Resiliency vs. Sustainability

August 6, 2020

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Solar panels. Manitoba resilient Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

What is relationship between resiliency and sustainability?

Let’s start off by addressing a common question:

Is ‘resiliency’ simply replacing ‘sustainability’ when it comes to our economic development planning? Have we given up on sustainability and decided we must be “resilient” instead?

The answer is NO.

So, where do resiliency and sustainability meet?

Resiliency can be understood as nested within sustainability. As we work to create more sustainable regions, we must also anticipate that unexpected events will occur and we must be able to move forward in face of the unforeseen.

Anticipate and expect that the unforeseen will occur, and be “okay” with this = Resiliency

Continually working to create more sustainable regions across sectors = Sustainability

Resiliency is a systems approach.

Systems approaches identify that we do not live in isolation. We are an interconnected system with feedback loops—from the local to the global—and a shock to any area has ripple-down effects that are felt further afield.

Sustainability may help us mitigate the amount or strength of shocks and pressures by changing our systems for overall long-term benefit.

Resiliency, then, helps us weather shocks and strains en route to being sustainable. Sustainability is still the goal. Resiliency says we do not exist in isolation.

A sustainable region is also a resilient one.

But independently resilient areas are not sustainable, nor will they always be able to be resilient.

Sustainability and resilience tend to use a lot of the same techniques. That is to say that many of the things that improve quality of life and reduce environmental impacts also tend to make a region more resilient.

For example: let’s take solar panels.

Solar panels. Manitoba. Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.

Solar panels and energy-efficient technology reduce environmental impacts, which make a city more resilient to global energy shocks and supply chain disruptions.

So, now that we understand that a little better, we’re ready for next week’s blog on the two types of hazards that are impacting Manitoba’s resilience.


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