A community resilience take on the great transition

Categories: Big picture
Published on: April 25, 2015

resilience.org / Richard Heinberg / 24 April 2015

planetary-boundaries-figure-3It seems to me we could start with a recognition that crisis is now assured. That does not mean near-term extinction is inevitable, but it does mean that this century will almost certainly see ecological, economic, and social upheaval on an unprecedented scale. The doomers are right in saying that it is late in the game, but wrong in simply giving up.

An alternative strategy would be to anticipate crises and use them to advantage. Such a crisis-led strategy would first seek to provide ways for people and institutions to adapt to coming changes in ways that create more community resilience and that meet basic human needs more sustainably over the long run. That would almost certainly imply different adaptive tactics for societies in varying stages of industrialization (or de-industrialization, as the case may be). A secondary strategy would be to widely and consistently publicize an ecological explanation for inevitable crises (overpopulation, depleting resources, pollution) that could at least partly reduce the social tendency to find scapegoats for declining economic conditions. This could avert a great deal of unnecessary conflict.

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