Waterloo, Ontario – A Google search for “sustainability” may not bring up as many hits as one looking for “Harry Potter” (70.5 million) or “god” (465 million). But at a respectable 31.5 million, it’s safe to say that this term has entered our vernacular.
Alternatives Journal, Canada’s national environmental magazine, has just released its newest issue, with hopes of introducing readers to a newer concept – one that just may rival sustainability as a means to bring about the change we require.
“Resilience” only generates 9.3 million Google hits, but it may become the rallying cry for change, replacing the more defensive plea for sustainability. “Resilience implies action, as in ‘building resilience,'” writes University of Waterloo professor Andrew McMurray, in his article “The Rhetoric of Resilience.” “It embodies a number of the characteristics that Aristotle required of all good figures of speech: it is active, primordial, concise and appropriate.”
Buzz Holling, the father of resilience theory, in an exclusive interview with Alternatives‘ executive editor Nicola Ross, explains that resilience is key for a world teetering on the brink of a major transformation. We need to build resilience into how we manage all of our systems if we want them to withstand a blow as Canada’s banks did in the recent economic crisis.
For those who are new to the concept, Alternatives provides a primer in “Resilience 101,” as well as “The Hardcore Guide to Resilience” for those who are already comfortable with the idea.
Throughout this Alternatives issue, “resilience” is illustrated using examples of social and ecological systems that have withstood major disruptions and changes, but keep on functioning.