August 6, 2012
This is a timely and compelling book. The future of our planet and of ourselves is looking increasingly uncertain. We are beset by stresses and shocks – of all kinds, natural and human induced – that are growing in frequency and size. We have shown enormous ingenuity in the past in applying science and technology to increase food production, reduce mortality, and improve the quality of human life, even though the benefits of these improvements have not always been shared equally around the planet. But we’ve been less effective in managing our impacts on the environment, whether in our backyard or for the planet as a whole.
Resilience thinking has emerged as a valuable way for people to engage with the world. Indeed, interest has reached the point where the term resilience is considered by some to be the “new sustainability” and is developing into a buzzword. Its increasingly common use and political rhetoric involves various interpretations of what it means and carries the danger of its value being discounted.
This book is a practical primer. It takes the reader through the basics that underpin resilience thinking and then sets out how this valuable set of ideas might actually be applied in assessing and managing resilience. Chapters on how an assessment might be approached are interspersed with case studies that describe how resilience applies in a range of real-world situations.
Brian Walker is a Research Fellow in CSIRO Ecosystem Scie nces and Chair of the Resilience Alliance. David Salt is a science and environment writer at the Australian National University in Canberra.