Posts Tagged ‘resilience’

Obama’s plan for climate action: Infographic

Posted in Models, Movements, PostCarbon by Jessica Bird on June 26th, 2013

Source: tcktcktck via Post Carbon Institute
Obama-Climate-Plan-Infographic-FINAL630px2

Infographic: tcktcktck

From ‘Infrographic: What’s in Obama’s Climate Plan?‘ by Heather Libby:

In a major speech today, U.S. President Barack Obama has made the fight against climate change a priority for his second term. Saying he “refuses to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” Obama outlined the first comprehensive U.S. Climate Action Plan. […] While the details of much of the Plan have yet to be decided and his continued support for natural gas and carbon capture and sequestration will likely be met with criticism, Obama’s all-encompassing plan to tackle climate change is being seen as a positive signal for bold action from the United States.

>>> You can access the infographic and full article on the tcktcktck website.


Bicycles: Machines for disaster recovery

Posted in Models, Sustainable Cities by Kate Archdeacon on November 30th, 2012

Source: The Atlantic Cities


Photo © Sarah Goodyear

From an article in early November by Sarah Goodyear, talking about Bicycle Habitat’s emergency supplies deliveries around New York after Hurricane Sandy:

New Yorkers are learning things from this storm, and from the relief efforts that are ongoing even as another weather front sweeps through this afternoon, forcing another round of evacuations. Practical things. They are learning where to go for help, and how to help each other. They are learning how to get around when the transportation system fails, and the importance of redundancy and resiliency in all kinds of infrastructure. They are learning what you really need to have on hand when supply chains are disrupted, and what you can do without. They are learning how to assess the accuracy of information, and how to spread it. They are learning that individual efforts, pooled together, can make a substantial material difference in a crisis.

Bicycles are part of all this. In the early days after the storm, when the trains and buses stopped running, bikes were one of the few reliable ways of moving people, objects, and information around streets choked with debris. They don’t require the gasoline that people are still lining up for hours to get. They don’t need to be charged up – just add some basic food to a human being, and you can power the legs that turn the cranks.

Many of those of us who use bikes for transportation in better times knew their potential to help out in disaster already. Bikes have been part of my family’s emergency plan since we first made one in the wake of 9/11. After we had a kid, we planned for his bike needs at every stage, from a seat on the back to a bike trailer to a tandem to his own solid ride that would go any distance. A friend suggested on Twitter that the Office of Emergency Management should encourage bike tuneups as part of basic disaster preparedness measures, like a go bag or stockpiles of food and water. Yes to that.

Sure, there are lots of things that bicycles can’t do, or that motor vehicles can do better, if they’re available. Some Bicycle Habitat customers drove heavier donations, like bottled water and canned food, out to the Rockaways to supplement the bicycle effort.

But as I pedaled along the streets of the peninsula, my panniers filled with hand warmers and tampons and energy bars, I was struck again by the power of the bicycle. It is a machine that is uniquely able to leverage and amplify human effort. And this is precisely what we have seen all over the city in the days since the storm hit: The humble work of individual people, harnessed to simple mechanisms, can gain strength exponentially. And move a city forward.

Read the full article by Sarah Goodyear.


Density for healthier, resilient communities: Montreal

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 2nd, 2012


Photo BY Lloyd Alter CC 2.0

Check out Lloyd Alter’s commentary on Montreal as a model for more dense cities.

Of particular interest are the points he makes about using external staircases to release internal space for residential areas, and using moderate building heights to keep things walkable or, as Alter puts it, “resilient”, during power failures.

From the article:

…dense enough to support vibrant main streets with retail and services for local needs, but not too high that people can’t take the stairs in a pinch. Dense enough to support bike and transit infrastructure, but not so dense to need subways and huge underground parking garages. Dense enough to build a sense of community, but not so dense as to have everyone slip into anonymity.

>>Read the full article on Treehugger.


Visions of Resilience: Anglesea 2037

Posted in Research, Visions by Jessica Bird on October 23rd, 2012


Image by D. Armellin

A local resilience-building project about climate extremes.

Visions of Resilience: Anglesea 2037 is part of a larger research project Transforming Institutions for Climate Extremes. This project is led by Che Biggs at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) at the University of Melbourne. It aims to understand how communities and institutions can prepare and become more resilient to disruptive climate conditions. Anglesea was chosen as an ideal case-study site because it faces multiple climate hazards such as fire, drought and sea level rise but it also has a creative community and a strong local identity.

What is the Visions of Resilience: Anglesea 2037 blog about?

The images and articles you see on the Visions of Resilience: Anglesea 2037 blog are glimpses of possible futures. They depict strategies and ideas about how Anglesea could become more resilient to the more extreme possible impacts of climate change. The ideas represented have been developed from a workshop involving Anglesea community members. In the workshop people were asked to propose adaptation strategies in response to a series of challenging future scenarios that describe Anglesea in the year 2037. These scenarios were built from an assessment of climate model projections, historical records from along the Great Ocean Road and interviews with Anglesea residents. The small number of glimpses you see were combined and synthesised from more than 100 ideas developed in the workshop. Treat them as a window into a range of possible futures that might exist. We encourage you to comment on what is good or not good about the way they respond to challenges from climate change.

Why this project? When managing disaster risk, government and private sector organisations often rely heavily on ‘probability’ or ‘expert’ assessments of the likely type, extent and frequency of negative impacts. This can come unstuck when disasters occur outside what has been predicted and planned for. Transforming Institutions for Climate Extremes is a response to this problem. It responds to the call for new methods to improve community resilience and help communities improve disaster planning. It seeks to explore how prepared our communities, our decision-makers and decision-making processes are for the challenges of ‘new’ climate conditions. It will consider what institutional changes are needed to meet those challenges whilst ensuring community ownership.

Climate change in Anglesea? Anglesea lies in an area of southern Australia that will be affected by climate change in many ways. Climate models project that the most likely direct impacts will include changes to rainfall (drier but with more intense rainfall events), changes in temperature (warmer with more heatwaves), increasing acidity of oceans and rising sea levels. In-turn, these impacts are expected to affect a whole range of factors including increases in coastal erosion and days of extreme fire danger to increased risk of heat-stroke and changes to when plants flower and birds migrate. Climate Change is the effect of heat from the sun being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere by gases produced by human activity. While some of these gases (like carbon dioxide) are found naturally in the atmosphere, as we increase their concentration above natural levels, they trap more heat from the sun – a bit like an insulation blanket.

You can view the glimpses of a resilient Anglesea in 2037 and comment at www.anglesea2037.com. You can also like the Facebook page to be kept up to date with the project.


Sustainable Horticulture and Food Production: Postgraduate Study

Posted in Models, Research, seeking by Kate Archdeacon on August 23rd, 2012

Source: Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)

Applications open for 2012/13

Schumacher College is the first in the world to offer a postgraduate programme in Sustainable Horticulture and Food Production.

The programme has been developed in association with the Centre for Alternative Technology and Plymouth University.  From 2012/13 we are offering a Postgraduate Diploma and a Postgraduate Certificate (subject to final University approval) alongside a part-time and full-time MSc.

Sustainable Horticulture

As global population hits 7 billion in 2011, we urgently need to consider how our food systems will cope in the coming years. Can they produce enough? And are they resilient to an unpredictable climate and reduction in fossil fuels and other high-energy inputs on which they’re currently dependent?

This programme brings together the thinking, research and practice at the cutting-edge of a global food revolution. Drawing from many different projects and schools of thought around the world, and looking at the roles of large scale food production, biotechnology, ‘human scale’ horticulture and botanical diversity, our starting point is natural systems.

How can we work with nature and biological cycles to improve our horticultural production? And how do we do it without increasing environmental degradation, climate change or consumption of finite resources, the pressing questions of our time.

Who is this course for?

This course is for growers, entrepreneurs and leaders who want to progress food systems that are ecologically, socially and financially sustainable.  You will have the opportunity to further develop your technical, strategic, and critical skills and the space to regenerate and hone your passion and creativity for a better world.

We are delighted to receive your applications whether you are coming from an undergraduate degree, taking time-out to study mid-career or wanting an opportunity to retrain in a subject area that is of huge importance to our future resilience and well-being.

We are looking for enthusiastic agents of change who are ready to co-create a new sustainable food system in practice. We are looking for those prepared to take a risk and stand on the cutting-edge of new thinking in this area.

Schumacher College welcomes students from all over the world in its diverse mix of cultural experience and age group which allows for rich peer to peer learning.

Course programme overview

The course format has been designed to allow students to combine postgraduate study at Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate level with work and other commitments.

There are six taught modules between September and April, followed by an 18 week dissertation period. Postgraduate Diploma students to not write up a dissertation, but must complete all six Core Modules including Research Methods. Postgraduate Certificate students take Core Modules 1, 4 and 6 only.

Each module is worth 20 credits and, with the exception of Module 2, are composed of one week reading preparation, two weeks residential at Schumacher College, followed by three weeks for assignments with on-line support. The dates of residency at Schumacher College (or CAT, for Module 2) are shown below.

  • Module 1: 3 – 14 September Plant Science and Botanical Diversity
  • Module 2: 22 – 26 October Food Systems and the Post-Carbon World (CAT)
  • Module 3: 26 November – 7 December Research Methods
  • Module 4: 7 – 18 January Living Systems
  • Module 5: 25 February – 8 March The New Food Economy
  • Module 6: 15 – 26 April Ecological Design and Practice in Horticulture
>>Go to the Schumacher College website to find out more about the course.


Edges and Social Spaces: City Design

Posted in Models, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on September 28th, 2011

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective


Photo by Chuck Wolfe

From “Confronting the Urban Mirror” by Chuck Wolfe:

To my mind, one of the most compelling features of a provocative urban environment is a place where people watch people—which becomes a small-scale human observatory. Such places are often indicative of safe public environments, including active streets, corners and squares. They are particularly prevalent in cultures where neighbors readily interact, and the seams between public and private are softer than zoning setbacks, while still allowing for a private world.

[…]

The sustainable cities we seek should include small places, where, as here, when the bustle of life begins in the morning and evening, people interact with facets of the city around them. I suspect that workable density, in the city of the future, will abound with the types of spaces readily ascertainable from cities of the past. We need places where we sit on the edges of the public realm and look in the mirror, to be reminded of who we really are.

Read the full article and check out the delightful photos by Chuck Wolfe on Sustainable Cities Collective.

 


The Slow Food Almanac for 2011: Out now

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on September 12th, 2011

The Slow Food Almanac for 2011 is now available to read online. Introduction by Carlo Petrini:

A recent addition to the movement’s publications, each edition paints an increasingly effective picture of what we are doing in the world.  Once again the Almanac is rich in stories that describe who we are and what we do: Slow Food and Terra Madre’s activities on every continent to defend biodiversity, promote local food through taste education and grow our network with projects, meetings and exchanges. They are stories of men and women, young people and elders, cooks and teachers who are united by the Slow Food movement – active, determined, working together to bring change to their communities. Through their perseverance and imaginative approaches, and sharing in our global network, their examples become a stimulus and an opportunity for common growth and exchange.

The 2011 Almanac speaks about us and the land we live on – our true wealth. It offers a glimpse of how vast geographic diversity and human interactions with ecosystems have allowed us to be creative and produce food in a good, clean and fair way, and thus continue to hope for a better world. This is our culture, the culture of Slow Food.

I hope you will enjoy the inspiring stories and wonderful photographs in this electronic publication. It also contains links for further information – connecting to the various sections of the Slow Food website, as well as other websites, photo galleries and video footage. Please share it with friends who may be interested in joining Slow Food.

To read the Almanac, click here.


Support Systems: Rebuilding for Resilience

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on June 30th, 2011

Source: The Fifth Estate

From “Resilience planning for wild weather and climate change” by Leon Gettler:

Queensland, the state of floods and cyclones that devastated property, has become Australia’s laboratory for sustainable building, for creating resilient homes, offices and structures in the face of climatic volatility. In a radical scheme, Grantham residents who had confronted a deadly mountain of water in the floods, have been invited to apply for land swaps to higher ground after the small southeast town was declared the first designated reconstruction area under the new Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s powers. The local council is working with reconstruction authority to create the land swaps.

Green Cross Australia, the non profit group working with developers, insurers and the Property Council of Australia to encourage sustainable thinking, plans to launch a Harden Up portal in August.

The scheme is a world first. Using social media, it aims to makes people aware of the history of the weather patterns in their region, helps prepare them to protect their homes, families and communities and encourages them to share their insights. People will be able to tap into the portal to assess the weather patterns in their suburb or town over the last 150 years, using data from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. They will be taken on interactive multimedia tours and encouraged to share their insights through a page on Facebook. The exercise is not only about creating awareness, it’s about empowering communities and giving them the know-how and information needed to create more resilient housing.

Green Cross Australia has also run Build It Back Green workshops that seek to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions, improve community resilience through good design and engagement, invest in green school infrastructure, invest in commercial, government and public buildings, invest in green infrastructure projects and develop solutions for low income residents that reduce energy, water and waste.

Significantly, the Build It Back Green model is now being used by 7000 Victorians whose homes were destroyed in the Black Saturday fires. It is also now being taken up by residents in Perth who faced the bushfires there in January.

Read the rest of this article by Leon Gettler on The Fifth Estate.

Adaptive Capacity: Design for Resilience and Resourcefulness

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 13th, 2011

Source: Core 77


© Shelterbox UK

From “Building Adaptive Capacity: Towards a Design for Sustainability 3.0” by Michael Sammet:

[…]
DESIGNING FOR RESILIENCE

Designing to expand adaptive capacity means creating objects, templates and platforms that allow people and systems to survive and even thrive in a complex and uncertain planet. In a world increasingly shaped by peak oil, global warming, economic uncertainty and environmental disasters (Deep Water Horizon, Pakistani floods, Fukushima), designers are coming to grips with how to help users create local resilience and self-reliance. In fact, the concept of resilience has become an important term that designers are just now grappling with. An emergent property of systems that is related to the “longevity” tenet of sustainability but qualitatively different from its “no impact” focus, resilience is concerned with cycles of change and positive adaptation. Resilience thinking integrates social and environmental factors into a holistic framework that helps users prepare for —or even take advantage of—shocks to a system.

In their 2006 book Resilience Thinking, Brian Walker and David Salt explain the concept of the four phases of the adaptive cycle: rapid growth, conservation, release and reorganization. They argue that building adaptive capacity based on resilience, not optimal efficiency, allows systems to absorb and prepare for external disturbances without crossing thresholds that shift to another regime. Designers need to consider differentiated, integrated strategies for change rather than rational, efficient strategies that maximize and exploit the growth of early stages. These growth-focused systems certainly yield more substantial paybacks but at the expense of resilience, such that they are more prone to massive shakeups after significant fluctuations. As Salt and Walker explain, “any proposal for sustainable development that does not acknowledge a system’s resilience is simply not going to keep delivering goods and services. The key to sustainability lies in enhancing the resilience of social-ecological systems, not in optimizing isolated components of the system.”

Design for resilience, which has surfaced at the burgeoning conjunction of environmental science, localism and business scenario planning, is just now beginning to appear on designers’ radar and can be implemented on many different levels. At the most practical level, ShelterBox can help a group of ten survive major disaster for a prolonged period. Transition Towns are popping up all over the globe as people begin to redesign their cities in response to the rising cost and resource depletion of fossil fuels. Forage movements, permaculture projects and farmers markets are all examples of ways of building resilient food systems. After recent government interference of communication systems in the Middle East, resilience thinking led designers to consider how to create decentralized, localized Internet and cell phone systems, not just new, faster and lighter versions of the old models.
[…]

From a larger article on Design for Sustainability by Michael Sammet for Core 77.

Check out this excellent article about Food Connect’s small local network delivering food to residents in the Brisbane floods. KA


From Resilience Theory To Practice: 11 Commandments

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 6th, 2011

Source: Stockholm Resilience Centre: Research for governance of social-ecological systems.


Photo of Neural Sky by rox sm via flickr CC

From “The 11 Commandments: Brian Walker presents 11 issues to think about when applying resilience theory“:

[Stockholm Resilience Centre Senior Research Fellow] Brian Walker has been instrumental in formulating social-ecological resilience theory. At a time when resilience has become a widespread term used by scientists, politicians, business leaders, NGOs and other practitioners alike, Walker is starting to see the need to develop ideas on how to apply resilience theory into practice.

“This need has become apparent in my work with a range of different practitioners, from Australian farmers hit by climate change effects and global economic trends to the government officials who have to develop appropriate policies. It becomes doubly difficult when you’re dealing with regions that involve more than one country, like the Arctic”, says Walker. “Generally, the resilience concept is a very useful tool in communicating with practitioners. A common problem, however, is that people tend to focus too much on one scale — the scale that most concerns them. A lot remains to be done when it comes to the practical work of implementation”, he continues.

At the recent Resilience 2011 conference in Arizona, Walker presented 11 areas where more attention is needed in order to tackle problems with applying resilience ideas:

  1. You cannot understand or manage a system by focusing on one scale.
  2. Increasing resilience at one scale can reduce resilience at other scales.
  3. Social-ecological systems are essentially self-organizing systems with thresholds.
  4. Thresholds can move.
  5. There is a hierarchy of thresholds with some embedded within others.
  6. Trying to make the system very resilient in one way can lead to loss of resilience in others.
  7. While theory development around specified resilience (identifying thresholds, etc.) is active and encouraging, the theory on general resilience lacks rigour and needs research.
  8. Both specified resilience and general resilience are important and interact.
  9. The proposition of panarchy has become popular and widely used, as a concept, but it, too, lacks rigour in application.
  10. Resilience and transformability are not “opposites”; they are compatible aspects of a complex adaptive system that functions at multiple scales.
  11. Navigating the combined influences of exogenous shocks and endogenous changes calls for adaptive governance.

Read the full article for links to Brian Walker’s presentation and a video illustrating resilience in humans and ecosystems.