Resilience and Global Warming

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorApr 5, 2009 6:22 PM


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"What will a post-crash, truly 21st-century world look like? For people "¨thinking about global systems (economic, environmental, and social) "¨one idea stands out: resilience."¨" So begins a must read piece in Fast Company by futurist Jamais Cascio. The concept of resilience, as defined by Cascio,

means the capacity of an entity--such as a person, an "¨institution, or a system--to withstand sudden, unexpected shocks, "¨and (ideally) to be capable of recovering quickly afterwards. "¨Resilience implies both strength and flexibility; a resilient "¨structure would bend, but would be hard to break.

Resilience Science, a blog run by geographer Garry Peterson, tipped me off to the Cascio piece. The RS blog is an offshoot of a larger network of interdisciplinary scientists that form the Resilience Alliance, which works

to develop a practical theoretical foundation for a sustainable civilization.

As Cascio explains in his article for Fast Company,

One reason why the idea of resilience resonates with those of us "¨engaged in foresight work is that, as troubling as it may be to "¨contemplate, the current massive economic downturn is likely to be "¨neither the only nor the biggest crisis we face over the next few "¨decades. The need to shift quickly away from fossil fuels (for both "¨environmental and supply reasons) may be as big a shock as today's "¨"econalypse," and could easily be compounded by accelerating problems "¨caused by global warming.

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