Reconceptualizing Environmental Challenges — Is Resilience the New Narrative?

31 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2014 Last revised: 8 Oct 2015

See all articles by Melinda Benson

Melinda Benson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 9, 2014


We need to reexamine both our thinking about and our relationship to environmental and natural resource challenges. This includes facing the emerging realities of the Anthropocene: unprecedented and irreversible rates of biodiversity loss, exponential increases in per-capita resource consumption, and global climate change. Combined, these and other factors are increasing the likelihood of rapid, non-linear, social and ecological regime changes. New policy directions and orientations are needed to provide the necessary capacity to deal with challenges in a meaningful and equitable ways. This article posits that the concept of “resilience” is emerging as a new narrative in both scholarly literature and policy discussions that has potential in this regard. After first situating resilience thinking within current and historical narratives regarding social-ecological relations, it examines the potential for resilience to shift the environmental governance paradigm in helpful ways.

Keywords: Resilience, Anthropocene, environmental discourse

Suggested Citation

Benson, Melinda, Reconceptualizing Environmental Challenges — Is Resilience the New Narrative? (July 9, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Melinda Benson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics