Add to My MSN

Forget Sustainability, It's Time to Talk Resilience

1/12/2010 9:46:11 AM

Tags: Environment, climate change, resilience, sustainability, Resurgence, Elizabeth Ryan

resurg-coverThere's a new concept infiltrating the climate change conversation (pdf), and it has the potential to change the conversation altogether. It’s time to give sustainability a rest and start talking about resilience, Rob Hopkins writes in Resurgence.

“The term ‘resilience’ is appearing more frequently in discussions about environmental concerns, and it has a strong claim to actually being a more successful concept than that of sustainability. Sustainability and its oxymoronic offspring sustainable development are commonly held to be a sufficient response to the scale of the climate challenge we face: to reduce the inputs at one end of the globalised economic growth model (energy, resources, and so on) while reducing the outputs at the other end (pollution, carbon emissions, etc.). However, responses to climate change that do not also address the imminent, or quite possibly already passed, peak in world oil production do not adequately address the nature of the challenge we face.”

The concept takes into account how systems can survive disturbances intact, and Hopkins says the framework is crucial to communities’ chances of thriving “beyond the current economic turmoil the world is seeing.” A supermarket is a good example of how to explain this new kind of thinking, he says:

“It may be possible to increase its sustainability and to reduce its carbon emissions by using less packaging, putting photovoltaics on the roof and installing more energy-efficient fridges. However, resilience thinking would argue that the closure of local food shops and networks that resulted from the opening of the supermarket, as well as the fact that the store itself only contains two days’ worth of food at any moment – the majority of which has been transported great distances to get there – has massively reduced the resilience of community food security, as well as increasing its oil vulnerability.”

Source: Resurgence



Related Content

First Environmentalism—Then Socialism!

To the power brokers of America’s right, climate change poses a dire threat to business as usual…

The Happiness Trap

We live in a culture of relentless positive thinking, but new studies suggest that optimism may not ...

What Happens Post-Climate Change?

‘Climate departure’ will be the next phase as extreme weather becomes normal.

Love Is Creative, Sex Is Analytical

Thinking about love makes people better at creative problem solving. Thoughts of sex, on the other h...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 






Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!