You know I have an unashamedly positive view of rural. My small town has a future! Well, I want to introduce you to someone who is even more positive about small towns: Ivan Emke, with the Grenfell Campus of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, in Canada.
Emke did a TEDx Talk on How Rural Will Save Civilization. You can bet that that title grabbed my full attention.
In an email to me he said: “I do like to extend beyond the usual sort of ‘defense of rural’ positions we get stuck with sometimes. I’m more likely to try to push the envelope a bit, doing talks on things like ‘is rural worth saving?’, etc. (Of course, I answer that in the positive – like a minister who speaks on ‘is hell worth avoiding?’)
“Some might say it is partly a result of growing up in a rural community but now working in higher education (which has uncritically accepted all the urban biases that come along with it). My own campus is in a city of 20,000, which is the regional centre for western NL. We’re surrounded by small rural communities, some are thriving and some are disappearing. Sometimes our public policy on rural tends toward the palliative care model – keep them out of pain until they disappear, but no heroic measures.”
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