Quality of life and sense of well-being add up to more than general health. Arizona’s power structure, especially in its major urban areas, is permeable and diffuse compared to the more vertically integrated and concentrated power structures of older communities in the East and other sections of the U.S. Newcomers to the state often remark how easy it is to get in to see people with connections to economic and political power, how friendly they are, and how open everyone is to collaboration.
The flip side is the perception that people are less “rooted” in place here, and therefore less vested in working for positive social change over the long haul. But to the extent that all Americans these days are “uprooted” by the forces of economic globalism, technological change, and a dominant and often suffocating blanket of mass media and commercial culture, Arizona’s permeable power structure presents opportunities for new associations, collaboration and social connections – the very ingredients of resilient communities.
Perhaps what we have here is an opportunity to create “just-in-time” communities, whose ad hoc and transitory connections are better suited to today’s climate of hyper-change than older, more hidebound communities.
Some things we can change, some things we can’t. We can change how we look at the world – and that’s a start.
Excerpted from Resilience: Health in a New Key. Written eight years ago, it’s even more relevant today.