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Building Resilience by Understanding Reasons for Collapse: A Study of Societal Futures

Gawli, Ashwini and Miedema, Kassie (2023) Building Resilience by Understanding Reasons for Collapse: A Study of Societal Futures. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Gawli, Ashwini and Miedema, Kassie

The primary area of investigation is resilience and its shadow counterpart societal collapse. Our research explores what resilience to existential risks means for contemporary Canadian society. We analyzed historical examples of societal collapse for clues and common factors that led to their demise. We will also explore concepts and frameworks for resilience and alternate worldviews for insights into how to build resilience.

Borderless global threats like climate change pose an existential risk to all of humanity, but in varying degrees of severity around the world. For example, climate change poses long term implications globally, but some regions are already more heavily affected and face more severe consequences in the near future. We used foresight tools such as scenarios research to understand the interconnectedness of key trends as they relate to existential risks and their implications for Canada. We also collected and analyzed data from expert and non-expert interviews to understand risk perception, crisis experience, and future risk response.

An opportunity exists to decolonize our response to existential risks by incorporating alternate perspectives, worldviews, and cultural values into a framework for resiliency in a contemporary Canadian setting. For example, many Indigenous perspectives inherently incorporate non-human factors by providing an eco-centric rather than anthropocentric worldview, or models that provide alternate economic perspectives to capitalism. We examined these other perspectives and worldviews and what lessons they provide that we can apply to our current Canadian framework that will enhance our resilience as a society.

From our newfound understanding of these four key areas (historical examples of societal collapse, existential risks, resilience, and alternative worldviews and perspectives), we have identified six major themes that embody our key insights: refocusing worldviews, energy continuum, unpacking collapse, resilience framework, actual risk versus risk perception, and dominant and alternate worldviews. Our interview analysis has provided us with four areas of opportunity, and we offer practical and realistic suggestions for specific stakeholders to enhance resilience in Canadian society.

Date: 5 May 2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: existential risk, societal collapse, resilience, worldviews, Indigenous worldview, wicked problem, climate change
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Date Deposited: 08 May 2023 18:09
Last Modified: 08 May 2023 18:09
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/4081

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