I was thinking about this word today as I listened to Russell Wilson talk about how the Seattle Seahawks stayed strong and resilient even when they faced a 31-0 halftime deficit in the NFC Playoff game today. We all know that they came up just short and lost the game but they certainly showed the world they are indeed a resilient team. They took a huge hit from the Carolina Panthers and almost overcame it and won (just wish we could have had one more minute of time!) The Seattle Seahawks are built from the ground up to be a resilient team.
The reason this word resonated with me is because of a book I have read on climate change called “Big World, Small Planet” by Johan Rockstrom and Mattias Klum. In this outstanding book on climate change, I learned something about our planets social-ecological systems ability to be resilient. We have been fortunate for some time now to have a very resilient planet that is able to take a hit, such as a drought or financial crisis and still “remain standing”.
Just like the Seattle Seahawks, there is no guarantee that we will always be able to enjoy this resilience capability. For our planet, the loss of resilience is a very, very bad thing because when you lose your resilience you eventually end up with a permanent state shift. If disease, drought or flood hits a system with low resilience then you can end up in a new permanent state that is not where we would want to be (e.g. the release of methane from thawing permafrost, or melting ice lowering the planet’s reflectivity of incoming solar radiation).
During our walk on the Camino, we saw a young woman named Jacqueline, from Australia that showed the incredible resilience of youth. She was about halfway through the Camino when we first met her as she hobbled into our Albergue. Jacqueline had a terrible case of “shin splints” and was in a lot of pain when she walked. Jacqueline turned out to a very resilient young lady. She took time to rest and get some treatment and slowed way down. Jacqueline found her health again in a few weeks and when we saw her at the end of the walk in Santiago de Compostela, she was bounding around full of energy with no apparent effect from her “shin splints” hit.
Resilience. Let’s all be thankful for it and I pray we never lose our planet’s social-ecological system resilience.
P.S. If you get a chance I highly recommending reading “Big World, Small Planet”!
Photography of the Week
I took this image during a fall hike to Goat Lake (Mountain Loop Hwy). This image makes me laugh every time I see it. This cedar tree is certainly resilient!