This is the argument that will be increasingly used in the years to come by those who prefer not to change complex embedded systems. (consumption economies, energy generation, transportation infrastructure, etc)
The problem with adopting “resilience” as an overly dominant paradigm is that doing so excuses us from fundamental reform of systems which were not designed for stopping climate change, supporting nine billion people or dealing with input (resource) constraints.
So while I’ve bought the eBook by the author of this recent New York Times piece “Learning to Bounce Back” it’s clear we are not facing the question of “sustainability or resilience?”, we face both.
I was intrigued by the set up though, even though it’s a fairly common ploy when promoting a book.
When selling a book based around a term that has some relationship to sustainability, authors will often bash the term to get publicity. I admit it worked on me, dammit. The word resilience is a really powerful one.
We’ve seen this happen with the term corporate social responsibility too, by lots of vendors selling services, and also by Michael Porter, with his “shared value” concept.
Porter’s idea articulated a version of CSR that no-one sensible recognised, and is essentially a pitch for client work, similar to the other attempts to capture the term.
I re-tweeted the NY times Op Ed above, and was pleased to see these responses from some sustainability stalwarts:
Brendan May @bmay:
@tobiaswebb76 @MarcGunther @andrew_zolli Surely the former results in the latter? Don’t see them as one or the other. #sustainability
Koann @Koann: Hmm, #susty requires resilience, but latter may not be
enough in itself, no? “@bmay @tobiaswebb76 @MarcGunther @andrew_zolli
Mike Barry @planamikebarry:
@bmay @tobiaswebb76 @MarcGunther @TonyJuniper sustainability is destination, resilience is flexibility/strength to navigate the rocky road
Well said Mike.
Here’s some further reading on how the two areas inter-link.