It remains to be seen, how resilient Owerri is to its many present day challenges. Top on this, is its network of roads which are increasingly getting overwhelmed by its sprawling traffic. What is the solution? What could be done?
Three features of resilience thinking of significance for analysing social-ecological systems in relation to sustainability are germane in this context. Persistence, which is the buffer capacity to withstand shocks in the face of change; Adaptability, which is the capacity of people in a social-ecological system to manage resilience in order to deal with change, move on and continue to develop; and transformability, which is the capacity of people in a social-ecological system to create new development pathways when ecological, political, social or economic conditions make the existing system untenable.
In Owerri, the later which ordinarily should have been the case is far from it. This therefore underscores and brings to the fore the bizarre management of both our human and material resources by those in authority. Roads built in 1980 are still serving people of 2011 without a corresponding effort to grow or expand them over the years. This therefore raises some salient issues on sustainability.
Sustainability, as we understand the concept, implies the need to consider the scale of development relative to the available resource base; the fairness with which access is provided to those resources and the outputs from them, both among current generations and between current and future generations; and the efficiency with which resources are used. While organisations can adapt to issues such as eco-efficiency (for example, resource management), they find it much more difficult – even impossible – to address issues of equity, social justice and the scale of their development.
(To be continued)