How Resilient?

by Keenan L., Puget Sound: We Love You volunteer

With the effects of global warming and climate change becoming ever more relevant, scientists have shifted their views to a new type of research called resilience science.  This research examines the relationship between elements of human livelihood such as production, recreation and consumerism, and the resilience of marine species against the growing pressure of their habitats.  One of the reasons why this science seems so promising is its progressive consideration of all aspects of the issue.  I am often told that every action warrants an equal if not more powerful reaction.  This is the beauty in resilience science.  It pursues a complex relationship between humanity and the link to its environment.  The goal of the science is to help ecosystems better respond to changes on the biological level.  It only seems relevant that this type of research would emerge in a day and age where human based environmental effects are a commonly accepted reality.

        Worldwide ocean ecosystems are seeing increasing threats from overfishing, pollution, acidification and the like.  The hope is that resilience science will be directly applied in changing environmental policies so they are tailored to the needs of local ecosystems.  This has been most successfully implemented in Chesapeake Bay.  Evidence of struggling oyster sanctuaries and eelgrass caused discussion about human impact in these areas. Through research in the field of resilience science, it was deemed that certain practices were directly responsible for the damaged ecosystems.  Since then, changes in environmental policy have helped to restore these areas.  Diversity has returned and the hope is that the resilience of the species has been increased for the future.  This is a prime example of how implemented changes have developed a more robust ecosystem.    

I believe that similar resilience sciences could be used in Puget Sound environmental policies.  If the resources are put towards solid research efforts in our local waters that are centered in resilience science, progress could be made.  Currently, we are not on track to meet our 2020 ecosystem recovery targets for our region.  Progress has been made in the form of over 2,300 acres of habitat restoration. There is still much work to be done and we must urge our state and county governments to double their efforts towards meeting our goals.  I believe the motto of the Puget Sound Partnership is a good representation of the opportunity presented to our community.


“Our Sound, Our Community, Our Chance”


Stay Resilient.



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