Social-ecological resilience: An approach to navigating towards more sustainable and just futures in the Anthropocene

Professor Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs from Stellenbosch University will present the Biological Sciences seminar with a talk entitled, "Social-ecological resilience: An approach to navigating towards more sustainable and just futures in the Anthropocene">

Social-ecological resilience: An approach to navigating towards more sustainable and just futures in the Anthropocene

We live in the Anthropocene, a new geological era where the increasing scale, speed and connectivity of human activities are profoundly changing the functioning of the Earth. The economic, political and cultural processes underlying these changes are also leading to growing social inequalities and the breakdown of traditional relations that can provide support and meaning in people’s lives. At the same time, they are also creating a variety of social innovations and technological developments, which are opening up exciting opportunities for addressing these challenges. Resilience is a key concept and approach that has emerged for navigating the novel and turbulent conditions of the Anthropocene, and fostering transformations toward more sustainable and just development pathways. Resilience refers to the capacity to navigate change and uncertainty through investing in systemic features such as diversity, connectivity, and learning. One innovative example of applying a resilience approach is the "Seeds of Good Anthropocenes" project (https://goodanthropocenes.net), which is cataloguing a wide variety of “seeds” - real initiatives that demonstrate elements of a positive future. Using these seeds, a suite of provocative alternative visions for “Good Anthropocenes” have been developed through a novel participatory visioning approach. This presentation briefly introduces the concept of the Anthropocene and resilience as a strategy for building systemic capacity to navigate change and uncertainty, including managing potential tipping points and regime shifts. It then illustrates how the resilience approach is being applied in the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes project to identify candidate actions that have the potential to leverage deep systemic change towards more positive futures.

Bio

Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs holds the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Social-Ecological Systems and Resilience, and is an NRF p-rated scientist. She is based in the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at Stellenbosch University, and is also affiliated with the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden. She currently co-chairs the Science Committee of the international Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), leads the Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (SAPECS), and serves on the South African Global Change Science Committee, the Board of Directors of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Sweden, the scientific board of the international Resilience Alliance, and was a coordinating lead author for the recent Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment.

Wed, 24 Jul 2019 - 13:00
Venue: 

Niven Library, Biological Sciences Building, Upper Campus UCT

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