Please check out this new article on resilience, systems thinking and acknowledging that we can't know the challenges we'll face, so we better make sure our systems can cope:

Fiksel , J. Goodman, I. Hecht, A. 2014. Resilience: Navigating toward a Sustainable FutureSolutions. Vol 5, No. 5. pp. 38-47 -

The way they consider "sustainability" is very similar to my own view:

"Sustainability is often misinterpreted as a goal to which we should collectively aspire. In fact, sustainability is not a reachable end-state, rather, it is a characteristic of a dynamic, evolving system. Long-term sustainability will result not from movement along a smooth trajectory, but rather from continuous adaptation to changing conditions. Therefore, a sustainable society must be based on a dynamic world-view in which growth and transformation are inevitable."

I like how they offer some examples of where some resilience may not be particularly sustainable (and vice versa) - such as lean manufacturing and corn ethanol - so that there may have to be some tradeoffs (e.g., allowing for redundancy = waste) so the system can survive traumas.

Interesting that EPA is sponsoring Fiksel's work on resilience.  Talk about an agency locked in inertia to changes by both Congressional laws and excruciatingly detailed regulations!


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