This spring issue focuses on the word recovery.
But, I should mention that at the beginning of each quarter at The Planet, one of the first things we tell new writers is to scrutinize their use of words like recovery. This is because, as any of you dedicated readers out there may have noticed, we try to avoid these kinds of words or take the time to back them up with facts when they are in a story.
We do this because words like recovery, health, disaster and sustainability are not scientific measurements of how truly "recovered" or "disastrous" something is. Really these words tell us very little about their subject. They are inherently ambiguous.
For instance, how is a healthy ecosystem defined? By what standards is it "healthy?" Is it healthy by the standards of one specific animal? You could claim deer populations are flourishing, but this might mean predator populations are at an all time low. Alternatively, are we only considering a system healthy by human standards? Or are we only considering it unhealthy by human standards? A disastrous event for humans could be normal or even beneficial to the health of an ecosystem in the long run.
But there is some beauty in the ambiguity of a word like recovery. It lends itself to many unique issues and as a theme allows us to encapsulate many subjects including threats to increasing wolf populations, cleanup of mercury at the Georgia-Pacific site, the use of fungi for remediation and even the de-extinction of lost giants like the mammoth.
Consider the many implications of the word recovery in the stories that follow and take the time to interrogate words like recovery in the future because these words are more complex than we give them credit for.