Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Resiliency and Adaptability

I admit I have never seen the flooding problem of the city under the lens of the two concepts above.  This now appears to be the main focus of the efforts of local government and its cadre of private and governmental agencies, gathered together to address this irritatingly  perennial problem.

We learn in the bio-sciences that humanity though fragile and comparatively weak has been the undisputed champion of adaptability to its overall environment.  That is why it has survived all these years.

Thus, rather than taming Nature, let us instead allow Nature to tame us, or at least tame us half-way, or on a partial basis.  That appears to be the prevailing mantra in this age. Said in a different way, let us liken ourselves to a fragile balloon being threatened to obliteration by a greater and stronger force.  To survive, the balloon either side-steps or changes its shape and location to blunt the stronger force in the collision.

On the other hand, humanity has survived and prospered largely because it has used its skills and intelligence to “tame” Nature.  Thus we have skyscrapers, fast planes and cars, technologies, etc.

Thus in a real way resiliency which is synonymous somewhat with adaptability is an acknowledgment and resignation to the forces of Nature. Though in resiliency the goal is to try to seamlessly get back to a previous state, adaptability goes a step beyond since it allows and aims to change our ways to adjust to the vagaries of Nature.

How do we attain or strike a balance between the two forces, one side is man with his intelligence and skills and on the other, the all-powerful Nature?

We certainly cannot be defeatist in attitude and thus just nod our heads to what Nature dictates.  We always try to find ways to harness for our own good and uses the forces and inevitabilities of Nature.

I suppose that is where the problem lies.

Affluent communities can harness and marshal tremendous resources to mitigate their situation.  What about a developing country like the Philippines, how far can it go to challenge Nature?