It’s easy to get frustrated and depressed about the condition of our world. Don’t fall for that trap. Embrace resilience. Once you do, you’ll realize time is on our side. No matter what the crisis, it will pass. Resilient systems will survive, non-resilient systems won’t.
People often come to Meadowcreek or come up after one of our resilience talks or workshops and ask: what are the best articles or books on resilience? If we had to name one it would be W. C. Lowdermilk’s classic Conquest of the Land through Seven Thousand Years.
This book resulted from the creation of the Soil Conservation Service, now know as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). This agency resulted from Hugh Hammond Bennett’s adroit lobbying, the timely clouds of black soil sweeping over Washington D.C. from the hundred million acre Dust Bowl, and the responsiveness of the administration of FDR and Henry Wallace.
Many nations have never had such a confluence of events and the destruction of their soils and capacity for resilience are still diminishing. Go to any of dozens of African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries and experience the dust clouds and barren landscapes and be glad you live in a more resilient society.
Lowdermilk’s classic was used by thousands of teachers across the United States to instill basic awareness of the lack of resilience of nearly all agricultural systems man has historically used. Many elementary students are still taught yearly about contour plowing, strip cropping, windbreaks, cover crops, and a host of other practices to increase resilience by stopping soil erosion and building soil health.
Traveling the country today, you can see many situations where these lessons are no longer in evidence. In pursuit of quick profits, many farmers ignore what they learned in elementary school.
But this too shall pass. Non-resilient farms, communities and nations will die. The resilient will survive and build new systems even more resilient than any we have known in the past. It’s possible that our entire species may disappear (as dinosaurs and innumerable other species have) and let other, more resilient species take over the mantle of managers of the planet.
Far more likely is that non-resilient nations, societies and communities will collapse, perhaps slowly, while resilient communities survive and thrive. Some of us will survive and some of us won’t
So don’t get depressed or frustrated, get out and act to create more resilient systems where you live.We’ve got lots of tips to get you started in our book: Roots of Resilience.