Development is faced with significant challenges in rethinking about resilient futures amid global environmental change. In particular climate change has major consequences for governance and vulnerable livelihoods. It poses challenges to the management of extreme events and exacerbates existing problems of water scarcity and degradation of natural resources. This lecture series is concerned with these consequences. Most importantly global environmental change has implications for the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the globe. Uncertainty surrounds the environmental stresses that interact with human vulnerability, and the knock on effect on extreme poverty. Against this backdrop we see increasing attention paid to resilient development and to policy strategies that include mitigation and adaptation to climate change. These actions have yet to demonstrate their benefits in tackling the stress and poverty dimensions of global uncertainty. For example, mitigation schemes through the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanisms are often criticized for their failures of governance. The design of such schemes only provides benefit to single market actors while marginalizing a multitude of local actors, in particular the poorest. Meanwhile poorer communities reliant on natural resources for their livelihood are often locked into national policies, incentives and processes that continue to exacerbate the degradation of these resources. Similarly, adaptation interventions in response to climate change provide limited insights into how people should manage the interaction between ‘surprise’ events, such as flooding or cyclones, and human vulnerability. The question is whether there a trade-off between adapting/mitigating climate change and development? ‘Resilience’ has come to mean many things to many people and has raised strong opposition by some to the idea that it is possible to identify a desirable point at which societies could agree to stabilize emissions, deforestation or overfishing. In a world that is unpredictable and is marked by vulnerability and risk, people remain poor, marginalized, discriminated against and dependent on powerful elites. Yet, global environmental change offers the opportunity to rethink the way societies manage and govern ecosystems for human wellbeing. Perhaps resilience can help scholars and practitioners to understand better how societies can continue to develop under the stresses posed by global environmental change?

Term(s) offered: Term information not available at this time.
Credit: 3.0
General Education: III B 4