Building Resilience 36.2

Published: March 2010

A Boeing 777 has approximately 150,000 subsystems, although under ideal conditions only a few hundred are needed. If it crashed, its 400 passengers and flight crew might perish.

When Canada’s cod fishery collapsed, it put 40,000 people out of work, devastated a $500-million-per-year industry and killed countless fish.

The US deficit hit $1.6-trillion in February.

Imagine if we built similar failsafe conditions into our ecological and economic systems as we did into our airplanes. In Building Resilience, we explore the need to factor resilience into how we manage our social-ecological systems so that they can rebound from a good wallop.

 Read selected articles and web extras from this issue

Here's what else you get when you buy the issue:

In Brief: 36.2 

Biodiversity 2010, climate change and children, a farmer's ecovillage

Letters to the Editor: 36.2

Footprint in Mouth

The Hardcore Guide to Resilience - George Francis
With many social and ecological systems on the brink of collapse, resilience theory seeks to understand and cope with future disasters. 10 Carden After the Fire

Bank with a Conscience - Taarini Chopra
After 30 years, the Grameen Bank has empowered over seven million borrowers.

The Pollinators - Laura Judson
It took the threat of a court injunction to prevent the City of Ottawa from mowing down the Jones’ bee-friendly lawn.

Size Isn't Everything - Emily McGiffin
With chronic shortages and climate change straining the global food system, plant breeders are heading back to the farm.

A Spoonful of Resilience - Karen Morrison and David Waltner-Toews
Our stressed health care system demands immediate treatment. In Praise of Redundancy

Reality & Politics in 2009
Our 2009 year in review.

In Review: City Limits - Gord Perks
"The Carbon Charter" by Godo Stoyke is reviewed by Gord Perks.

In Review: Food Incorporated - Elbert van Donkersgoed
"Corporate Power In Global Agrifood Governance" by Jennifer Clapp and Doris Fuchs (eds.) is reviewed by Elbert van Donkersgoed.

Publication of this issue was made possible by The Gosling Foundation; The Salamander Foundation; and the support from our many subscribers. We acknowledge the financial support of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (; EJLB Foundation; Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation; The McLean Foundation; Ontario Media Development Corporation; Ontario Trillium Foundation; Ontario Work Study Plan. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) of the Department of Canadian Heritage toward our project costs. The support of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Environmental Studies Endowment Foundation is appreciated.'

Here's what's online:

Alternatives Journal issue cover – Building Resilience 36.2
Full article available online
In this engaging interview with executive editor Nicola Ross, Buzz Holling applies his ecological theories to climate change, the economy and the fall of the Mayan empire.