Resilience, a concept basic to ecological systems theory and permaculture design, is also a staple of the Transition movement. Essentially, it describes how a robust system, whether human-made or natural, can handle shocks without being destroyed. In a forest, an example of a shock could be a series of drought years. Shocks we are facing as human communities include peak oil and climate change.
To be resilient locally, we must break our over-dependence on the declining resource of fossil fuels, and re-build local resources, skills, and community connections similar to, or better than those that existed prior to the era of cheap energy.
Here is a list of possible indicators for local resilience (not intended to be definitive or complete):
- Percentage of food consumed locally that was produced within a given radius
- Ratio of car parking space to productive land use
- Amount of traffic on local roads
- Degree of engagement in practical relocalization work by local community
- Number of businesses owned by local people
- Percentage of local trade carried out in local currency
- Proportion of the community employed locally
- Percentage of essential goods manufactured within a given radius
- Percentage of local building materials used in new housing developments
- Number of 16-year-olds able to grow 10 different varieties of vegetables to a given degree of basic competency
- Percentage of medicines prescribed locally that have been produced within a given radius
Resilience is also something you can take steps towards as an individual or family, starting now. Read Chris Martenson's take on that rewarding pursuit here.