Next Article in Journal
CA-Markov Analysis of Constrained Coastal Urban Growth Modeling: Hua Hin Seaside City, Thailand
Next Article in Special Issue
Impacts of Climatic Hazards on the Small Wetland Ecosystems (ponds): Evidence from Some Selected Areas of Coastal Bangladesh
Previous Article in Journal
Knowledge of Indonesian University Students on the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Climate Adaptation Frontier
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1461-1479; doi:10.3390/su5041461

Adaptation to and Recovery from Global Catastrophe

Jr. 1,2,*  and 1
1 Global Catastrophic Risk Institute, P.O. Box 85561, Seattle, WA 98145-1561, USA 2 Bard College Center for Environmental Policy, 30 Campus Rd, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 January 2013 / Revised: 28 January 2013 / Accepted: 19 March 2013 / Published: 28 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [718 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |   Browse Figures


Global catastrophes, such as nuclear war, pandemics and ecological collapse threaten the sustainability of human civilization. To date, most work on global catastrophes has focused on preventing the catastrophes, neglecting what happens to any catastrophe survivors. To address this gap in the literature, this paper discusses adaptation to and recovery from global catastrophe. The paper begins by discussing the importance of global catastrophe adaptation and recovery, noting that successful adaptation/recovery could have value on even astronomical scales. The paper then discusses how the adaptation/recovery could proceed and makes connections to several lines of research. Research on resilience theory is considered in detail and used to develop a new method for analyzing the environmental and social stressors that global catastrophe survivors would face. This method can help identify options for increasing survivor resilience and promoting successful adaptation and recovery. A key point is that survivors may exist in small isolated communities disconnected from global trade and, thus, must be able to survive and rebuild on their own. Understanding the conditions facing isolated survivors can help promote successful adaptation and recovery. That said, the processes of global catastrophe adaptation and recovery are highly complex and uncertain; further research would be of great value.
Keywords: risk; catastrophe; recovery; civilization; futures; resilience; expected value; space colonization; adaptation; preparation risk; catastrophe; recovery; civilization; futures; resilience; expected value; space colonization; adaptation; preparation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
MDPI and ACS Style

Maher, T.M., Jr.; Baum, S.D. Adaptation to and Recovery from Global Catastrophe. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1461-1479.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here


Cited By

[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert