Today, we are excited to name the first group of cities selected through the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge – cities who have demonstrated a dedicate …
Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about the capacity to use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.
This publication presents the major strands within resilience thinking and social-ecological research. It describes the profound imprint we humans have had on nature and ideas on how to deal with the resulting challenges.
The publication is based on three scientific articles that were prepared for the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on global sustainability, which took place in Stockholm in May 2011. The articles were later published in the scientific journal Ambio. They represent a mix of necessary actions and exciting planetary opportunities. They also illustrate how we can use the growing insights into the many challenges we are facing by starting to work with the processes of the biosphere instead of against them.
Chapter One describes in detail the complex interdependencies between people and ecosystems. It highlights the fact that there are virtually no ecosystems that are not shaped by people and no people without the need for ecosystems and the services they provide. Too many of us seem to have disconnected ourselves from Nature. A shift in thinking will create exciting opportunities for us to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.
Chapter Two takes us through the tremendous acceleration of human enterprise, especially since World War II. This acceleration is pushing the Earth dangerously close to its boundaries, to the extent that abrupt environmental change cannot be excluded. Furthermore, it has led scientists to argue that the current geological period should be labelled the ‘Antropocene’ – the Age of Man.
Chapter Three highlights the fascinating paradox that the innovative capacity that has put us in the current environmental predicament can also be used to push us out of it. It introduces the term social-ecological innovation, which essentially strives to find innovative ways to reconnect with the biosphere and stay within planetary boundaries.
Even if everybody does not agree about everything in this report it is a clear signal that we are looking at the world in a very different way than we did some years ago. Resilience will be the new buzzword of the day…
Yet today, precisely because the world is so increasingly out of balance, the sustainability regime is being quietly challenged, not from without, but from within. Among a growing number of scientists, social innovators, community leaders, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, governments and corporations, a new dialogue is emerging around a new idea, resilience: how to help vulnerable people, organizations and systems persist, perhaps even thrive, amid unforeseeable disruptions. Where sustainability aims to put the world back into balance, resilience looks for ways to manage in an imbalanced world.
Infographic: How big a backyard would you need to live off the land?
Graphic illustrates how much backyard square footage would be needed to feed a family of 4 a well-rounded diet of meat, dairy, eggs, wheat, fruits and veggies for a year. Not surprisingly, it’s a lot.
Full Story: MNN
Thinking about this when pondering around urbanization and the future of cities is really important…
How we build and develop our cities becomes more and more important for many aspects of our lives - even from an environmental perspective.
As PopTech focuses its attention on the theme of resilience this year, we’ll be highlighting stories from on and off the web that exemplify many facets that define the field. Recently, we were drawn to the following post on Dowser by Rachel Signor, which we’ve excerpted here:
A while back, Dowser wrote about Bellingham, Washington, a town that is consciously developing its local economy in order to withstand the global recession. Across the world, communities are forming around principles of sustainable, locally-based living, with awareness that natural resources—like oil—are finite, and an understanding that sustainability is more than a choice in a grocery store; it’s a way of life.
Arguably, much of what goes on in the Transition Network is happening already, in cities everywhere: urban agriculture, crowdfunding, and other kinds of social enterprises are aligned with principles of resilience. But the Transition Network offers a support base, as well as a handbook to the Transition Town design model, a 12-step guide to organizing a community toward non-reliance on oil.
We can talk about scenario planning in order to see, understand and manage uncertainty on a longer term planning level but when it comes running the daily business the result of the process i e how we design companies and structures will be the crucial point for the future.
I am again talking about the need to redesign society and businesses and build resilient and shock-managing, rather than slim, lean, efficient and just-in-time structures. Or maybe they can be slim, lean, efficient and just-in-time, but ONLY of these properties are helping organizations to be better at managing dramatic and sudden changes. Otherwise this mental heritage (or garbage) of efficiency and just-in-time thinking from an obsolete industrial age will lead to a certain death when the grim reaper of unexpected shocks or changes comes to take his tribute.
The signs of change comes from Toyota who seems to maintain it’s thought leader position when it comes to taking the next level of industrial development into the area of resilience…
Based on the terrible experience of the Japanese earthquake Toyota are now aiming at change their manufacturing and supplier structures with these three steps:
- Standardizing parts - so Japanese automakers could share components manufactured in different locations
- Increase supplier inventories - so the outsourced delivery of components will be able to deliver parts longer and not so fast be victims of sudden shortages of material
- Making each region independent - i e procurement of components are local so a disaster somewhere would not affect production overseas
This is really interesting but it is worth noting it is just a part of the solution and just from the perspective of the manufacturing plant. There are much more work to do in order to make the whole value process around the automotive industry resilient and future ready.
But from a longer term strategic perspective, taking this path, or rather being forced to go down it, could turn out to be as important for the long term future success of Japanese auto manufacturers, as the collective Japanese decision to decrease fuel consumption was in the 1980:s.
Are the Japanese again using their problems and tragedies in order to improve before everybody else does?
Read more in Reuter article.
Noah talks about a natural model explaining how complex systems naturally develops and adapt - which most likely includes complex social systems as well.
This has important implications for management in organisations at this critical point. The skills, attitudes and reward structures which succeed in the expansion and climax phases (i.e., stable and slow building up of resources and systematic exploitation of a slow changing environment) are precisely the ones which do not succeed in the collapse and re-organisation phases.
And here he underlines the most important message for our society and organizations:
The skills, attitudes and rewards structures required to deal successfully with the transition through collapse and into re-organisation are fundamentally different than those which help build the organisation in stable times.