Tag Archives: Sverker Sörlin

Weaving ‘Protective stories’ to secure urban green areas

Henrik Ernstson and Sverker Sörlin‘s article Weaving protective stories: connective practices to articulate holistic values in the Stockholm National Urban Park, (2009 Environment and Planning A).  Is described in a Stockholm Resilience Centre press release ‘Protective stories´ help secure urban green areas:

Despite strong exploitation pressure, a diverse urban movement of civil society organizations in Stockholm has managed to provide narratives able to explain and legitimize the need to protect urban green areas. Through ‘protective stories´ that interlaces cultural history and conservation biology, activists have managed to link areas previously considered disconnected and justifying the need for a better, overall protection of the areas.

Crucial for generating and keeping alive such narratives have been artists, authors and scientists and their artefacts like paintings, maps, buildings and scientific reports. While some artists are from the historical past, others have worked alongside the movement in producing artefacts towards articulating certain values. When re-printed in media, displayed at an exhibition, or published in a book, these artefacts — old or newly produced — also become agents in “telling the story” so as to put pressure on authorities and to change public opinon.

Such networks of activists, artefacts and social arenas do not possess any formal power, but they can nonetheless achieve a lot, both as a community of practice wielding power and knowledge but also through mobilizing yet more actors and artefacts to make the network grow. The protective story is kept alive at many places continously and simultaneously, says Ernstson.

Novelty Needed for Sustainable Development – Resilience 2008

conclusions panel resilience 2008

The Stockholm Resilience Centre has released two press releases on the conclusion of Resilience 2008.

The first Novelty thinking key to sustainable development reports on the concluding panel of the conference in which Elinor Ostrom, Sverker Sörlin, Carole Crumley, Line Gordon and Buzz Holling reflected on the conference, lessons from the past and the answers for the future.

Buzz Holling, considered the father of resilience thinking, called for freedom and flexibility in order to generate multilevel change and novelty thinking. This is needed in a time when several crises are emerging, he said.

- This year a cluster of predicted crises have become aware to the public, such as the rise of food prices due to energy market changes and the collapse of the financial market. We see that small instabilities and risks spread to practically all developed countries in the world. However, globalisation also adds a great positive value because the individual or small groups can have an increasingly global effect, Holling said.

Resilience as an continuance of sustainability thinking
Sverker Sörlin and Carole Crumley both argued that we have moved beyond traditional discussions around sustainability and that resilience thinking is increasingly being embraced as an integrated part of sustainable development thinking.

- Resilience thinking will not replace the sustainability discourse, but we can use resilience to develop sustainability further, Sörlin said. He was followed up by Line Gordon who noted that the key approach with resilience thinking is that although we might have solutions for sustainable development, we will face challenges and we must be prepared for surprises.

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