Resiliience-UK hosts the international deep learning network called RANDR.
RANDR promotes the study of the cultural roots of unsustainable livingand the routes for future generations to live sustainably
'Resilience-UK' was created in 2008 by, two private individuals who have practical cross-sectorial management experienced in signposting communities to make plans for sustainable futures.
Resilience through education will be a defining quality of the global 21st century. As we approach the unknown and unpredictable effects of climate change, and the multiple challenges of resource depletion, loss of welfare and economic crises, we know that our current ways of living are not resilient. Our urban infrastructures, our buildings, our economies, our ways of managing and governing are still too tightly bound to models of unrestrained free-market growth, individualism and consumerism. Research has shown that the crises arising from climate change will become increasingly frequent and increasingly severe. What is also known is that the effects of climate change are not evenly distributed across places and people, and neither are the resources needed to meet these challenges. We will need place specific responses that engage with, and emerge from, citizens ourselves.
To develop the capacity and skills of the members of a community in such a way that they are more resilient as individuals and groups to changes in the environment and so better able to identify and help meet their needs to participate more fully in a global society which is able to adapt to change, either by maintaining a sustainable goal or moving towards a new attainable behavioural norm.
The objective will be achieved by:
- providing opportunities for people to learn through experience- opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them;
- involving people in collective effort so that they gain confidence in their own abilities and particularly their ability to influence higher level decisions that affect them;
- teaching the principles of adaptive management to cope with a future where complexities, volatilities and uncertainties are going to be hallmarks of the 'new normal'.
Thus, individual involvement and collective activity go hand in hand, encouraging people to join together with others so as to provide through collective effort what the community needs for living with resilience, but in such a way that those taking part also develop their own potential as 'environmental citizens' in a changing society. Sustainability is here defined as 'being good to society'. It is about maintaining well being in terms of social rights, equality, diversity and opportunities. It certainly does not mean maintaining year on year economic growth for ever.
Environmental citizenship involves responsibilities and duties towards the betterment of the local community as an integral part of the ecosystem services that provide it with natural resources. These responsibilities and duties are exercised through economic participation, public service, volunteer work and other such behavioural efforts focused on the integrity of nature, near and far. The behaviours involve cultivating two levels of social input by which we adapt to environment through our minds, and habits The mind set of an environmental citizen is 'belonging to earth' where an 'inner holism' makes us see we are part of nature in everything we do. The predominant habits of an environmental citizen are aimed at maintaining a favourable state where there is an 'economic balance' between human needs and the limits of Nature's productivity. The outcome of these two levels of resilient behaviour is to 'organise in unity' (locally and globally) to ensure that, as just one among many beings, we only take from the environment what is necessary for the maintenance of ecosystem services, and promote customs and practices that forge links between peoples and the environment (global oneness). These levels of mental and practical perception of the relations between people and Nature define ecological liberty as freedom from cultural attitudes towards ecosystems as providers of endless resources to satisfy people's wants rather than their needs and as bottomless pits for waste disposal.
To exercise environmental citizenship means being part of a system of global management of Earth's natural resources. The objective is ecological liberty and the main limiting factors in reaching this goal are our mental attitudes towards 'self' and 'others', and our behaviour as consumers of natural resources. These attitudes and behaviours have to be controlled by adaptive management so they change from 'putting oneself first' to 'caring for Earth'. The managerial pathway for change was set out in Agenda 21 of the Rio Environment Summit in 1992. This was the global management strategy adopted by the international community. It has yet to be followed through operationally to political and domestic management levels in governments, communities and homes.
Peace is the hope of human beings. Health is the requirement of human survival. Resilience is how we bounce back in response to difficult experiences in our lives. Peace creates resilience and is statistically related to economic development, environmental health, and social cohesion.
Important questions surrounding peace, health and resilience are:
- why is it that some people just seem to cope better in response to life’s obstacles?
- is resilience a trait you’re either born with or without?
- can resilience be cultivated?
- what do we currently understand about the nature and nurture contribution in connection to the capacity for resilience?
- what do we understand about the biological underpinnings that distinguish vulnerability from resilience?
- can resilience be taught, and if so, what are some paths to getting there?
4 Some questions about local resilience
Science and Technology
* Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change: How can neighbourhoods adapt to the effects of climate change? What forms of technologies are being deployed? What kinds of science do we need?
* SMART Neighbourhoods and the Internet of Things: How can technology enable neighbourhoods to develop resilience? Does connecting places or objects digitally, enable resilience?
* Data and City Dashboards: How can they be used to facilitate and model resilience?
* New Forms of Making: How are digital technologies and digital fabrication impacting on developing local capacity for building and making?
* Monitoring and Feedback Loops: Can users' tacit knowledge help us to design and manage the built environment more sustainably? What can we learn from this?
* Environmental Justice and development: How to readdress the uneven burdens of climate change; how to understand and work with (or against) the ways the privileges of some are at the expense of others? How, through planning, architecture or spatial practices can we help build capacity with disadvantaged communities, as well as transforming the material conditions?
* Intergenerational Justice: What are the impacts of ageing societies on neighbourhoods? what are the ways we can work across generations?
* Collaborative Commons: What are the new economies, forms of sharing and collaboration that are being developed in response to current crises? Do these flat, collaborative, and potentially global, networks enhance local resilience?
* New Forms of Governance: What forms of governance are emerging to transform (and manage) neighbourhoods? Do they enable new participatory forms of democracy and self-organising? Can they enhance more transversal connections, connecting different levels of decision making at different scales?
* New Community Institutions: What are the new institutions that are being developed? What kinds of ethos and economy do these institutions enable and how do they work?
* Asset Ownership: How important is the ownership of assets in building local resilience?
Pedagogy and Practice
* Collaboration, Co-Design and Co-production: What are the ways practitioners, educators and researchers working with communities to enhance local resilience?
* Agency: Do these practices empower others? Do they enable different ways of doing or living together?
* Histories and Memories: How important is history for building new, resilient futures? Do collective memories help build resilience and learning?
* Live Projects: How can educational innovations, such as 'live projects' contribute to enabling change and greater neighbourhood resilience?
* Critical Pedagogy: How are forms of popular education being used to enable neighbourhood transformations? How, in educational institutions, can we engage more critical forms of pedagogy to help students connect to real-life issues, and therefore act upon them? Do we need to modify teaching and learning practice to prepare professionals for new ways of working?
- Research by Design: what can design contribute to developing greater understanding to mitigation, adaptation and growing local resilience?
The educational framework of cultural ecology is the central pillar of Resilience UK. It deals with the concept of cultures in ecosystems which represents a balancing act between consumerism and the conservation management of ecosystem services. It can serve as a tool for self-reflection which helps people rethink their relations to their local green spaces and increase knowledge about the consequences of consumption choices and behaviour for distant places and people.
Currently the site receives between 1 and 2 million unique hits a year with around 400 people a week registering for its blog.
6 Resilience through adaptive management
Adaptive management is a systematic approach to learning from the outcomes of plans. It is regarded as the 'gold standard' to bring a feature to be managed into a favourable state by controlling its agents of change, known as factors. The actual state of a feature is the measurable target. The logic and the data model for scheduling resources to manipulate factors are based on the proposition that long-term managerial resilience requires a dynamic, iterative system for managers to change their plans appropriately when new information is obtained. The idea is that the outcomes of actions must be regularly evaluated so that relative success can be documented and subsequent actions can be modified for greater effectiveness. This is important to cope with future unforseen changes in management factors and their knowledge base.
Adaptive management can only be successful when management objectives are clearly stated so that monitoring-benchmarks can be developed accordingly.
The objective of a feature should be approachable by planning to address the factors that impact on its state. Plans should address the actions to be scheduled within a given time frame and the amount of change allowable in the state of the feature when it is in a favourable condition. The latter defines the performance indicators of a plan, which are essential to compare the actual outcomes of actions with the desired outcome.
Sampling designs for evaluating action plans should be robust and evidence-based with opportunities to adequately assess outcomes based on the analysis of data from monitoring progress. The latter avoids the possibility of declaring an action unsuccessful when it was actually working or vice versa. There must be a commitment of time and money for implementing monitoring and the integral data analysis and evaluation.
Adaptive management requires a willingness to modify assumptions, goals and actions based on new information gained through monitoring efforts and research. Therefore it necessitates extensive recording and reporting of hypotheses, action designs and results to spread best practice.
Research is a critical component of the adaptive management approach. For instance, many conservation actions necessarily proceed with limited ecological information and without knowledge of whether the conservation actions proposed are the best approach. Research should be scheduled to run inside the management plan with the objective to better understand ecological relationships and to test new approaches. In particular, a diversity of investigative actions to define specific factors that influence the state of the ecosystem or its built features should be designed, implemented and monitored to help develop the most effective practices.
An adaptive approach to management involves exploring alternative ways to meet management objectives, predicting the outcomes of alternatives based on the current state of knowledge, implementing one or more of these alternatives, monitoring to learn about the impacts of management actions, and then using the results to update knowledge and adjust management actions. Adaptive management focuses on learning and adapting through co-productive partnerships of managers, scientists, and other stakeholders who learn together how to create and maintain sustainable resource systems.
The practical message of adaptive management is that managers must commit to accepting monitoring results and to changing conservation actions accordingly. In this sense managers are ‘planning to learn’ through ‘learning to plan’.
7 Project work
In its project work 'Resilience-UK' takes the viewpoint that:
1 Ecosystems provide material and non-material benefits for humanity.
2 In pre-human times these services were maintained by non-human self-management.
3 Now, the needs and wants of humanity have exceeded the capacity of ecological self-regulation.
4 Therefore, ecosystem serivices have to be maintained by adaptive conservation management, which defines the action-model aimed at providing the resilience for living sustainably.
5 Also, it is increasingly the case that habitat restoration becomes the last resort of conservation management.
The wiki is an educational resource to support the teaching of cosmopolitanism with illustrations as to how communities can become models of environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability, by making plans that:-
- Sustain vibrant economies where all people can realize their full potential;
- Minimize their ecological footprint;
- Attract and retain talented people, and encourage creativity and entrepreneurship;
- Foster respect for one another, inclusiveness, kindness and human dignity;
- Include new arrivals with grace and speed;
- Have buildings and public spaces that are beautiful and accessible;
- Build on their distinctive human, cultural, historical and natural heritage;
- Ensure a civil and peaceful society for all people;
- Be places where people take personal responsibility for the success of their community.
Community social sustainability is a process of community development, supported by governments and institutions in some kind of animateur linkage with people that ensure harmonious social relations to enhance social integration and improve living conditions for all citizens. The redistribution of resources, as well as equal access to the means by which to fulfill basic human needs, including housing, employment, public facilities and services that are all central to social sustainability. Social sustainability emerged as a fundamental component of community resilience, with the recognition that environmental sustainability is unattainable without accompanying social justice to address the instability brought about by social ills.
Social ills, such as poor education, racism, joblessness, broken families, drug abuse and crime, all reinforce one another, thereby perpetuating a cycle of poverty, inequality, violence and despair. These conditions are significant barriers to supporting or attracting businesses and civic institutions necessary for a healthy community, and they possibly put at risk future prosperity if a growing number of residents are not given the opportunity to participate fully in the economy.
Social sustainability can be defined as the highest attainable level in living standards measured against the lowest negative impact on the environment, culture and the economy. More specifically, social sustainability within cities and communities means that the following conditions are present:
- The basic needs of citizens with respect to food, shelter, education, work, income and safety are met;
- Access to opportunities are distributed equitably and fairly across society;
- There is an environment of conviviality, wherein citizens live together harmoniously and in mutual support of each other;
- Individuals have the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in civic processes (formal and informal).
Essentially, this is the system of Integrated Community Sustainabililty Planning (ICSP) invented in Canada to link government and other resource providers with communities.