• Epicormic growth on the trunk of a tree.
  • Heat map of Australia on a hot summers day.
  • Busy city scene of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne.
  • Satelite image of Cyclone Yasi off the coast of Australia.
  • Arrangement of hands in a circle on the ground.

Capacity for resilient futures

Our mission is to build the capacity of regional communities and institutions facing uncertain futures. We bring together resilience, adaptation and transformation principles and practices with social and organisational learning to offer a new paradigm for managing social-ecological systems.

We consult, facilitate, train, research and engage. We work with federal and state government agencies, regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies, CSIRO, universities, research and development corporations and non-government organisations.

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We offer expertise in:

The Australian Resilience Centre hosts the Resilience Planning Community of Practice (RPCoP); a collegiate reflective learning network for planners applying resilience-based principles to NRM planning and implementation.

What’s on at the ARC?

The Australian Resilience Centre is busy working on a range of capacity building projects around Australia and overseas.  

Our current projects include:

  • Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about the capacity to use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking. Resilience thinking embraces learning, diversity and above all the belief that humans and nature are strongly coupled to the point that they should be conceived as one social-ecological system.

    Stockholm Resilience Centre, 2012
  • The nature of the human condition will guarantee that uncertainty, ambiguity, and surprise will dominate the course of events. However carefully we think about the future; however thorough our preparations; however coherent and thoughtful our concepts, training, and doctrine; we will be surprised.

    United States Joint Force Command, 2010
  • We can no longer assume that our collective actions will not trigger tipping points as environmental thresholds are breached, risking irreversible damage to both ecosystems and human communities.

    United Nations Report on Managing our Environment for Sustainability, 2012
  • There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know.

    Donald Rumsfeld 21st United States Secretary of Defense, 2002
  • Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day…on the day before Thanksgiving something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.

    Nassim Taleb The Black Swan, 2010
  • It is in my view uncharted territory. We are dealing with unparalleled conditions.

    NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons on the Blue Mountains bushfires, October 2013
  • The failure to foresee the timing, extent and severity of the crisis and to head it off, while it had many causes, was principally a failure of the collective imagination of many bright people, both in this country and internationally, to understand the risks to the system as a whole. Risk calculations were most often confined to slices of financial activity, using some of the best mathematical minds in our country and abroad. But they frequently lost sight of the bigger picture. The failure was to see how collectively this added up to a series of interconnected imbalances over which no single authority had jurisdiction.

    Letter from the London School of Economics to the Queen in response to her question ‘If the (global financial) crisis was so large why didn’t anyone see it coming?’ 2009