My colleague Dominique Bourg (also from the University of Lausanne) and myself have just released a new book in French, entitled Ecologie intégrale: Pour une société permacirculaire (translation: Integral Ecology: Toward a Permacircular Society), published in Paris by Presses Universitaires de France. It’s the culmination of a two-year effort we engaged in between mid-2014 (when I arrived at Lausanne) and mid-2016 to spell out (a) what sustainability really means and (b) what the social, cultural and political conditions for the emergence of a genuinely sustainable society are. It’s during this period that we published our article, “Vers une économie authentiquement circulaire: Réflexions sur les fondements d’un indicateur de circularité” (“Toward a Genuinely Circular Economy: Reflections on the Foundations of a Circularity Indicator”), in which we first coined the word permacircularité.
This fourth and last installment continues, yet again, where the previous post left off. We’re finishing the stay in New Mexico and heading back towards southern California via central and southern Arizona.
10. Permacircularity lesson from the past: Chaco Canyon and the Anasazi collapse
The archaeological wealth of the Southwest is immense. Sites such as Chaco Canyon are also one of the region’s most consistently successful tourist attractions. In and of themselves, these vestiges of a past civilization – commonly called “Anasazi” or “Ancestral Puebloan” – and of places and cultures such as Chaco, Mogollon, Hohokam and Mimbres attest to the complete absurdity of the frontier thesis of an empty land waiting to be “settled” by 19th-century white colonists. A mixture of settlement and movement prevailed in this vast region for millennia – with a complexity that is still baffling historians today, and with a number of enigmas still unsolved.