Resilience, Transition, Sustainability and Field Dependency

butterflyResilience is a key concept in the process of Transition, but like many abstract concepts, it is open to variable interpretation. Its meaning in green or ecological terms develops ideas of self-sufficency at a community level, again both these terms are open to levels of interpretation. Even the abstract concept of ‘transition’ itself has its own field variables – within one field it defines the process of gender shifting – as I found out when er, ‘researching on the internet’.

These shifting meanings can be highly confusing to someone entering a new field. For example, on a similar theme, I once worked around Notting Hill in West London as a Carpenter / Handyman. I would place postcards in shop windows to advertise my services, which included making fitted wardrobes in peoples’ houses and flats. I noticed on my viewing of the windows that there were quite a few adverts offering ‘TV Wardrobes’ and put this clever incorporation of electrical viewing devices into storage spaces down to the premium price of property and space in London.

I was just about to start placing my own adverts to make ‘TV wardrobes’ since there seemed to be a definite market when my older and more street savvy cousin told me what a ‘TV wardrobe’ actually is – the cast-off clothing collection of a transvestite. Obvious, you might think, Oh wise one, but only if you know! This new knowledge certainly made me a little wary when someone invited me round for a ‘TV dinner’.

OK this is a digression but does illustrate a point – another example of which is the key concept of ‘sustainability’. In ecological / economy terms ‘sustainability’ (as used in the 1987 Brundtland Report) means ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. Another definition is: ‘improving the quality of human life while living quietly within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems’.

The use of the term ‘sustainability’ today is often corrupted, even by supposedly mainstream politicians, to ‘something we can keep going’ in general business terms – hence almost ‘hiding’ the developed meaning. This process of popularisation / corruption of word meanings (aka ‘dumbing down’) is one reason why we need to redefine green concepts and reach for new meanings and ideas in new words.

It will be interesting to see how the meaning of ‘resilience’ shifts over time and according to the context in which it is used. It is particularly abstract concepts that demonstrate how the meanings of words reside not in the words themselves, but in the people who use them and their context. In grdeen terms it relates to the ability to ‘bounce back’ after eg a climate change event or the like.

So below is a selection from the top ten returns of Google on ‘resilience’, which reflect some of the concepts in modern parlance. Please enjoy these while I go and try on my new dress !

“RESILIENCE.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009.

Merriam-Webster Online. 25 November 2009.

Main Entry: re·sil·ience
Pronunciation: \ri-‘zil-y?n(t)s\
Function: noun
Date: 1824

1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Resilience: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Resilience is the property of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered. In other words, it is the maximum energy per unit volume that can be elastically stored. It is represented by the area under the curve in the elastic region in the Stress-Strain diagram.

An example of a biomaterial which has a high resilience is articular cartilage, the substance lining the ends of bones in articulating joints such as the knee and hip.

Psychological Resilience

Resilience in psychology is the positive capacity of people to cope with stress and catastrophe. It also includes the ability to bounce back to homeostasis after a disruption. Thirdly, it can be used to indicate having an adaptive system that uses exposure to stress to provide resistance to future negative events[1]. In this sense “resilience” corresponds to cumulative “protective factors” and is used in opposition to cumulative “risk factors”. The phrase “risk and resilience”‘ in this area of study is quite common. Commonly used terms, which are closely related within psychology, are “resilience”, “psychological resilience”, “emotional resilience”, “hardiness”, “resourcefulness”, and “mental toughness”. This focus on indivIdual capacity had evolved for a multilevel perspective.[2] The focus in research also shifted from “protective factors” toward protective “processes”; trying to understand how different factors are involved[3]

Resilience – American Psychological Association

How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness, terrorist attacks and other traumatic events: these are all examples of very challenging life experiences. Many people react to such circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty.

Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps.

This brochure is intended to help readers with taking their own road to resilience. The information within describes resilience and some factors that affect how people deal with hardship. Much of the brochure focuses on developing and using a personal strategy for enhancing resilience.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience. One example is the response of many Americans to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and individuals’ efforts to rebuild their lives.

Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.

Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

Download complete brochure in PDF format at: [right click and save on PC]

Resilience – World of Warcraft site

Resilience is a character attribute that reduces the chance to receive critical strikes or spell critical strikes, reduces the effect of mana drain spells, reduces the damage taken from critical strikes and spell critical strikes, and reduces the damage taken from players overall.

Characters have no innate resilience. It can only be gained through external sources, e.g. equipment, elixirs, enchantments, gems, and some spell effects that grant resilience rating. Many items and recipes that grant resilience rating are PvP rewards.

Resilience was introduced with the TBC Burning Crusade expansion as part of the new combat rating system. Previously, no such resilience mechanic existed — as a result, resilience rating only appears on items available to players over level 60, with some rare exceptions.

Welcome to UK Resilience – UK government

The Government’s aim is to reduce the risk from emergencies so that people can go about their business freely and with confidence. This website exists to provide a resource for civil protection practitioners, supporting the work which goes on across the United Kingdom to improve emergency preparedness.

Latest on UK Resilience

The second edition of Emergency Response and Recovery has now been launched.

Swine Flu

To find the latest information on the ongoing Swine Flu outbreak, please go to the Department of Health website.

For a range of information on pandemic flu, including guidance and plans, please go here: Human Flu Pandemic section. This may be of interest in light of the current Swine Flu outbreak.

Emergency Preparedness

The Emergency Preparedness section has advice for practitioners on the pre-emergency phase, with generic material on key frameworks like the Civil Contingencies Act and disciplines like Risk Assessment and Business Continuity, it also contains details of the UK Government Capabilities Programme and a section on Resilient Telecommunications.

Emergency Response & Recovery

The Emergency Response & Recovery section has advice for practitioners on the post-emergency phase, with generic material on key frameworks such as the UK Central Government Concept of Operations (CONOPS) [PDF, 26 pages, 376KB] and Lead Government Department principle, and the National Recovery Guidance. It also contains details of the Central Government Emergency Response Training course.


The Emergencies section has specific assessments and guidance in relation to the broad classes of emergency which our risk framework has identified.

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat section has background information on CCS, explaining our purpose, structures and key partnerships and the Resilience Gateway.

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