Understanding resilience

In our daily lives we consume goods and services which we expect to be available, even when there are pressures on the system such as snowstorms, torrential rain and accidents.
Examples which we use daily are electricity for heating and lighting, money or credit cards when we buy food and other goods for our survival, and transport for commuting to and from work. All of these goods and services are transported in some way from where they are created to where they are consumed. We have chosen to describe and work with these transports as flows of goods, services, money, people, energy and information. All of us are dependent on these floods functioning and being resilient.

Resilience is the ability to predict, withstand and recover from disturbances and societal pressures.

Example: From tin can to plastic card.
Is there always food on the table? Much has changed from the days of tin cans and emergency stockpiles. Both have nearly disappeared. We consume more and more fresh goods, and less preserved and frozen food. Most families shop several times a week. In the modern kitchen, storage space and pantries have been exchanged for kitchen islands and spaces for socialising. What is in the stores is what is there until the next delivery. Logistics have to work and so must the payment system. More people live cash free and pay by credit card.

At the same time, our government agencies expect that we citizens can manage on our own, but who has an emergency stockpile at home? Who can manage a week without shopping? How do we make our food security resilient?

In fall 2013, Resilient Regions arranged a conference “From tin can to plastic card” on food security in Sweden. The question in the air was who is responsible for it working? The answer was no-one or everyone. In order to have food on our tables, we must be able to pay with our plastic cards, the logistics and the transport to stores must work and there has to be electricity for all our modern technology.