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same roots comes the concept of socio-ecological systems, which emphasizes sustainability in terms of linked and co-constituting systems. Sustainability is sought in better linkages between social and ecological systems, not only studied in terms of one system, of ecology or economy, nature or culture. Sustainability planning and resilience policies are often seen as strategy options able to reduce the experience and impacts of ups and downs. Although resilience thinking does not require impending climate change disasters, climate change, always affecting social and ecological systems, has brought prominence to this form of thinking. Already unsustainable land use and resource exploitation looks all the more questionable if one throws climate change in the mix. Climate change served to highlight already existing problems, and it brought a possible way of looking at the problems to the fore, i.e. sustainability and resilience thinking. Sustainability thinking came up in the 1970’s, when it became clear to people beyond the circles of environmental activists that earth’s resources are limited and that we we were not making wise use of them. Since the 1987 Brundtland report, sustainability became a common concept in national and international policy talk, and in academia across disciplines. Critiques came fast, and revolved around the idea that things never stay the same. There was also the comment that sustainability was too big a concept, and at the same time too focused on resource use, to guide policy making. One early answer was to speak of social, ecological and economic sustainability, or, in more recent speech: people, profit, planet. General sustainability is then seen as the sum of social, ecological and economic sustainability, and it is understood that no sustainability policy can work without addressing all aspects. If saving trees is sustainable in an ecological sense, to stabilize a certain forest ecosystem, and people are hungry, and governments corrupt, around the forest, then trees will not be saved in reality, and even if this would happen, there are serious moral questions, questions regarding the value of well-being in the community itself. In addition, one can say that a stable and wellgoverned community is in the long run a prerequisite for any form of wise or sustainable use one can image. The idea of socio-ecological systems came in handy, because it showed how inextricably bound the different aspects of sustainability are. It highlighted how nature makes culture and culture nature. If one thinks in terms of socio-ecological systems, one can grasp that our use of resources will come back to haunt us, will trigger effects in the social system later on. It opens the door also to concept of management of socio- ecological systems towards sustainability, a form of management that has to acknowledge its limits. We cannot take too much risk with the environment, as we don’t know for sure how and when the environment will strike back, but we know it will. 164

Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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