In light of the numerous record-breaking droughts, floods and extreme weather events that have filled headlines this past year, we’d like focus briefly on the issue of “resiliency.” This oft-mentioned term is lucidly defined by Col. Mark Mykleby, USMC (ret.) as “the capacity to take a gut punch and come back swinging.” In other words, resiliency is not simply about the ability to withstand one event, but also the ability to bounce back after the event, and be prepared to weather another.
As the rains begin to fall on the sun-parched soil, and flood waters begin to recede, the issue of resiliency deserves more attention, as it is at the very center of the nexus between climate change and security.
Below are a handful of case studies we’ve gathered from the twittersphere that highlight the urgency and complexity of developing resiliency and increasing security in the face of climate change. As you’ll notice, time is a critical variable in all of the examples, both in terms of how quickly an event materializes, and how long it takes to respond and recover.
- Has enough has been done to recover from previous floods to withstand future floods? (Oxfordshire, England)
- What are the long-term impacts of forest fires on watersheds? (Colorado, USA)
- Can a major drought permanently shift livelihoods? (Texas, USA)
- How do you adequately warn communities of unusual flood conditions when traditional coping strategies are no longer sufficient to withstand changing risks? (Chittagong, Bangladesh)
- Heatwaves linked to extreme and rapid loss of diversity to marine ecosystems – what are the ecological and societal effects of that loss? (Australia)
- Another drought just one year after a major famine – can a comprehensive famine response be maintained? (Somalia)
- What does failure of government mean for irrigation systems? (Sindhupalchowk, Nepal)
- Can we predict when tipping points/ critical transitions are on the horizon? (Earth)