A system’s ability to maintain its self-organizing capacity, its identity, or its regime.
Resilience is not good or bad, it is just a systems’ property, making the system stay in a desirable or undesirable regime
Diversity is the bedrock of resilience
diversity builds resilience - homogenization reduces it
- high connectivity within a system that has little diversity amplifies the potential impact of shocks
Basins of attraction represent different possible regimes that a system may end up in (some will be more resilient than others)
Resilience arises from a rich structure of many feedback loops that can work in different ways to restore a system even after a large perturbation. A single balancing loop brings a system stock back to its desired state
Book - Thinking in Systems - Donella Meadows
Course - Planetary Boundaries
Earth System Resilience
Three Core Dimensions of Resilience
1) The amount of disturbance a system can absorb and still remain in the same state.
- The lower the resilience of a system, the more likely it is that small shocks will cause tipping points
2) The degree to which the system is capable of self-organization.
3) The degree to which the system can build up and increase the capacity for learning and adaptation.
Principles to Make Systems More Resilient
- Maintain diversity and redundancy (trade off with efficiency)
- Manage connectivity (allow disturbances to spread too)
- Manage slow variables and feedbacks (e.g. climate change, soil quality)
- Foster complex adaptive systems thinking
- Encourage learning
- Broaden participation
- You maintain resilience in a system by allowing it to probe its boundaries.
- You make a forest more resilient to fire by burning it
- You make children more resilient by exposing them to their environment
- If you overprotect them they become fragile
- Usually there are feedback loops in place to prevent a system to go over its boundary of resilience (e.g. human body doesn’t go above 42 degrees)
capacity to live with abrupt or incremental change, and continue to develop
- accepting complexity, uncertainty and surprise
- adapting to change more than resisting it (
More on Making Systems more Resilient
- Not assuming that we know -
- Set up social and institutional learning
- We need to build resilience to deal with the unexpected
- We need to build capacity to navigate change
- Improve collective decision-making
- Capacity to self-organize
- Talking about optimizing or maximizing is usually moving away from resilience thinking
No Set Methodology
- Resilience does not lend itself to measurement
- You can assess, not measure resilience, but there is not set methodology
- Adaptive and flexible method
- Assessments tend to be
- Context specific
- Participatory (include different perspectives)
- Resilience of What?
- What social-ecological system?
- Structure, key actors etc…
- Where do you draw boundaries (time, space, governance)
- Resilience to What?
- Is there a specific shock we are interested in?
- How did the system respond to change in the past (timelining)?
- Resilience for whom?
- Who is going to be affected by shocks?
Created on: 2020-12-20
Inspired by: Course - Planetary Boundaries
Related: biosphere stewardship | Complex Systems | Earth System Resilience