Adaptive capacity and learning to learn as leverage for social–ecological resilience

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Abstract

Adaptive capacity is increasingly recognized as essential for maintaining the resilience of social–ecological systems and for coping with environmental change. Four main requirements enable societies to successfully adapt to change: (1) the will and intention to maintain social–ecological resilience, (2) knowledge about current problems and the desired direction of change, (3) proactive behavior, and (4) the capacity to change existing patterns of behavior. The adaptive capacity of societies can be greatly enhanced by fostering the adaptive capacity of their individual members. Considerable knowledge about how to foster the adaptability of individuals exists in the science of education and in cognitive and social psychology. Developing the ability to learn flexibly in a variety of ways, contexts, and circumstances is an important element of developing adaptive capacity. The widespread implementation of modern teaching approaches in the education sector could make a substantial contribution to building and maintaining social–ecological resilience.

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