Resilience & Adaptation

Anthropogenic activities have reached Earth-changing levels. I focus on global and local pathways to sustainable transformations and especially the role of public policies in facilitating sustainable futures. In this research track I use resilience theories and concepts to identify feasible and applicable institutional and policy transitions toward the adaptive governance of social-ecological systems.

I find the resilience/social-ecological systems lens especially helpful in formulating policy-relevant research questions at the intersection of climate change, ecosystem services, risks and vulnerability, human agency and adaptive action.

Examples of my resilience-themed work:

  • A study of the northern Alaska region’s social–ecological system and its drivers of change. The main findings discuss the potential for pooling resources and collective adaptive action based on consensus in the civic process of policy making [1]
  • A study considering sea-ice as a social-ecological system. The recommendations focus on the improvement of sea-ice predictions for polar regions, and translating these scientific and technological advances into social benefits through responsible innovation [2]
  • A comparative study of perceptions about risks to sustainability in the Northern Alaska region, with the participation of local Inupiat tribal leaders and Alaska state and US Federal resource management professionals. Policy recommendations aim to better support healthy, sustainable Alaska rural communities [3]
  • A study of the typology of disaster events and linked patterns of social and policy learning. Find my blog entry on the Disaster Chronotope here. The full paper can be found here, an abridged version has been published as a book chapter [4]
  • A collection of case studies about the politics of the science around oil resource extraction in Alaska, focusing on state and federal initiatives designed to increase local and indigenous stakeholder engagement [5]


  1. Blair, B., & Lovecraft, A. L. (2020). Risks Without Borders: A Cultural Consensus Model of Risks to Sustainability in Rapidly Changing Social–Ecological Systems. Sustainability, 12(6), 2446.
  2. Blair, B., Lee, O. A., & Lamers, M. (2020). Four Paradoxes of the User–Provider Interface: A Responsible Innovation Framework for Sea Ice Services. Sustainability, 12(2), 448.
  3. Blair, B., & Kofinas, G. P. (2020). Cross-scale risk perception: differences between tribal leaders and resource managers in Arctic Alaska. Ecology and Society, 25(4):9.
  4. Blair, B., Lovecraft, A., Hum, R. (2018). The Disaster Chronotope: Spatial and Temporal Learning in Governance of Extreme Events. In S. Bonati., L.M.Calandra, and G. Forino (Eds.) New Trends for Governance of Risks and Disasters: Theory and Practice. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxfordshire, U.K.
  5. Blair, B., A. L. Lovecraft, and G. P. Kofinas. 2014. Meeting Institutional Criteria for Social Resilience: A Nested Risk System Model. Ecology and Society 19(4): 36.