Future, as in the limitless horizon of time before us? Futures, as in speculative value? Or No Future, the polemical rallying cry of politics in an age of despair? The valence we give to the question of futurity says a good deal about who and where we are, about what we think resilience might be, and about whether resilience is a meaningful term at all. Resistance to what Mary Louise Pratt has described as neoliberalism’s foreclosure of the future figures in Resilience 1.2 through innovative treatments of design, media, pedagogy, and interdisciplinarity. In this issue questions of the future abound, from Phaedra C. Pelluzzo’s nuanced readings of resilience discourse about children and toxicity on the Internet to Hanna Sjögren’s exploration of educable futures through a posthumanist pedagogy to Alan Marshall’s scenarios of what sustainability might be for seven global cities in 2121 ad, when the predictions of Peak Oil futurists can no longer be obscured by the so-called Shale Revolution. Taken together these essays explore a diversity of speculative eco-possibilities—from corporatist dreams of sustainability as a means of keeping on as we are, within the same resource intensive practice and deregulatory climate of risk; to posthumanist classrooms in which epistemological uncertainties upend humanist hubris and initiate multispecies attachment; to post-oil communities utilizing the habits of regional animals to redesign fundamental infrastructure.
We are also pleased to include a manifesto in this issue, which carries on the work of the scholars who contributed to our inaugural issue: here, a group of scholars collaboratively argue that the future is a problem not only of vision but also praxis. The practice of translinguality anchors the manifesto of Natalie Eppelsheimer, Uwe Kuchler, and Charlotte Melin, who imagine connective corridors, or virtual eco-tones, developing among the knowledge domains of distinct cultures, to be stewarded by ecolinguists. Scholars and activists fluent in more than one language negotiate ecological competencies that are embedded in language—and therefore in culture itself—and are not easily subject to translation.
If the environmental humanities is to survive, as Rob Nixon argues in our first interview in this issue, it must do so at the international scale—and therefore with sensitivity and resistance to the monolingualism that has dominated Anglophone ecocriticism. Nixon’s optimism about the innovative potentials of the environmental humanities rests in part in a retooling of graduate writing curricula, teaching PhD students how to discover the kind of impassioned, personally inflected voice that carries the best creative nonfiction to larger publics. In our second interview, Bruce Caron—the creator of The Light Blue Line, a public arts project intended to educate a local community about global sea-level rise—approaches the planet’s future with humility and sage pragmatism. Caron’s work as a designer of online communities and social media activist did not prepare him for the anger and even violence that resulted when his project hit the ground in Santa Barbara, California, threatening home values as it traced a light blue line at the seven-meter mark—where, supposedly, the sea would rise if Greenland’s ice sheets were to melt. Caron’s experience points to the ways in which the future can be privatized even by ordinary citizens through property concepts such as real estate. The future, we learn in this issue, must be a common endeavor and the property of a generously conceived, international, and multilingual public.