Why resilience?


Ruth Wolstenholme photoRuth Wolstenholmeruth@sniffer.org.uk

Is it just a buzz word for tackling hard times, about our ability to spring back into shape or recover quickly from difficulties?

We will help make the map for a resilient ScotlandSniffer MD Ruth Wolstenholme on what Sniffer's focus on resilience means.

We often think of resilience from an economic perspective, focussing on how we address resource constraints and efficiency savings. Resilience is much more than that. Being part of a resilient society is about finding ways to connect, cooperate and share responsibility. 

The challenges society faces today are are not the same as the ones we faced yesterday. We live in an increasingly complex, connected and interdependent world. Resilience is what makes individuals, organisations, communities and businesses successful.

One of our biggest challenges is how we address climate change. In Scotland, there is huge effort and support for progressing towards a resilient low carbon society and economy.  Driven by ambitious targets, for many the focus is on reducing green house gas emissions and reducing carbon footprints.  Meanwhile, dealing with the now - many have been affected by a range of weather related impacts, especially flooding. Current best available climate change projections tell us to expect more frequent and intense weather events.  Scotland is busy adapting to the challenges of climate impacts.   

These are not two separate agendas. It is one challenge underpinned by the need to do things differently if we are to attain a better future, a future in which we also reduce social inequalities and increase wellbeing rather than focus soley on prosperity as measured by GDP. 

Responding to these grand challenges and becoming more resilient is not about bouncing back but bouncing beyond, to quote Tony Hodgson. 

So, resilience seems just the quality we need a lot more of. But how do we cultivate and nurture it? And where do we find the seeds to sow in the first place?

The resilience of people and communities, places, organisations and businesses needs to be built by looking at the way we live, work and play.  There is no single map.  Sharing our knowledge and joining agendas will be key.

It’s not just about tools and techniques. By aiming for resilience we create opportunity for doing new things, for innovation and for development.  It’s about being smart and it’s about working with our hearts. It’s about inspiring and co-creating solutions. 

Knowledge brokering for the 21st century needs to move beyond simplistic exchanges of information, and move towards exchanging real insight, experience and wisdom.  We need to be brave enough to discuss the values and beliefs that drive what we do, including within the policy and practitioner arenas that shape our society.

As Sniffer moves from a historical role of provider of information to an active broker of knowledge and changemaker, we increasingly work with organisations and communities of practice. We are excited by the prospect of contributing towards a more resilient Scotland.

Of course we are only one part of the jigsaw. Here are some of the thoughts that are inspiring me at the moment, from how UK politicians can stimulate the green economy to engaging communities to take responsibility for their own environment:

Don’t turn off the future

Climate adapting neighbourhoods

Pride in place: Tackling incivilities

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