Southern California presents the most wickedly difficult problems of sustainability of any region of the country. Sitting literally on a fault line, its unstable geology is a metaphor of fractured cultures and fragmented ecologies. Southern California is also our bet on a second nature, a place of adaptive experiment in sustainability unfolding across a broadening spectrum of complexity. Not a do-over but a makeover.
The academic activities of the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California represent working premises to span gulfs across critical challenges to sustainability.
The Conservancy focuses on making a next generation of change leaders and problem-solvers who will give transformational insight to the conservation and making of meaningful, sustainable and resilient futures. Sustainability requires transdisciplinary inquiry, analysis and action. Academically driven by the liberal arts and the activist mission of Pitzer College, the Redford Conservancy focuses on environmental and cultural literacy across disciplines. It enacts this work via teaching, engaged discourse and systemic action.
Conservancies have traditionally protected lands possessing significant natural and, often, aesthetic and cultural resources. The challenge for the Redford Conservancy will be not just to protect exceptional natural and human resources in the region, but to be and to educate agents of change through engaged discourse, research, design and activism. The Conservancy will especially focus on resource conservation and on the underlying causes of and solutions for broad disparities of access and health, nutrition, and other anthropogenic drivers of the degradation of the underpinning resources of all life especially including biodiversity and water.
The foci of this work, then, are problem-defined across a web of six critically linked issues that frame transdisciplinary challenges in this region and, by extension, across the globe: