A guide to the indispensable blog

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The Beginning

It was slightly more than five years ago, 27 December 2012, when I wrote this column in my Google+ page that set off a personal journey to turn the world’s new resilience realization into a book, to be published two years later.

I figured that by 2014, the world would come around and turn what in 12/12 was a fringe concern by some of us, into a civilization-transforming movement joined by the entire global population, who at that point would surely come around and clamor for THE book to help navigate this most remarkable moment in human history.

I was off, it turns out, by almost exactly five years. So let’s just say I have slow-forwarded the indispensable-book journey to 2020. Except that this time, the two years prior will be spent exchanging impressions and experiences with followers here, in The Resilience Journal, as part of a broader conversation in G+ and other social media.

The Platform

The change of venue responds to two things. First, you demand a different, more immersive experience these days. Whether you’re a sustainability junkie, a climate adaptation and/or mitigation professional, a very concerned (obsessed?) citizen, or a combination, you are one smart cookie — just to be following resilience this closely — which means you deserve, and look for, not only the very latest news to keep up with all the change, but a unique content experience that contributes to your journey. That can only be offered using a blog platform such as this one:

  • Rich multimedia formats — text, video, audio, etc.
  • A “Follow” subscription that delivers each post straight to your inbox
  • Robust sharing tools across all social media
  • More!

TRJ’s thing, you’ll be happy to know, will not be the latest-daily-news-to-keep-up-with. You’re probably getting that from the amazing resilience sources I’m getting it from and certainly don’t need another one fighting for your time. Rather, follow us for the unique angles, deeper analysis and unexpected primary-storymaker interviews you are not getting anywhere else, precisely the content that makes for a cool trendsetting book.

We’ll be bringing you 2-3 of those pieces each and every month, enough to move the needle in your life and work, to engage with you in the most important conversation of our time, to provide great volume for the book between now and 2020, yet not so much that it will overload your inbox and disturb your day. It is a blog, you might say, for the smart and the busy.

The Context

The second driver is, as you may have guessed from reading the 12/12 column, the dramatic events since, particularly two.

First, the signing of the 12/15 Paris Climate Agreement that for most people held the hard-to-abandon promise of keeping us below a 1.5ºC & 2ºC global temperature rise and hence “save” the planet; and second, the mid-to-late-2017 tsunami of scientific data and public admissions by organizers of the Paris accord, all pointing conclusively to the utter failure of the agreement to fulfill the promise of keeping us below 1.5ºC & 2ºC.

As if more signs were needed, along now comes the IPCC’s latest climate report October 8 and anticipates the imminent overshoot the scientific community has been guaranteeing for more than five years.

So we’re back to 12/12, aren’t we? Back to KNOWING we can’t prevent it. Back to knowing that future risks will escalate progressively, not linearly. But also back to discovering a new sense of hope by pivoting to a different, more realistic and far more effective approach to, and purpose of, sustainability — not to avoid 1.5ºC & 2ºC, but to become resilient to the climate disruption that has already begun and will spiral into hothouse disarray in the years and decades ahead.

And that, too, calls for a different way of delivering this content, because in fact, this is so much bigger than just content.

The Moment

We’re in the resilience trenches right now. If you’re a city planner wondering where this is going, knowing damn well the serious consequences of not getting this right, of not securing the right investments today for the likely climate impacts that are coming. Or if you’re a corporate strategist sorting out the repercussion scenarios for your locations, employees, customers, product development and supply chains. And if you’re on the solutions end, figuring out the next great innovation those city planners and corporate strategists will need.

Ours is a moment, and resilience a field, of fantastic, unprecedented…angst. For we know the stakes. We feel them. Every day. But also of fantastic, unprecedented…opportunity.

Climate change is like no other transformation in the history of humankind. Oh, we have undergone massive disruptions in the past, since civilization began. But they have all been local, regional, and above all temporal. This is more global and carries a greater specter of permanence than we have ever truly experienced, or endured. The scale is unimaginable, except that we MUST imagine it to adapt to it successfully. That is our glorious task today.

And so the issues raised by resilience cannot be more uncomfortable, or more important, as I recently discussed with a group of experts in this revealing interview. They carry, inherently, a different mindset, one we at TRJ aim to delve into and bring out, for that is the basis of it all and what will make our reporting powerfully unique.

The Journal

TRJ isn’t called a Journal by accident. Our posts will be just that, like intimate journal entries shared with friends.

In some pieces, we’ll share a story published elsewhere on the web (The Story), much like we all do in social media, introduced by a reflection or insight (The Entry), complemented with visuals, and when possible accompanied by an exclusive video or audio interview we’ll do of a storymaker (The Interview). Plus we’ll bring you Columns, Features and Spotlights.

It is a journal in the form of a blog and the style of a magazine, driven by a new time, and designed for the busy inbox subscriber in the middle of it.

The Journalism

As you’ll see below, our roots reside in journalism, the result of my time at Caribbean Business newspaper, my freelancing for other media, and generally my vocation-inspired approach to news and trends.

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More recently, thanks to my AlexDiazEco consulting practice (now the COMMON Future content studio), to go with my work in strategic communications dating back more than 20 years, we’re able to bring together the serious reporting of a magazine with the sponsored content of a serious company or organization. At COMMON Future, we work with clients to produce journalism-quality content that can just as well publish in any media to add deep value for those who read it and thought leadership for the brands that create it.

Our principal focus there: AWAKEN THE WORLD, a series of subject-specific content portals that raises the bar on resilience information and education. More here.

TRJ, in that sense, is a quintessential digital medium, a curated dance between the independent, objective analysis of our team, and the independent, objective analysis of our contributors.

The Language

Resilience to us is everything, human and physical, that helps you prepare for and adapt to escalating hothouse climate disruptions, be they temporary shocks of extreme weather or the longer-term social and economic stresses created by the coming ever-higher frequency and intensity of those climate events.

Our principal guide is the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which we see as the new and exciting path to resilience, as well as the Sendai Framework born from that broader effort. More on our unique SDG take in this column.

We aim to cover the adopters and providers of resilience solutions. The former are mainly cities, companies and organizations that acquire related products and services to become more resilient. The providers, naturally, are those who innovate and deliver those answers, a magnificent joint effort by companies, academia and NGOs. Combined, the adopters and providers form a thriving emerging ecosystem, which we will cover exactly as that.

When it comes to cities, the global standard has become the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program. There are many others, since the focus of resilience has thus far been cities, and we’ll write about them all, but 100RCs best captures the principles and practices of the movement, and we go with their language.

When it comes to companies and organizations on the resilience path, there has yet to develop a similar global standard or guide. The gap will no doubt be filled soon, given how fast this is moving, and we’ll bring it to you when it does. In the meantime, we’ll cover this segment using the generally accepted language of business and organizational development.

The Relationship

OK, there you have it. Welcome to The Resilience Journal. I’ve always made certain print and digital magazines such a part of my life that they become like friends I can’t wait to talk to. Know the feeling?

Well, here’s to making TRJ a part of your life — leading up to the Green Hope book in 2020 that will feed so much from what happens here among us.

To support our work, please follow and subscribe to TRJ, comment on our stories and share them widely, and publish your stories via our sponsored-content program, where you’re able to raise the volume of your own voice.

Let’s build a community of the resilient, of those like you who see beyond today’s narrative and long to create a new one. That was the goal in 12/12 and remains so more than five years later, albeit updated.

With green hope,

Alex