The Complexity of Resilience
Last year, Faith in Place explored the theme of healing—providing space for us to explore the ways we can heal ourselves, our communities, and the planet. As we move into a new year, we want to continue building on last year’s work through our 2022 theme, “Rooted for Resilience.”
For too long, the responsibility of resilience has been placed primarily on the shoulders of individuals within marginalized communities, making the term triggering for many. As people of faith and spirituality, we are working to deepen and broaden our understanding of resilience and advocate for systemic change that lifts the burden of environmental injustice off of vulnerable communities, and heals the land.
We don't know what the year 2022 will hold for us. However, with the continuing pandemic and the accelerating climate crisis, we know that resilience is vital for our communities, our environment, and our mental and physical health.
As environmental activists, we work to build resilience by fighting for justice, investment, and, resources in the communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and environmental pollution.
What Is Climate Resilience
Most conversations around climate focus on climate mitigation—or the ways in which we can make personal or political changes to stop the progression of climate change. It is equally essential, however, to build climate resilience.
Climate resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to changes related to climate change. Improving climate resilience involves assessing how climate change will create new, or alter current, climate-related risks while taking steps to better cope with these risks.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Sixth Assessment Report, warming is expected to increase beyond 2040. This means that many of the changes already inflicted on the planet will be “irreversible for centuries to millennia.”
While it’s essential that we take action to mitigate climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we must accept the fact that we are already experiencing the effects of climate change around the world and should prepare for future risk.
In the physical sense, climate resilience may involve rethinking the ways we build infrastructure and housing to withstand more frequent extreme weather events. Beyond the physical, climate resilience can also mean providing support for frontline communities with their mental and emotional health amidst the climate crisis.
The complexity of climate change’s impact on ones mental, physical, economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being calls for a holistic approach to building resilience.
Resilience requires resources, investment, strong community networks and physical and emotional health support. Building resilience through systemic change prepares us to face climate change and helps us become healthier people for ourselves and our communities.
Faith Communities Building Systemic Resilience
This is where communities of faith come in. With strong community connections, the passion to provide care for community members, and the ability to provide shelter and resources during times of crisis—faith communities are integral to building community resilience, especially to climate change. They are also a powerful voice that can create systemic change through our political system.
From advocating for investment in historically disadvantaged communities to building sustainable food systems, there are many ways communities of faith and spirituality can work together in 2022 to become more resilient.
Together, we can heal our planet, our communities, and ourselves by building resilience in a holistic and justice-focused way. We invite you to check out our free resources to support you and your community of faith to grow stronger.
We look forward to exploring this important work with you over the next year!