Individual resilience: A Guide

‘So much land under so much water’: extreme flooding is drowning parts of the Midwest

Workers lay down sandbags to keep water from flooding the entrance to a bridge across to Arkansas River in Russellville. Photograph: Thomas Metthe/AP

Even with half of the houses on her street underwater, Dina Barker looked at the numbers and calculated that it was worth holding out. The rate at which water was pouring out of the rain-swollen Keystone dam less than 10 miles up the Arkansas River had been enough to submerge most of Barker’s neighbourhood in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, last week. But her house sits on a small rise just feet from the pop-up lake that rose in hours as the surging river broke the town’s flood walls.

Over the following days, Barker paid close attention to the dam’s engineers. If they announced they were opening the gates another couple of notches, it would be time to run. That would depend not only on whether the rain kept coming but, more importantly, where it fell.

“I packed my suitcase and my papers and my medicine in my car this morning so that if I have to leave I can load my animals in and I can go,” said the 57-year-old civil servant. “It feels like we’ve been getting rained on for two months just practically nonstop. And again today it’s nonstop.”

The fate of Barker and the rest of Sand Springs, along with the neighbouring city of Tulsa and communities down the the Arkansas River, hung less on the torrential downpour than what was happening hundreds of miles to the north…


Individual resilience: A Guide

Resilience is the ability to react appropriately in an uncertain and changing environment. In an earlier issue, we ran an article about resilience at the organisational and societal level; now, we focus on the last domain of resilience, the individual level, which can be described as the ability to adapt, rise from adversity, and join others to create positive change.

This article is based on the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies’ report Individual Resilience – Survival Guide for the 21st Century (2016), and below, we particularly focus on the resilient mindset that helps contemporary individuals to handle the challenges in their professional and private lives.

We also examine the competencies that 21st century individuals need to not just survive, but also thrive in a world that is more characterised by technology, more automated, more globalised and more demanding on the individual than ever before, as old social structures dissolve and new ones arise…

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