RESILIENCE-UK defines human resilience as:

“the ability of social systems and their component parts, such as infrastructure and ecosystem services, to anticipate, absorb, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a shock or stress in a timely and efficient manner”.

Planning for resilience takes an ecological view of survival, creativity and community that extends back well before the oil age, and will, if we survive, extend well into the future. As a model of the evolution of individualism it rejects a belief that only wealth can bring resilience.

At a technical level there are two kinds of resilience plans depending on whether the aim is to address acute or chronic factors that influence the ability of socienty to cope with change. The kinds of distsurbances addressed by both types of plan are exemplified by financial crises, conflict and the obstacles to accessing food, water, shelter and basic services. At a personal level the ability to cope with change is governed by the following day-to-day expressions of personal resililence:

  • Morality
  • Creativity
  • Spontaneity
  • Problem solving
  • Lack of prejudice
  • Acceptance of facts

  • Confidence
  • Achievement
  • Respect of others
  • Respect by others

  • Friendship
  • Family
  • Sexual bonding
  • Sense of place

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Food
  • Clean air
  • Sleep
  • Employment
  • Health
  • Property ownership

All these personal needs may be interrelated and this indicates that there are are many social starting points from which to develop resilience plans. For example, regarding the shock of poverty, a resilience plan would bring together different factors that have the same or similar relationships to poverty – those that are both experienced sporadically and create obstacles to poverty reduction, or have the potential to impoverish.

Planning for resilience from a more general view could begin with a class of developmental disrupters bringing together actions to reduce the impacts of climate change, such as food shortage, conflict, violence, and the environmental degradation of biodiversity and/or soil.. Taking a another viewpoint, the topic of food security could productively be linked with actions to reduce hunger and poverty. Other development disruptors, like ‘inequality’, might find a more coherent planning home with social justice, security and human rights issues. Yet again, factors classed as ‘development disruptors’ could neatly sit alongside actions to promote ‘development facilitators’, each supporting goals for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.