Building Community Resilience

UAA and APU faculty have selected six books to use over the next two years as the basis for these discussions. The books offer multiple ways to approach this complex topic, ranging from an academic exploration of systems thinking and the synergies between economics, energy, equity and the environment (The Community Resilience Reader) to a call to action on the climate crisis (This Changes Everything) and the best climate solutions (Drawdown) to essays on community survival by a major Indigenous leader (The Winona LaDuke Chronicles) to literary works highlighting the resilience of individuals and communities impacted by poverty, racism, and extreme weather events (Threadbare and Salvage the Bones). There will be opportunities for discussion along with special events, guest speakers, art exhibits and more!

Resources are also included as guides for using these books in your class. The UAA/APU Books of the Year program represents one of the AAC&U's 11 recognized High Impact Practices (HIPs), in this case, Common Intellectual Experiences.

Highlighted in Year One (2018-2019)

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The Community Resilience Reader:  Essential Resources for an Era of Upheaval, ed. Daniel Lerch, Island Press, 2017  Essays by leaders in science, policy, community building, and urban design, looking at the challenges humanity faces in the 21st century, the essential tools of resilience science, and the wisdom of activists, scholars, and analysts working with community issues on the ground.

“A valuable resource for thinking in a new way about almost every aspect of our communities." 
Civil Engineering

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This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein, Simon and Schuster, 2014. A New York Times bestseller which argues that the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political system. Klein builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. 

Naomi Klein is an award-winning Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker.

“A book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable.”
New York Times

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The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice, Winona LaDuke, Fernwood Press, 2017. A collection of pressing, inspirational stories of Indigenous communities from the Canadian subarctic to the heart of Dine Bii Kaya, Navajo Nation by one of the nation’s best known Indigenous activists.

Winona LaDuke is a Native American activist and 40-year advocate for environmental, women's, and children's rights, She was Ralph Nader's running mate for President in 1996 and 2000. LaDuke is the founder and director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and founder and co-chair of the Indigenous Women's Network. She writes and speaks on issues related to climate change, Indigenous and human rights, green and rural economies, grass-roots organizing and restoring local food systems.


Highlighted in Year Two (2019-2020)


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Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward, Bloomsbury, 2011.  A 2011 National Book Award winner, this “taut, wily novel, smartly plotted and voluptuously written” (New York Times) explores the plight of a working-class African-American family in Mississippi as they prepare for Hurricane Katrina and follows them through the aftermath of the storm.

Jesmyn Ward, the first female two-time National Book Award winner for Fiction and a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, is an associate professor of English at Tulane University.

“… has the aura of a classic about it.”  Washington Post

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Threadbare: Class and Crime in Urban Alaska, University of Alaska Press, 2017, Mary Kudenov. Essays by a born-and-raised Alaskan reporter, about Alaskans like herself striving towards their dreams while coping with poverty, minimum wage work, educational challenges, and more: a recent graduate of a court-sponsored sobriety program, a long-timer in the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center for women, a slum-landlord’s emancipated teenage daughter, and even a post-rampage spree killer. Case studies of how citizens in the least-resourced parts of our community demonstrate resilience.

Mary Kudenov holds a MFA in Creative Writing from UAA. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines including Alaska Quarterly Review, Permafrost, Fourth Genre, Chautauqua, and The Southampton Review. In 2016, Mary was named an essayist of note in the Best American Essays series.

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Drawdown:  The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming  Ed., Paul Hawken, 2017.  New York Times bestseller outlining substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

Paul Hawken has founded numerous successful businesses and consulted with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology and environmental policy. His seven books include four national bestsellers, one of which, The Ecology of Commerce, which was voted the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools.