Resilience-Based Stewardship: Strategies for Navigating Sustainable Pathways in a Changing World
Accelerated global changes in climate, environment, and social-ecological systems demand a transformation in human perceptions of our place in nature and patterns of resource use. The biology and culture of Homo sapiens evolved for about 95% of our species’ history in hunting-and-gathering societies before the emergence of settled agriculture. We have lived in complex societies for about 3%, and in industrial societies using fossil fuels for about 0.1% of our history. The pace of cultural evolution, including governance arrangements and resource-use patterns, appears insufficient to adjust to the rate and magnitude of technological innovations, human population increases, and environmental impacts that have occurred. Many of these changes are accelerating, causing unsustainable exploitation of ecosystems, including many boreal and tropical forests, drylands, and marine fisheries. The net effect has been serious degradation of the planet’s life-support system on which societal development ultimately depends (see Chapters 2 and 14).