First Rule of Hole

First Rule of Hole: ‘When you’re in a hole, stop digging’ or somethings are not worth keeping the same and transformation is required.

Dr Brian Walker, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Author “Resilience Thinking, Sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world” gave a most excellent presentation on Resilience Theory on Radio National. Thanks to podcasting I just caught up with this program from January. Take home messages:

Four stages of ecosystem development:

  1. rapid growth
  2. rigid conservation – impossible to insert new things, species, ideas – runs close to threshold (death) state
  3. small change of b – collapse or release phase
  4. and then organisation and renewal phase – innovation.

You can know when there is a looming collapse phase when there is reduced efficiency, increased command and control, more rules, novelty is suppressed, increased emphasis on partial solutions.

Transformation requires visionary people, leadership, strong social capital (people working together), support for novelty and innovation, help from higher scales (scales = micro, macro and betweens).

Resilence thinking = maintaining and enhancing transformability for when it is needed by understanding the thresholds, what changes are influencing resilience, and embracing the uncertainty. This will improve our well-being.

A resilient world might look like:

  1. Diversity in biological and social systems,
  2. Restrict human control over ecological variability;
  3. Modular – over connected systems less susceptible to shocks;
  4. Learning, networks,
  5. Innovative
  6. Tight feedbacks
  7. Policy about slowly changing variables assoc with threshold
  8. Mix pr and public property
  9. Adaptive governance and overlapping institutions
  10. Low resistance to change
  11. Strong awareness and responses to cross scale influences
  12. Not top down command and control policy and management
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