Imagine my glee and fascination when I read this NY Times op ed by Akiko Busch about the ecotone and edge-effect in the environment. It captures our conception of EDGE better than anything we have tried to put into words thus far. To paraphrase, EDGE is where “both sides converge, rendering it a place of complex interaction and diversity…a decidedly advantageous perch…(producing) change, diversity, vitality…where desire and expectation intersect with actuality”. Hmmmm, some pretty weighty thoughts here but ripe for EDGE’s work in promoting change in education.
Check out these passages:
“IN environmental parlance, the ecotone is the zone where two habitats merge, that threshold where water meets the shore, where the forest comes to meadow, or where woodland ends at a cultivated lawn. It is the edge habitat where everything — soil content, vegetation, moisture, humidity, light, pollination — changes. It’s also where species from both sides converge, rendering it a place of complex interaction and diversity…”
“…Humans, too, have some primal appreciation for this piece of environmental real estate. We seem to know that the edge is where the action is, or the place you push things to for the best results. When you understand the periphery’s purpose and significance in ecology, it gives you another way to understand different edges in human society and how their energy is created, whether you are talking about the borders between diverse populations in urban communities or more abstract reflections on how ideas intersect and are cross-pollinated…”
“…In an essay about ethnic identity, the historian and essayist Tony Judt wrote about his preference for the edge as ‘…the place where countries, communities, allegiances, affinities and roots bump uncomfortably up against one another… ‘ Margins and edges, he suggested, offer us ‘a decidedly advantageous perch’….”
“….And it occurs to me now, as we edge into a new year, that time has an ecotone of its own, some thin cusp where before meets up with after. Because surely the edge effect can be a circumstance of chronology as well as one of place. And surely the way the months, seasons, years brush up against one another can produce a similar influence of change, diversity, vitality…”
“…Perhaps it is possible to imagine year’s end as having some temporal edge effect, to see it as the place where desire and expectation intersect with actuality. And to look at this time of year as an interval during which one is suddenly more attentive to that friction between the finished and the unfinished, the energy that lies between the done and the undone….”
Happy New Year from the EDGE!