-only 750 left in the world
-poachers the main problem, as well as habitat destruction
-if social conflict was to arise they would most likely go completely extinct
Collapse of Societies
thrill of seeing the end of humanity, movies showing apocalypses
vulnerability and resilience
vulnerability – what is it to be vulnerable
natural systems: degraded systems, systems with critical species that are threatened, shrinking
systems (islands), systems facing unknown threats to which no defence has been created (e.g.
social systems: obvious vulnerabilities defended against e.g. disease, war, disaster; unobvious
disasters: cumulative impacts, social degradation, stupidity, cowardice, greed, etc.
We don’t know what really makes social systems collapse
Cumulative impact; by the time we find out it’s usually too late (e.g. climate change)
Resilience – “the capacity of a system to bounce back from a stress”
what makes a system resilient?
Natural systems: robust simplicity, appropriate diversity, size/refuges, patchiness.
Social systems: appropriately flexible strategies, access to resources, memory
Problem 1: People like to find solutions that make them look good
problem 2: Not wanting to find a complete solution to the problem, finding temporary solutions
natural disasters in:
developed countries -> loss of money and property instead of people
developing countries -> loss of people greater than loss of property and money
we usually think natural disasters will be constrained in a specific area.
Why Toronto is vulnerable: our reliance on water for electricity
natural systems tend to have robust simplicity
e.g. statistical analysis on size of islands showed that the smaller the island is the lower species
diversity it has putting a green corridor in between two areas is almost like doubling the area and therefore the
ability of species to survive
social systems: diversity (how people think, act, etc) is important,
Resilience vs. Reliability
Resilience: there are other alternatives to get it to work again
Reliability: has to work all the time and if it doesn’t you’re in big trouble
reliability ex.: In order to protect against cold weather, we developed a fossil fuel system to keep
away the natural system, altering it and not thinking about it
resilient system ex.: Inuits wearing a lot of fur, adapting to the environment instead
reasons why we’re interested in collapsed societies to see if there’s lessons to be learned from