“From the political perspective risk assessment becomes a highly political process of claiming which percentage is associated with which risk, privileging specified over general resilience. The key question we felt should not be what is the proportional risk associated with which threats, but which disasters were more likely to reduce overall resilience of the system. Preparedness for and response to particular disasters involves clearly defined players and is much easier to plan for and implement than trying to avoid unspecified disasters, i.e., risk reduction. The latter is much more wide ranging and difficult yet it is most needed, in the opinion of the group. The cost of not maintaining general resilience is much harder to estimate and the cost of doing so harder to justify. This results in a tendency to focus on outputs that can be measured, as opposed to outcomes that are longer term involving complex interactions, and less easy to measure.”
Walker, B., and F. Westley. 2011. Perspectives on resilience to disasters across sectors and cultures.
Ecology and Society 16(2): 4. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss2/art4/
And, from a recent presentation on the weather we can expect in the future, Karl Braganza made the point that we shouldn’t expect to see a great deal of “weird weather” that we have never seen before, but rather much more frequent occurences of currently “unusual” weather.
It’s not the right question, he said, to ask “is this event caused by climate change?” but rather “is this consistent with what we’re likely to see a lot more of in the future?”
To me, that seems like a good heuristic…