Resilience: The Basics of a Concept

A basic definition of resilience could be “the capacity to maintain core functions and values in the face of disturbance,” writes environmental studies scholar David W. Orr in the inaugural issue of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities. That definition can cover a lot of ground, from the physical and mental health of an individual to the preparedness of our institutions to the social structures they all fit into. Orr also quotes a Marine friend of his who describes resilience on a more personal level, as the ability to come back swinging after taking a gut-punch.