This week another paper is out in Journal of Rural Studies from my lab, this time a paper led by former postdoc Wes Tourangeau based on my 2016 sabbatical field work in the Falklands. We used the re-emergent Leverage Points framework, originally developed by Donella Meadows, to analyze the management strategies used by Falkland wool producers in the face of a drying climate. Up until the 1980s the landscape was divided into massive properties, run largely ranch-style by locals for overseas owners. With post-war land reforms, properties were broken into largely family-sized units, and here the practices began to diverge. We’ve mapped those various strategies along the leverage points framework. All the strategies have some leverage, but the Holistic Management practitioners are working much ‘deeper’ with their systems thinking and goal setting. The paper uses many quotes to illustrate how these play out in practice and affect the day-to-day and longer term.
Had some FOMO last week as the Leverage Points meeting was happening in Lueneburg, Germany, led by friends and colleagues like Joern Fischer and Dave Abson. Teaching term did not provide me the space, but Wes Tourangeau attended to talk about our work on grazing in the Falklands, and the idea of Savory’s Holistic Management as a leverage point. We were placed in the ‘transforming food systems’ panel, despite the Falklands agriculture being focused on wool, but Wes reported strong engagement and good feedback to help us polish up those papers. The ‘handmade’ feel of the conference with graphic facilitation of keynotes, session-based mind mapping and cardboard signage, demonstrates the desire to do things differently. By all accounts, it worked.
Great to see Penny Slight’s 2012 SSHRC-funded MES thesis appearing in the literature, via a new paper, Policy support for rural economic development based on Holling’s ecological concept of panarchy. She identified leverage points on the adaptive change cycle where economic development agencies could intervene to improve rural futures, based on interviews with economic development agents in the Canadian Maritimes. Penny has been working since graduation as an Environmental Scientist at Nova Scotia Power. I was on her committee, which was led by my colleague Michelle Adams.