about by global warming is encouraging more and more military leaders to start thinking green. We share a few laughs about an epic pillow fight that can teach us a few gentle lessons about real-world conflict, and we settle into the still center of peace within ourselves with a closing meditation on cultivating peace in the Celtic tradition.
Happy World Environment Day! Tonight, we explore this year’s WED theme, Green Economy: Does It Include You? What does a “green economy” look like? Our relationship with the natural world reflects our understanding of the value of material existence and the symbols we use to express that value, from money, to jobs, to social justice. We examine the different ways that communities all over the world envision sustainable economic systems, and the tension that arises between valuing the natural world and putting a price tag on it. In our Pro extension, we look at how transitioning to a greener economy not only benefits the planet, but can also lead to happier, healthier human beings and more fulfilling, creative work for everyone.