chapter  8
Adaptive governance
Pages 17

Global financial meltdown, climate change and peak oil have highlighted the need for human society to adapt to future shocks, crises and disasters. Resilience has become rapidly ensconced within environmental policy and research agendas as a means to achieve this, and, in the process, make society more sustainable. The idea of resilience comes from a body of work in ecology which suggests that the persistence of ecosystems does not depend on their ability to remain stable in the face of change, but on their ability to shift between multiple states in the face of changing environmental conditions. Resilience is the “measure of the persistence of systems and of their ability to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations or state variables” (Holling 1973). The implications of this definition are that while relationships may persist after a shock, the system that maintains them may be different.