Searching for Resilience in Sustainable Development
Learning Journeys in Conservation
Routledge – 2014 – 188 pages
Resilience is a term that is gaining currency in conservation and sustainable development, though its meaning and value in this context is yet to be defined. Searching for Resilience in Sustainable Development examines ways in which resilience may be created within the web of ecological, socio-economic and cultural systems that make up the world in. The authors embark upon a learning journey exploring both robust and fragile systems and asking questions of groups and individuals actively involved in building or maintaining resilience.
Through a series of wide ranging interviews the authors give voice to the many different approaches to thinking of and building resilience that may otherwise stay rooted in and confined by specific disciplinary, professional or spatial contexts. The book documents emerging trends, shifting tactics and future pathways for the conservation and sustainable development movement post Rio+20, arriving at a set of diverse but connected conclusions and questions in relation to the resilience of people and planet.
This book is ideal for students and researchers working in the fields of conservation, sustainable development, education, systems thinking and development studies. It will also be of great interest to NGOs and government officers whose interests and responsibilities focus on conserving or reconstructing biodiversity and system resilience.
"This book unravels the multiple meanings of resilience and challenges us to be clear about what we mean. Today’s "striving for resilience" may be akin to yesterday’s "striving for conservation" – a futility in the complex adaptive system within which we live. To prevail, society needs to purposefully use its transformative capacity to embrace a more sustainable pathway. For all in the conservation and sustainable development movements – this is a timely must read." – Greg Bourne, former CEO of WWF Australia, BP Regional President (Australasia) and currently Chair at the Australian Renewable Energy Agency
"Resilience, or its importance, are not immediately obvious, even to the resilient. Yet sustainability depends on it. Nothing can be sustained that is not resilient, whether it be natural systems, the efforts to conserve them or those who try to understand the processes and principals involved. Confused? Then read this book!" – Dr John Cortes, Minister for Health and the Environment, H.M. Government of Gibraltar, Gibraltar
"Searching for Resilience in Sustainable Development provides a critical analysis of how the resilience concept is applied in contemporary debates ranging from global climate change to community development. Using a variety of framing devices, the book demonstrates how resilience has come to be understood, applied and re-interpreted across differing contexts and scales. The book is essential reading for scholars and practitioners seeking to understand what the concept of resilience has to offer individuals, communities, businesses and governments as we enter an age of environmental and social transformation." – Stewart Barr, University of Exeter, UK
"Sustainability must be at the heart of how we do business. We cannot use more resources than our planet can support. This challenging new book seeks to reflect on the value and effectiveness of the conservation and sustainability movement at a time when its own resilience is being tested. Read it!" – Jane Davidson, former Minister for Environment and Sustainability in Wales and Director of the Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE) at University of Wales, Trinity St Davids
"In its application to sustainable development, the concept of resilience assumes new complexity. In their book Searching for Resilience in Sustainable Development Blewitt and Tilbury exhibit healthy scepticism and deepen critical inquiry into resilience beyond the state of the art. A must read for all those interested in critical yet fundamental concepts of resilience and sustainable development." – Helen Kopnina, The Hague University of Applied Science, the Netherlands
"This book is unique in providing a truly interdisciplinary account of the uses and abuses of ‘resilience’ set within an inspiring sense of commitment to radical change. Resilience emerges as a profoundly humanist - as well as ecological - concept." – Jenneth Parker, Director of Research, Schumacher Institute, UK
"This book is timely and exemplifies the very strong commitment that we in UNEP have to the world of Universities, both as research centres and intellectual drivers of our sustainable development paradigm, and as centres of training for professionals who will enable us in the future to help societies in making this transition." – Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
1. Introduction: Learning journeys and resilience in times of change 2. Resilience in Theory and Practice 3. Shifting Tactics?: Testing the resilience of a movement 4. Contesting Market Logics 5. Regenerative and Resilient Eco-cities 6. Risks, Transition and an Ecology of Circumstances 7. Education and Conservation: Building social resilience 8. Resilience, Sustainability and the Utopian Future 9. Destinations: Humpty Dumpty and the Search for Resilience
John Blewitt is co-director of MSc Social Responsibility and Sustainability, a member of the IUCN Commission on Communication and Education. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Distinguished Fellow of the Schumacher Institute.
Daniella Tilbury is professor and director of sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire. She is co-chair of the Sustainable Futures Leadership Academy, a Marie Curie Fellow and president of Copernicus Alliance of Universities.