Building resilience to the impacts of climate change

by Don Marshall

When I first became interested in Sustainability as an issue for the world, I was convinced that I and all the other interested “environmentalists” would, in time, be able to change the track of what was happening.  So I did everything I could to change systems, habits, and my personal perspective.  And I worked to help others see the need for the changes.  I think we made some difference.

But as we now know and are informed from various sources, the effort to preserve our environment is failing.  Our environment is rapidly deteriorating.  It is no longer an issue of mitigating the problems so that we can maintain “sustainability” in our world.  We now need to consider how we are going to adapt to the changes that are coming.

The committee within the Suzuki Elders that I have been working with (Education and Community Engagement Working Group) held two Salons earlier this year specifically looking at the role that emotions, in particular grief, had in our work as Elders.  These Salons generated a significant amount of interest leading to the formation of a sub –committee to investigate how we would proceed with educating ourselves further about this subject.

The sub-committee has arrived at an awareness that the subject is much broader than first imagined and we now have a vision of what the work forward should be:  Suzuki Elders aim to play an active role in building resilience to the psycho-social impacts of climate disruption among ourselves and our communities.  Inherent in being resilient is being adaptable, thinking ahead and working so that results will be preventative.  Many organizations are aware that the promotion of resilience is core to being able to take care of each other in our communities.  An excellent site that describes resilience can be found here.

Suzuki Elders have come together because we all want to do something to help the environment.  We are passionate about this in that many of us are grand-parents and have strong feelings of compassion for our children and their future.

Shortly, we will publish a paper that will include the goals we have set, objectives that will carry out some of the goals, and a library of articles and relevant web sites.  More workshops will undoubtedly be part of our work.

I would also refer you to a recent piece written by Dave Pollard who lives on Bowen Island.  It says it all for me.

Your feedback is welcome at:




  1. I think Dave Pollard hits it on the head. He has done all the “saving” – thought deeply and now realizes what truly matters. I salute him – he has jumped into true reality.

  2. I adamantly disagree with Dave Pollard’s position. It is true that we are facing imminent economic and ecological collapse. It is true that life on this planet will be very different in the next 50-100 years. But to say there is nothing else we can do other than to prepare, adapt, love and heal is to provide an excuse for inaction.

    We must continue to fight for what is important. We must provide a balanced voice against those who would destroy our planet. We must continue to work at finding solutions. We must never accept that there is nothing we can do to affect our future.

  3. We won’t know if Dave Pollard is right until more time passes. I believe strongly that we need to “do it all”. Join and support the major groups, and those putting their lives on the line, working to turn the juggernaut around, AND prepare, adapt, love and heal! Plus celebrate and share 🙂

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