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Resilient Cooperation – A (Re)new(ed) Alternative to Sustainable Development

Name: Chris Bisson, University of Ottawa (via teleconference)

Title: Resilient Cooperation – A (Re)new(ed) Alternative to Sustainable Development

Abstract: Sustainable development has several conceptual limitations. It sets three dichotomies within the discourse of social/economic progress: culture-nature, purity-corruption and development-conservation. These three inextricable binaries – informed by the socially constructed narratives of nature, hierarchy and property, manifest as a series of political economic institutions. Such institutions exist to “fix” power structures of capital, state and modernity. Permaculture – an ecological method of design, presents a discourse that collapses the three binaries of sustainable development, presenting a (re)new(ed) opportunity for solving such social issues as: human-caused global environmental change, and growing global disparities in wealth. This paper gleans concepts of “systems” and “resilience” from permaculture, views it through the lens of critical political ecology and then suggests a new way of framing the social and ecological challenges facing humanity. From this framework, the paper advocates for a goal of “resilient cooperation” going beyond the balance of sustainable development, towards an ecologically vital and socially just system of human organization.

Resilient Cooperation