Exploring Community Resilience: next steps

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Exploring Community Resilience: next steps

This group builds on the publication of 'Exploring Community Resilience'.

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Members: 96
Latest Activity: Apr 20, 2013

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Measuring the Resiliance of Community Groups 2 Replies

Hi All,Based on some of the information I have read here at Fiery Spirits I have been looking at ways to measure the resilience of community groups. I am working on this because resilient community groups are an important part of having a resilient…Continue

Started by Bryan Precious. Last reply by Bryan Precious Nov 26, 2012.

Community Resilience: update and some thoughts

I've today been looking at some articles and resources on community resilience that are new - and that folk have flagged up since we wrote up 'exploring community resilience' last year, in particular from Australia and New Zealand which seems a…Continue

Started by Nick Wilding May 22, 2012.

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Comment by Mark Langdon on October 12, 2009 at 9:38
Good morning all -this is my first posting many thanks to all contributors as it's a delight to partake in such an insightful and vital debate. Ian thanks for your last posting it makes perfect sense to me - we see the law of unintended consequences in action around us every day!
I am particularly interested in how new paradigm thinking or H3 thinking as defined by the International Future Forum can start to gain greater influence in strategic and policy circles and build upon it's areas of strength which I believe lie in communities and NGO's where this type of thinking it more widely espoused and enacted.

I am currenlty part of a Community Development Leadership course run by the British Council, I head off to Palestine on Friday for the seccond module of the course and would be keen to share learning with the other 30 participants of the course from across Scotland and link that work to the Fiery Spirits network and in particular our Resilience group. I think in the medium to long term how we train new leaders espiecially those in the community will massively influence our ability to adapt to the none consumption driven communities we must become. In the mean time in answer to Ian's point about influencing how decisions are made within the current paradigm I think that the work of Ron Colman on the Geniune Progress Index in Canada is something we should be promoting for use in he UK. It allows policy makers to see the big picture and be aware of medium to long term impacts of policies. Do we have the New Economics Foundation as part of our group?
Comment by Ian Jones on October 12, 2009 at 6:58
Osbert you are correct in that most of the people I am working with want to perpetuate the functions we currently have and do not want to really look for deeper cultural changes in their practice. At meetings I have mentioned a number of times the problem of the 'Law of Unintended Consequences' but with little response. For example local authorities in England are now establishing baselines for their Carbon Reduction Commitment. I have a fear that our local authority will start to look at closing small schools as they might well consider them too costly too to implement energy conservation measures. They will do this by only looking within their own boundary at an outcome to meet a one dimensional target. They will not be looking at the other impacts of their decisions only on carbon reduction within their own stock.

The function I am thinking about is the function to live within environmental means and develop creative interactions with others using limited material resources, actions that do not adversely impact on others or the wellbeing of future generations, Brundtland but with the emphasis on real needs and not wants. I think this is where Camille and Justin's ethical position comes in. My personal approach is underpinned by an understanding of complex systems and emergence. I have said at many strategic meetings that the major problem we have is sitting around the table at that moment. Each functional head is driven by their own game playing practice in order to secure maximum resources for themselves. They do not look at relationships and what emerges from the interactions within the system. (I hope that makes sense!).
Comment by Justin Kenrick on October 10, 2009 at 11:21
SAME POST AS IMMEDIATELY BELOW but with a missing 'to' inserted in last line!

Camille, sorry that my post was close to incomprehensible (I was too busy thinking the issue through as I wrote, so didn't pay attention to communication!) but I like your distinction between ethical resilience and non ethical resilience: between an ethical resilience based on recognising that we are completely dependent on the relations that sustain us, and a non ethical resilience in which we are persuaded to base our sense of security on a system designed to exploit those relations. This links to what Osbert is saying here, but also to Ian's point about the need to maintain our resilience (our ability to remain open, and creatively respond, to others?) without being appropriated.
Comment by Justin Kenrick on October 10, 2009 at 11:20
Camille, sorry that my post was close to incomprehensible (I was too busy thinking the issue through as I wrote, so didn't pay attention to communication!) but I like your distinction between ethical resilience and non ethical resilience: between an ethical resilience based on recognising that we are completely dependent on the relations that sustain us, and a non ethical resilience in which we are persuaded to base our sense of security on a system designed to exploit those relations. This links to what Osbert is saying here, but also to Ian's point about the need to maintain our resilience (our ability to remain open, and creatively respond, others?) without being appropriated.
Comment by Osbert Lancaster on October 9, 2009 at 17:26
Ian Jones, in his last but one comment, wrote:
==
the definition [of resilience] we might be using is the following one from Gunderson et al.

‘the capacity to absorb shocks while maintaining function. When change occurs, resilience provides the components for renewal and reorganisation’ .
===

Isn't this the crux of this discussion, picked up by Camille, Justin and others:

"the capacity to absorb shocks while maintaining function" the function of WHAT?

As an example, in terms therefore of 'developing resilient climate change policies', there's surely a danger that we get oxymoronic policies that "ensure the capacity [of system that is destructive in multiple ways - climate, food, poverty, water, biodiversity, renewable and non-renewable resources etc] to absorb [climate change] shocks, while maintaining its function [to destroy other resources]?'

Not suggesting this is your take at all - and hopefully your committee is alive to this difficulty. This potential danger is the familiar one of a useful concept (like sustainability) being adopted and used without taking a holistic view. Which demonstrates the resilience of the non-holistic view...
Comment by Ian Jones on October 9, 2009 at 14:32
Jess Steel (Osbert's link) is right I run a charity and I am also a Trustee of a Voluntary Sector Forum. The public sector seems to forever be trying to manipulate us to address their own institutional wants and not to tackle community needs.

At a meeting last month a CLG civil servant said to me, 'The problem with the Thirds Sector is that it is too amorphous and we are finding it difficult to engage, you should structure yourself like us.'

I of course replied, 'Why? Do you want us to fail as well?!'

We are having more success at the local level with our Strategic Partnership, it is exhausting but progress is being made. The key is not more formal structures and a rationalisation of interfaces but stronger and more trusting connections at the coal face. We need to create fuzzy boundaries that strengthen interactions but still retain accountabilities.

To take what Anthony said below its not just business that is anti-resilient but all our functional services are going that way. It is managerialism gone mad. I have just come from a meeting on 'localism' with the Council and they are still focusing on their own member accountability and also what they are going to do with their diminishing resources. They should be focusing on building relationships within and across communities of place and practice and not just looking at shrinking their own fragile links.
Comment by Osbert Lancaster on October 9, 2009 at 13:52
Frantically busy for a while so not engaged properly here recently, but while getting my weekly dose of down to earth inspiration from the SENScot newsletter, I read this: http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=8722 about the obsession of govts with a 'Single Interface' for engagement - and why they will fail.

Doesn't mention resilience but a clear demonstration how governments are rejecting diversity, which resilience requires.
Comment by Anthony Hodgson on October 9, 2009 at 12:06
This understanding is critical. There is also the 'just-in-time' economic system where stocks are minimised. This destroys the resilience premium which is taken as profit. The whole competitive structure of business is anti-resilient! Can we reframe to compete on resilience criteria?
Comment by Ian Jones on October 9, 2009 at 9:25
I am involved in a Ministerial Task Force looking at Climate Change and Sustainable Development. It can be quite frustrating with many people still wanting to control nationally what is required at a local level. We are of course looking at resilience and the definition we might be using is the following one from Gunderson et al.

‘the capacity to absorb shocks while maintaining function. When change occurs, resilience provides the components for renewal and reorganisation’ .1

If you have not read the work around panarchy please do as it outlines one of the problems we have in our socioeconomic system with efficiencies and fragile networks. We have established such a complex weave of dependencies that they are now very prone to disruption due to the increasing global problems we are facing. The solution can not be centralised control but building capacity and space at the local level. At the moment we are driven by efficiencies and not resilience.

1Gunderson LH and Holling CS. editors. 2002. Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. Island Press, Washington, DC. Berkes F, Colding J and Folke C, editors. 2002. Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Comment by Camille Dressler on October 8, 2009 at 22:03
woops, pushed the button too soon, should read:

Non-ethical resilience would be when network/organisation/system uses its strength to exploit others for the benefits of some, whereas ethical resilience would be when it benefits all, or at least benefits some without harming others....
 

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