The biosphere is a term that refers to the air, water and land that surrounds the earth. Often, in the past, humans have seen themselves as separate from the biosphere. We have thought of the biosphere as being like a machine that we can control. When we get into our car, we don’t feel like we are part of the car. We drive it and try our best to control it. This is a good way to handle a machine. However, it is a bad way to deal with the earth.
The reason is that we are part of the biosphere, not separate from it, or ‘outside’ it. Trying to stand outside the biosphere and control it has led to lots of problems.
What, then, is the right way to relate to the biosphere? Anything that we are a part of is something that we interact with. We participate in the biosphere.
The ecosystem provides services that help us survive. In fact, without the ecosystem we couldn’t survive. It is the basis of everything we do. Ecosystem services include the water we use to cook and clean and the food that comes from crops that nourish our bodies. It also includes the climate and the spiritual and cultural connections we have with have with the seas, mountains, forests and all living things.
Resilience is about asking the question: how do we build the capacity to deal with unexpected change? How do we deal with change and continue to develop?
This interacting system of people and nature is called a social-ecological system. Resilience thinking looks at how these systems interact and how we can manage this interaction to ensure the continued health of the ecosystems on which we depend in the future