Resilience Thinking as a Framing Mechanism to Facilitate Collective Community Response to Various Implications of Global Environmental Change

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Ayyoob Sharifi and Yoshiki Yamagata, Global Carbon Project, NIES National Institute of Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
The Future Earth initiative highlights single-disciplinary focus as a serious problem on the way of full utilization of the large body of existing knowledge and calls for “co-design”, “co-production”, and “co-dissemination” of knowledge. Resilience thinking is an approach to stewardship of social-ecological systems that seeks to bring the (often) fragmented diverse efforts and practices under an integrated framework. The notion of resilience is rapidly gaining ground in the sustainability literature. As a concept with broad scope and increasing popularity, resilience can be utilized to frame various problems related to different climate- and non-climate-induced disruptions in urban areas. Acknowledging that resilience thinking can provide a platform for communication between different parties operating in diverse research areas related to cities, this presentation describes the meaning of resilience in human communities. It emphasizes the essential role of social capital in mobilizing residents for collective action and facilitating collaboration between various groups and organizations that exist in an urban setting. It is argues that diffusion and implementation of such a collective and bottom-up approach to address the consequences of global environmental change warrants a governance shift from the conventional “persuasive communication processes” to “emergent dialogue” mechanisms that acknowledge the existence of complexities and uncertainties and advocate adopting a participatory process to create desired future communities that are capable of coping with the adverse consequences of global environmental change.