November 30, 1999

This Weekend’s New: Remembrance and Resiliency

It was an emotional weekend for most as the nation reflected
on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. There was
widespread coverage as one can imagine. I was particularly drawn to Andrew
Revkin’s column on Sunday, which seems appropriate to mention briefly here.

Readers of this blog know Andrew Revkin, New
York Times
reporter, as perhaps one of the most prolific mainstream journalists
on climate change, energy and resource issues. (His New York Times blog Dot Earth is a must read and
terrific resource.)  But his reflections yesterday
I think can resonate with many, if not most. “For me, like anyone either physically
close to the Sept. 11 attacks or linked to them by losses of loved ones or
friends, the anniversary elicits a flood of thoughts and feelings
,” Revkin wrote.
“I recall rushing to the Indian Point nuclear power plants to assess whether
security measures had been tightened (big dump trucks had been parked across
the entrance), then picking up my younger son, three years old at the
time, at daycare.”

Among the several themes Revkin discussed yesterday – including grief and the military's shift to studying the roots of conflicts – one is particularly important and worth reflecting on in the
context of the natural security issues we study: resiliency. “As human populations and
appetites crest in coming decades, a quality that was critical after 9/11 will
be needed more and more — resilience
,” Revkin wrote. “I don’t just mean resilience after
the fact, but finding ways to incorporate this concept into how we plan, invest
and behave, particularly because some of the biggest hard knocks we face are
obscured by largely irreducible complexity and uncertainty

I tend to agree. In a future marked by uncertainty (which is part
of the definition of “future”), resiliency can help dampen the impact from
those “hard knocks” that Revkin describes. So as we continue to reflect on the
September 11 attacks, we should also reflect on how we responded; on how we
channeled the resiliency that helped us stand up and look ahead. That
resiliency will become more and more important in the years ahead.      

This Week’s Events

On Tuesday at 12:15 PM, head over to the New America Foundation for Beyond Primacy:
Rethinking American Grand Strategy and the Command of the Commons
. Then at
1 PM, the U.S. Japan Institute will host a discussion on Restoring Local
Lives, Cities and Regions: Looking at the Post-Disaster Restoration and
Exploring Alternative Planning Approaches for the Future
. At 3 PM, Carnegie
will discuss A
Crisis to Come? China, India, and Water Rivalry

On Wednesday at 8:30 AM, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold on
a hearing on water management, Managing
Extreme Events in our Rivers and Coastal Areas: Reflections on the Dutch
. At 2 PM, the East-West Center will host Water:
Asia’s New Battleground

Finally, on Thursday at noon, the Environmental Law Institute will have a teleconference
on Greening of
Canadian Oil Sands: A View Across the Border.