In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the resulting devastation along the East Coast of the United States, the concept of resiliency is a hot topic. Are we approaching sustainability the wrong way and focusing too much on how to lower the environmental impacts of our buildings and not enough on how to respond to the impacts of the environment? Such is the question at the core of "Learning to Bounce Back," an opinion piece in TheNew York Times from Andrew Zolli, the executive director of PopTech and co-author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back.
He writes: "The sustainability regime is being quietly challenged, not from without, but from within. Among a growing number of scientists, social innovators, community leaders, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, governments and corporations, a new dialogue is emerging around a new idea, resilience: how to help vulnerable people, organizations and systems persist, perhaps even thrive, amid unforeseeable disruptions. Where sustainability aims to put the world back into balance, resilience looks for ways to manage in an imbalanced world." He later adds, "the sustainability movement’s politics, not to mention its marketing, have led to a popular misunderstanding: that a perfect, stasis-under-glass equilibrium is achievable. But the world doesn’t work that way: it exists in a constant disequilibrium—trying, failing, adapting, learning and evolving in endless cycles."