Resilience in Major Sectors: Manufacturing, Transportation, and Buildings Online Exhibition

This is the 20th What’s Next for Earth online exhibition based on Think Resilience,
a free online course written by Richard Heinberg and produced by the Post Carbon Institute.

“Manufacturing, transportation, and buildings use energy to provide goods and services; transforming these sectors will entail finding ways to use less energy for these purposes, ways to use it that suit renewable energy sources, and ways to provide for human needs while using fewer material resources and producing less pollution. Land use planning touches on every aspect of local government concern, involving decisions on air quality, water quality, biodiversity, transportation options, economic vitality, and quality of life. And sound public policy is essential to community resilience efforts—with the recognition that imposing policies from above without adequate understanding of, or support for, those policies from community members will lead to political failure.” 
– Richard Heinberg


Susan Bercu, Alison Lee Cousland, Yvonne C Espinoza, Ries Faison, Diane Farris, Jacqui Jones, Deborah Kennedy, Celia Kettle, Nancy D Lane, Rosalind Lowry, Meredith Nemirov, PNW Collage, Brenna Quinlan, Emma Skeet, Susan Smith, Kim Tanzer, Marcela Villasenor, Gordon Wood.




Champion Light Rail Station
Valley Transportation Authority, San Jose, CA
44’ x 6’ x 5’
Materials:  metamorphosed diabase stone, stainless steel, rose quartz, bronze. 

EcoTech is a public art commission installed in the entryway of the Champion light rail station in San Jose.  This piece consists of a six-ton boulder cut into four one-foot-thick slabs. The densely patterned slabs are positioned on either side of the entry walkways.  Text, symbolic images, and stone inlays related to sustainable technology, solar energy, and systems theory enrich the polished surfaces of the boulder sections.  A large bronze casting of the top section of one of the boulder slabs is mounted on the bottom half of the same slab.  This technically demanding melding of metallurgy and rock evokes the overall theme of the piece: creating a bio-compatible technology.

In the Think Resilience course by Post Carbon Institute, they suggest, “ manufacturing, our goals should be to localize production, reduce the scale of production where possible, to design and build products in a way that facilitates repair and reuse, and to use recycled materials where possible.”

The design process should start with environmental concerns in mind. Thoughtful design can stop so many problems before they start.

The artwork is still at the Champion Light Rail Station in San Jose. If you live nearby, take some time to check out its intricate details.
  • Deborah Kennedy

Mapping, making meaning. Autopsy of Place

Handmade paper cast on location, and detritus, mounted on found wood from site.

Resilience for communities lies in careful consideration of land use, in integration of business and residential, and a rethinking of zoning that results in economic disparities.
  • Susan Smith

Kurofune and the Ghosts of Kalo Past

69 x 51 in, 175 x 130 cm
watercolor, charcoal, water-soluble crayons on paper

Revisiting the changes in the 19th century that led to the de-localization and colonialization of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the forced opening of Japan to coal-refueling trade ships. Now, we need the resilience and healthy climate that sustainable methods of land use can preserve.

“In most communities, there are already organizations promoting local food, public transportation, renewable energy, and other issues related to sustainability and resilience. Policy makers should work not only with these organizations but also with the public in general to educate and involve community members in these kinds of projects, to further long-term goals.” -Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience Course, excerpt from the “Resilience in Major Sectors” lesson.
  • Dorothy Ries Faison


found object assemblage

I created this work-in-a-drawer last year for my solo exhibition at the Belconnen Arts Centre in Canberra on the theme of what various local residents were doing to help sustain the environment and prevent global warming. However, it serves equally well for what we need to do as a community and systemically to develop greater resilience in transport. This process was illustrated very clearly in a recent post by Brenna Quinlan.

Richard Heinberg in the Think Resilience course from the Post Carbon Institute states that in building transport resilience, we need to reduce the need for transporting people by designing our cities better for walking and bicycling.
  • Nancy D Lane

Individual Action vs Top-Down Action – What’s Better?


Is it worth even trying as an individual when the big players can change so much with the stroke of a pen?

Well, the short answer is that each feeds into the other. When people are switched on, motivated, creative and active, their communities and political representatives will reflect that. The last Australian election saw a political shake-up on an unprecedented scale, where people voted in independents and minor parties based on their commitment to climate action. This kind of change is occurring because individuals all over the country are engaged with the big issues. It’s not really about the small amount of emissions you save each time you turn off the lights in an empty room. It’s about the connection you have with the issues that compels you to turn off that unused light. It’s about the important part you play in this global movement for change, and the ripples that you’re causing in your own pond.

The answer isn’t either/or, it’s yes, and. We need committed and inspired individuals as much as we need progressive communities and leaders who get it. It’s all a big part of the same picture, and it’s snowballing in the right direction.

Have you seen individuals make change in your community, or even at a higher level?
  • Brenna Quinlan

Rivers of Type: Power to the Villagers / Reconstruct the Mind

A5 up-cycled book page
Watercolour, pen, pencil, imagination
Illustrating inspiring conserver/ecological economy with local energy supplied by wind turbine.

Dedicated to all windfarm workers creating a safe fossil fuel free future.

‘In most communities, there are already organizations promoting local food, public transportation, renewable energy, and other issues related to sustainability and resilience. Policy makers should work not only with these organizations but also with the public in general to educate and involve community members in these kinds of projects, to further long-term goals.

Specific policies may, for example, may have to do with food production in suburban and nearby rural areas; with establishment of a local recycling and compost-making service; with strengthening building codes for energy efficiency; with support for local renewable energy; with making city operations …

One relevant aspect of public policy receives too little attention—that’s local laws and ordinances, that can help or hinder resilience building efforts. Sometimes existing laws having to do with building design, energy, and food systems just make no sense. The Sustainable Economies Law Center works to highlight and change those kinds of laws.

A few years ago it collaborated with Project Better Block to organize an event in Dallas that featured newly created on-street parking, sidewalk dining, sidewalk flowers, parking-protected bike lanes, and pop-up shops, intentionally breaking several local ordinances in the process.

The organizers put the text of those ordinances on display, and invited the city council along to see how foolish those ordinances were.’
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience Course, excerpt from the “Resilience in Major Sectors” lesson.
  • Emma Skeet

The Blue Plaque Scheme

Ceramic blue plaque

Project taking place in Ireland & the UK

I’ve been involved in What’s Next for Earth with The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere and Stanford University since 2021.

This new work is based on the Common Law in Ireland for Trees & Hedges. The law states it’s illegal to cut hedges and trees between March 1 and August 31 each year. The ban is designed to protect wildlife during nesting and breeding season.

I created a series of ceramic blue plaques to leave where hedges and trees have been cut in my local area. Too many!

The Blue Plaque Scheme in Ireland & the UK honours the relationship between buildings and significant people who once lived there.

The work is based on the “laws that can help or hinder resilience building efforts” - Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute.
  • Rosalind Lowry

Biomorphic Quintessence

Each piece is an acrylic collage on panel
1. Biomorphic Quintessence
30” x 30”
2. Breath Within Breath Within Breath
20” x 20”
3. Enactive Insight Neurogenesis
12” x 12”
4. Feedforward – Feedback Radiance
20” x 20”
5. Lichen Loving Enlivenment
12” x 12”
6. Mutual Origination
24” x 24”
7. Primordial Wisdom
24” x 48”
8. Psyche & Soul Multi-Os
20” x 20”
9. Transhuman Neurogenesis
20” x 20”
10. Transpersonal Correspondence
30” x 30

I’ll be honest and blunt; when I think of, contemplate the “major sectors” theme, I get overwhelmed cognitively, emotionally and spiritually. Within this massive and complex theme, I’m going to respond to “public policy”. This is where ultimately, if we truly had, have leaders of consequence, decisions driving major changes could occur for authentic resiliency amongst all levels of our sociocultural and political matrix and metrics that are essential to a healthy biological future. The current, wellestablished paradigm of colonial capitalism with the variable mixture of socialist and communist political and socioeconomic systems are all controlled from the top-down politicians, corporations, military industrial complex, engineers, tech-industry, architects, financial hierarchy (Wall Street, Venture Capital, Private Equity, & Hedge Funds), mammalian materialism addicts. Simply put, Artists of all kinds, are left out of the policy and planning, problem solving process. As a thinker and maker, I’m not in denial of the paradox of making objects for sale and the materialism paradigm. Continue Reading Gordon’s support text here.
  • Gordon Wood

Eco Curios: No 2. Humanity and Trees:


This work is based on ’Tree’ with her trunk, branches and leaves, and all that lies hidden beneath the earth: Networks of roots: And the affinity 'Tree' has to our own Human Nature.

Wands and Pouches incorporating: Sashiko: Traditional Water pattern embellished with French knots and seed stitch with shells and crystals.

Held together in an arrangement of: Feathers and seeds: Drying plant fibres for cordage. Peace lilies and dried Anthuriums.A round metal earring and Hamsa hand.

To represent: This time of the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse and our growing connection to each other and all Life on Planet Earth.

‘Part of the reason why our world and planet are facing such crisis is because we have become disconnected from the Nature of our Human Nature. And in order to find our truest nature for ourselves, there must be a connection to the nature that we’re a part of.’ ~Julia Butterfly Hill.

‘We’ve so altered nature that we no longer recognize it as nature in the form of a building, or as light shining down on us, or as water as it comes out of a faucet. We have to look at where the ‘Disease of Disconnect’ is in such a way that we can find how to heal it.’ ~Julia Butterfly Hill.

‘We can connect more deeply to ourselves, each other and our world, and the intricate ways in which our health as a species and a global ecology are intrinsically connected to our agriculture practices and stewardship of land.’ ~Zach Bush MD.

Imposing policies from above without adequate understanding of those policies from community members will lead to political failure’ ~Richard Heinberg.
  • Alison Lee Cousland


Large-scale installation

I have been involved with The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) at Stanford University for several years, and this is the fifth work exhibited.

Contained inside the petri dishes are maps of places at risk of coastal flooding due to rising sea levels, including the Mississippi Delta.

In the Think Resilience course, Post Carbon Institute, Richard Heinberg specifically discusses this area in Louisiana: ‘Perhaps the most obvious application of land use planning in community resilience building is in coastal communities’ response to climate change and rising sea levels. The state of Louisiana offers us at once a very bad, and also a better, example. Changes in the Mississippi Delta that were designed to increase flood protection and enhance oil and gas production have instead destroyed wetlands and put entire communities and ecosystems at risk. Since 1932 the Mississippi River delta in south Louisiana has lost twenty- three hundred square miles of land, and it’s still losing the equivalent of a football field every hour to erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise’.
  • Jacqui Jones

All The Trees On My Street

Gouache on vintage die-cut lithographs of cardboard towns, circa 1916.

My intention in making this piece by whiting out all the buildings and people, is to focus our attention on the trees planted in urban areas.

“Manufacturing, transportation, and buildings use energy to provide goods and services; transforming these sectors will entail finding ways to use less energy for these purposes, ways to use it that suit renewable energy sources, and ways to provide for human needs while using fewer material resources and producing less pollution.” Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience Course, excerpt from the “Resilience in Major Sectors” lesson, PostCarbon Institute.

As well as making wonderful subjects for all the paintings and drawings I have done over the last thirty years, trees improve our quality of life. They improve water quality by filtering rain water and help to prevent flooding by reducing runoff. They provide shade cooling city streets and making them more walkable. The shade can also reduce energy usage. And trees remove harmful gases like carbon dioxide making the air we breathe healthier.
  • Meredith Nemirov

Embedded Memory

Instagram Reel

This Reel is the fourth in a series of short movies that seeks to invoke patterns created across time and space. In each I draw on community-based practices devoted to exploring sustainable living, balancing ecology, economy, and social equity. This Reel utilizes images, stories, and research developed collaboratively with hundreds of people across Gainesville in recent years and collected on a website. Screenshots from that website were used to create this Reel.

Responding to the MAHB call and Richard Heinberg’s discussion of Resilience in Major Sectors—in this case the building industry—this Reel advocates for the preservation of existing built fabric. Existing buildings and their infrastructure contain vast quantities of embodied energy and an equally vast storehouse of embedded memories.

Embodied energy refers to all the energy it takes to make a building: mining, harvesting, fabricating, transporting, assembling, maintaining, and all the CO2 produced in the process. That C02 is already contributing to climate change.

At the same time, memories are embedded in places as we live our lives.

The “settlers” or colonizers of North America benefitted from virtually unlimited access to natural resources and cheap, even “free” labor. It became the norm to demolish and build afresh, rather than to maintain and conserve. The ethos of this Reel is the opposite.

As the well-know saying goes, “the most sustainable building is one that is already built.”

See for further information.
  • Kim Tanzer

Sky and leaves

Cyanotype on paper, stained with tea, and retouched with watercolour paint

20 x 30 cm

Some of these leaves were taken from the yard in front of my studio. When I first moved into this space there were no plants. So I put in some flowerbeds and now what was previously just cement and brick is a space full of green leaves, flowers and the wildlife that they attract. It is a constant reminder to me of the need for green areas amongst built up cities as places where people can de stress and cool off. It has been discovered that plants and especially trees in built up areas can help to lower the temperature by as much as 6 degrees.

As Richard Heinberg says in the Think Resilience Course by Post Carbon Institute, in lesson 21 on Resilience in Major Sectors (Manufacturing, Transport, and Buildings): “Neighborhoods can be rezoned to increase density and allow stores and other commercial uses to mix with housing along corridor streets—so-called “mixed-use” areas that were common before World War II and that characterize some of America’s most desirable places to live. Such neighborhoods are easy to walk and bicycle in, and when they make up an entire community they are easily serviced by public transit. It’s also necessary to provide targeted investments in walking, bicycling infrastructure, public transit, and public space.”
  • Celia Kettle

Harvest Rain – Cosecha de Lluvia

collage with digital photography and AI

In some regions, we could find ways to use less energy on buildings and houses, rainwater harvesting is one of them that would have environmental benefits

En algunas regiones podríamos encontrar formas de utilizar menos energía en edificios y casas, la recolección de agua de lluvia es una de ellas que tendría beneficios ambientales.
  • Marcela Villaseñor

Cactus Garden

Ceramic sculptures

I use visual symbols to communicate my messages. I turn to the cactus as a symbol of resilience and adaptivity following the teachings of “Resilience in Community: Major Sectors” Intro: “Here we are talking mostly about ways we use energy. Transforming manufacturing, transportation, and buildings will entail finding ways to use less energy for these purposes, ways to use it that suit renewable energy sources, and ways to provide for human needs while using fewer material resources and producing less pollution.”

The cactus design is a perfect example of form and function. It can thrive for 200 years in the most extreme hot, dry environments, with over 2000 species scattered in deserts all over the globe. Its systems enable it to absorb and conserve water. The characteristic spines, shallow roots, stomata on the stem and waxy skin make the plant a reservoir despite harsh climate. Its sharp thorns ward off animal predators but do not dissuade humans from using this important resource for food, drink, and medicine. Gardeners enjoy the dazzling variety of exotic cacti with their low-maintenance water-saving feature and the spines that keep the critters from munching.

The strange beauty of flowering cacti led me to create my fanciful ceramic interpretations to be “planted” in the 0-5-foot-wide defensible space (against wildfires) built with assorted rocks around my home. My cacti stand on ceramic bases resembling fossilized stones embedded with glazed clay replicas of seashells. I use the facilities at Sonoma Community Center, where ceramics classes are offered, and studios, glazes, and kilns are shared.

We humans have much to learn from the cactus plant.
  • Susan Bercu


16” x 16”
Vellum, rocks, glass, paper, encaustic wax on wire photographed with the skyline of Hartford, Connecticut, US

We humans walk around every day at the center of existence. The streets are made for our cars, the buildings are made for the companies we work with, shop at, or visit—even the parks are made for our enjoyment. Our lives are dappled with reminders that this world of ours includes non-humans: squirrels (and pretty birds) snacking at the bird feeders, rats snagging pizza slices from the trash, eagles nesting outside of high-rise windows, and locally, bears strolling in the town center.

They are here—should we decide to stop and notice.

Imbued with human importance, we can look upon our world and invite, coexist with, or even destroy any non-human. We are masters of our domain.

What is this lens through which we are seeing our reality? How have we let our human nature overlay Nature itself?

Incorporating a regard for our natural systems in all our planning for building and construction with the goal of creating a beneficial existence with ALL our neighbors is a heritage we should claim.

The human landscape is vast. It can include soulless hardscape devoid of greenery, or permeable pathways full of flowering trees, birds, and all the beings that follow.

We are together as allies, neighbors, and friends.

“Land use planning touches on every aspect of local government concern, involving decisions on air quality, water quality, biodiversity, transportation options, economic vitality, and quality of life. And sound public policy is essential to community resilience efforts…” -Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience Course, excerpt from the “Resilience in Major Sectors” lesson.
  • Yvonne C. Espinoza

Seeing the Elephant; Leaving the Room

composition with a box, a child and a wooden elephant sculpturePhotograph

As so often happens, this image started one place and ended in another, process offering discovery. After our discussion of Heinberg’s Resilience in Major Sectors, I was aware of how knowledgeable the attendees were, how fine their work and ideas - and how often they have encountered cynicism and opposition from governing and business entities. Those experiences felt like a kind of elephant in the room, a discouragement we don’t want to spend too much time and energy discussing, but a weight we carry.

I reread Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes, which places a beloved elephant and its keeper inconveniently on some prime real estate. (I have some surprising history with that story, as discussed in the book section of my website. The lone elephant had been adopted as a symbol for its city, as heritage trees have been for a number of our own municipalities

I started sketching a kind of diptych with the elephant alone on the left, then maybe in my bicycle basket on the right and had begun photographing those elements when I remembered the dollhouse and children. They had been delighted as they pretended to be Giants, startling the unsuspecting dollhouse people. From there, Seeing the Elephant; Leaving the Room came together. I got out the dollhouse, placed an elephant in a room - and asked a child to look in. He was terrific and had his own thoughts about the metaphor. And of course, the children and this beautiful, poignant world we see unfurling into spring are foremost among the reasons we keep going. I’m grateful to What’s Next for Earth, MAHB and Richard Heinberg’s Think Resilience course for the opportunity to gather with and be inspired by others on this path.
  • Diane Farris


Digital Collage
March 31, 2024

Sedentary transportation is antithetical to the human experience.

“Localmotion” is a play on words between “local” and “locomotion”. It represents the intersection (or rather, re-intersection) of two core human experiences - that of transportation and human movement.

With the dawn of the 20th century, transportation has increasingly become sedentary. So much so that transportation has largely become equivalent to sitting in a petroleum fueled chair.

“Our current transportation system is almost entirely fueled with depleting, climate changing petroleum. Building resilience in this sector therefore has a great deal to do with reducing oil consumption in moving both people and stuff.” —Richard Heinberg, And hunk Resilience course, Resilience in Major Sectors.

And it begins at the foot.
  • PNW Collage


This exhibition is based on Think Resilience, the Post Carbon Institute’s free online course. To respond to the art call, we asked the artists to signup and to watch the course, one lesson/video at a time. Each video is approximately 12 minutes long.

[Lesson 1: Introduction to the course]

CHAPTER 1: Our Converging Crises

Lesson 2 – Energy
Lesson 3 – Population and Consumption
Lesson 4 – Depletion
Lesson 5 – Pollution

CHAPTER 2: The Roots and Results of Our Crises

Lesson 6 – Social Structure
Lesson 7 – Belief Systems
Lesson 8 – Biodiversity
Lesson 9 – Collapse

CHAPTER 3: Making Change

Lesson 10 – Thinking in Systems
Lesson 11 – Shifting Cultural Stories
Lesson 12 – Culture Change & Neuroscience

CHAPTER 4: Resilience Thinking

Lesson 13 – What is Resilience?
Lesson 14 – Community Resilience in the 21st Century
Lesson 15 – Six Foundations for Building Community Resilience

CHAPTER 5 – Economy and Society

Lesson 16 – How Globalization Undermines Resilience
Lesson 17 – Economic Relocalization
Lesson 18 – Social Justice
Lesson 19 – Education

CHAPTER 6 – Basic Needs and Functions

Lesson 20 – Meeting Essential Community Needs
Lesson 21 – Resilience in Major Sectors
Lesson 22 – Review, Assessment & Action

Think Resilience is hosted by Richard Heinberg, one of the world’s leading experts on the urgency and challenges of moving society away from fossil fuels.

We live in a time of tremendous political, environmental, and economic upheaval. What should we do? Think Resilience is an online course offered by Post Carbon Institute to help you get started on doing something. It features twenty-two video lectures—about four hours total—by Richard Heinberg, one of the world’s foremost experts on the urgency and challenges of transitioning society away from fossil fuels. Think Resilience is rooted in Post Carbon Institute’s years of work in energy literacy and community resilience. It packs a lot of information into four hours, and by the end of the course you’ll have a good start on two important skills:

1. How to make sense of the complex challenges society now faces. What are the underlying, systemic forces at play? What brought us to this place? Acting without this understanding is like putting a bandage on a life-threatening injury.

2. How to build community resilience. While we must also act in our individual lives and as national and global citizens, building the resilience of our communities is an essential response to the 21st century’s multiple sustainability crises.

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