Resilience helps us to thrive by:
anticipating and preparing for disturbance,
improving the capacity to withstand shocks,
rebuilding as necessary, and
adapting and evolving when possible.
Resilience is a powerful remedy for our uncertain times, allowing us to learn to live with the fundamental complexity of modern life. These are our favorite resources for getting up to speed on the ideas behind “resilience” and the ways that they are being implemented in communities around the world.
The Stockholm Resilience Center has produced some of the best educational materials for introducing the concept of resilience, including videos and brochures. Explore their rich site, which also includes research papers and arts projects.
Transition is a global network of local/regional groups working to build resiliency. While Transition began from the framework of preparing for a post-peak-oil world, the evolution of the movement has led to a wide range of local initiatives that foster local economies, social justice, increased renewable energy, and other projects that, like much in the Close to Home strategy, offer powerful contributions to any possible future scenario.
Transition United States compiles news and resources; also includes a map of the over 150 active Transition Town initiatives in the US.
Transition Network is the global Transition resource center.
Other great resources
Resilient Communities is a project from the UK that shares some roots with the Transition Network. In the words of founder John Robb, a resilient community produces the food, energy, water, things, and incomes it needs locally.
PostCarbon Institute’s Resilience.org
An information clearinghouse and a network of action-oriented groups; features a lively exchange of ideas.
A research organization comprised of scientists and practitioners from many disciplines who collaborate to explore the dynamics of social-ecological systems. Here you’ll find more of the academic soil from which creative community-building solutions are growing.
YES Magazine special issue on community resilience
Includes a range of articles, most relatively brief, highlighting specific resiliency-building initiatives.
Tags: close to home strategy, collaboration, community groups, future, personal assets, resilience, tangible assets
The Breakthrough Institute is a think tank committed to “modernizing environmentalism for the 21st century” by rethinking old left-right framing and challenging some key liberal dogmas. Despite their name, we see them more as Drivers, in that their analysis and recommendations are rooted in an eco-pragmatism that includes elements of business-as-usual, albeit directed toward clear sustainability goals. They’ve coined the terms “ecomodernist” and “radical pragmatism” to describe their approach, which includes embracing nuclear power as the most viable path to a carbon-free electricity system in the short timeline available, as well as GMOs as useful tool for global nutrition and agricultural resiliency in the face of climate change. They’ll push your buttons if you’re a standard-issue liberal, but we find their reasoned, contrary voices to be well worth hearing, whether you agree with their bottom line or not.
Breakthrough Institute website
Contains a wealth of in-depth articles and essays
This quarterly journal, available online or in print, is the best place to stay current with what the New Republic called
“among the most complete efforts to provide a fresh answer to” the future of liberalism.
Breakthrough Dialogue 2014: High-energy Planet
Here’s an example of the Breakthrough mindset. Each year, they convene a 2-day “anti-Davos” organized around a theme; see this page for links to essays that summarize the discussions on panels exploring energy issues.
Videos: Breakthrough’s YouTube Channel
Videos: Modernizing Liberalism
A large collection of videos from a 2011 conference put together by Breakthrough Institute.
Tags: driver, future, global
Jamais Cascio is a futurist, and was a key contributor to our way of thinking about scenario planning. His talks and writings are endlessly fascinating and often inspiring.
Features lots of in-depth posts on topics related to scenario planning and possible futures.
Video: Bots, Bacteria, and Carbon
A good half-hour introduction to Cascio’s thinking; explores the potential course of planet Earth over the next 50 years, painting a picture of what a sustainable, resilient world could look like. Working with multiple future scenarios, he shows the often-unexpected ways in which the choices we make today will shape the decades to come.
Tags: dreamer, driver, evolutionary strategy, future, resilience
Stewart Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog, which included practical tools for back to the landers as well as tracking the leading edges of technology, including personal computing and the emergence of the internet. In recent years, he has brought an earth-loving engineer’s perspective to environmental issues, releasing a challenging book and championing “de-extinction,” which hopes use biotechnology to bring back extinct species. He is in many ways a prototypical driver, ever focused on getting good at it.
Stewart Brand homepage.
Book: Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto is a 2009 book by Stewart Brand. He sees Earth and people propelled by three transformations: climate change, urbanization, and biotechnology. Brand tackles “touchy issues” like nuclear power, genetic engineering and geoengineering, pushing his progressive readers to rethink some of their dogmas and assumptions.
Video: Four environmental heresies
This talk is a whirlwind tour through Brand’s challenging book, Whole Earth Discipline.
Videos: Brand TED talks
Includes talks on de-extinction, nuclear power, a positive view of squatter cities, and the Long Now.
The Long Now Foundation
The Long Now Foundation was established in 1996 with the intention of countering today’s accelerating culture and short-term thinking by supporting projects that cultivate long-term thinking. The website includes Clock and Library projects, as well as thought provoking articles and (for members) videos of seminars by visiting lecturers. About the Long Now, Brand says, “It would be helpful if humanity got into the habit of thinking of the now not just as next week or next quarter, but the next 10,000 years and the last 10,000 years — basically civilization’s story so far.”
eBook: The SALT Summaries
Here is a collection of Stewart’s email summaries of a hundred Seminars About Long Term Thinking, featuring a who’s who of innovative speakers, including Jared Diamond, Craig Venter, Bruce Sterling, Jill Tarter, Martin Rees, Clay Shirky, Niall Ferguson, and many more.
Tags: driver, future, technology
Peter Schwartz is the author of several seminal books on scenario planning, including the Art of the Long View and Learnings From the Long View. The latter was influential in our thinking about possible futures, especially his basic premise that systemic risk is the major challenge before us, and his close analysis of why this is so.
Peter Schwartz bio
Book: Learnings from the Long View.