Greetings, fellow planetarians. Welcome to our PechaKucha night. PechaKucha is a fast-paced presentation style developed by two architects in Japan who wanted to create a dynamic format featuring multiple speakers that would stimulate lively interaction. The format is simple, 20 × 20: twenty slides paced at twenty seconds each, followed by discussion. Two scholars in the environmental humanities proposed our theme of what resilience means to you.
1. Hispanic man helping the author extract a seat belt receiver from a Toyota Corolla carcass at Pick-N-Pull in Sparks, Nevada. Scrap yards, flea markets, yard sales, auctions, and thrift shops. People hunting bargains, making due, getting by.
2. House sparrows. Chirping atop the D of McDonalds and foraging sidewalk fries.
3. Kids playing—anywhere, in any era. An India rubber ball. Caoutchouc. Made of latex from a rubber tree. Kids and rubber are renewable resources.
4. A recently divorced person, alone in the house. The one who left or the one who was left. Time heals. But pain is unavoidable.
5. A tree in the wind. If you grow a tree indoors and then transplant it outdoors, it will snap in the wind. A tree that grows up outdoors will sway in the wind.
6. Trucks and cars parked at the Hungry Valley powwow. Survivance. The Paiute people. Defended the valley, their land, from an Oil-Dri kitty litter mine. The battle of 2001 was fought in the courts and in the court of public opinion. The Indians won.
7. Nelson Mandela. Twenty-seven years in prison. Then chose to forgive.
8. Cheat grass. A nonnative plant that outcompetes other plants on the field of resilience. Cheat grass is adapted to fire. Can we value resilience and revile invasives?
9. The la River. Still there. Let’s make it visible. The power of the concept revitalize.
10. Bumper sticker on a pale blue Toyota Prius: RESILIENCE ROCKS. Where will this vehicle take us? How do we get to sustainability?
11. House finch, red against cholla in backyard. Spring follows winter. Every year, the seasonal round. Eggs in a nest tucked between spiny branches.
12. The San Francisco Giants, my home baseball team. 2012 champions, despite early losses and against the odds. Inspiration for a mix of races, ages, and incomes. Strangers pour into the streets of the city to celebrate the Giants together. How can we build a fan base for the planet?
13. Derrian, a first-generation college student. Her professors may never understand what she has overcome to get here.
14. My brother. Construction business folded. Rather than revamp his résumé and look for work, he and his wife took a vacation to Croatia.
15. A coyote, peering at the camera, poised to trot away. Wily coyote has outwitted humans for centuries.
16. The pope. And always another new pope. Perhaps the resilience of the Catholic religion is tied to people’s desire for tradition, for enduring cultural forms in a rapidly changing world. But might a green-leaning pope gently shepherd necessary change?
17. Methusaleh, age 4,844, a bristlecone pine tree in the White Mountains of California. Bristlecones are adapted to high elevation, low precipitation, and thin soil. They grow where other trees cannot survive. Part of the tree is dead, while another part still grows—barely grows. How does the bristlecone experience time?
18. A bioneers conference. Innovators working to harmonize the fulfillment of human needs with the functioning of natural systems. Environmental humanities scholars should collaborate with bioneers.
19. A restored wetland. Once back, looks natural. Is natural. Birds return. Plants recolonize. Biodiversity increases. People catch fish. Ecological restoration requires political will, volunteers, and a new story.
20. Peter Berg, stern, one eye twinkling. Peter Berg’s bioregional vision, articulated in the 1970s and elaborated and enacted until his death in 2011, remains a promising approach to “ecological sustainability, social justice, and human well-being” (to quote from the subtitle of Richard Evanoff’s Bioregionalism and Global Ethics). Environmental humanities scholars should rediscover the writings and promulgate the bioregional/biospheric perspective of Peter Berg.
cheryll glotfelty is professor of literature and environment and director of graduate studies in the English Department of the University of Nevada, Reno. Her books include The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology (1996), co-edited with Harold Fromm; Literary Nevada: Writings from the Silver State (2008); and The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place (2012), co-edited with Tom Lynch and Karla Armbruster. Glotfelty is co-founder and past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment and is an active member of the Western Literature Association. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Susan J. Rosowski Outstanding Teacher Award from the Western Literature Association and the case-Carnegie Professor of the Year Award for Nevada. Recently taught graduate seminars include Environmental Justice, Bioregional Literature and Theory, and Ecological Restoration. Her current research focuses on two Peters: She and Eve Quesnel are co-editing The Biosphere and the Bioregion: Essential Writings of Peter Berg. This collection features Berg’s bioregional philosophy, “green city” vision, international travels, and ecological restoration work in Ecuador. Glotfelty is also writing an ecocritical biography of documentary photographer Peter Goin, known for his visual interpretations of altered landscapes in the North American West.