Forget Sustainability. It???s About Resilience. – NYTimes.com

Unfortunately, the sustainability movement???s politics, not to mention its marketing, have led to a popular misunderstanding: that a perfect, stasis-under-glass equilibrium is achievable. But the world doesn???t work that way: it exists in a constant disequilibrium ??? trying, failing, adapting, learning and evolving in endless cycles. Indeed, it???s the failures, when properly understood, that create the context for learning and growth. That???s why some of the most resilient places are, paradoxically, also the places that regularly experience modest disruptions: they carry the shared memory that things can go wrong.

???Resilience??? takes this as a given and is commensurately humble. It doesn???t propose a single, fixed future. It assumes we don???t know exactly how things will unfold, that we???ll be surprised, that we???ll make mistakes along the way. It???s also open to learning from the extraordinary and widespread resilience of the natural world, including its human inhabitants, something that, counterintuitively, many proponents of sustainability have ignored.

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