The implications of recent catastrophic disasters, including the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, reach well beyond the immediate, direct environmental and human health risks. In a complex coupled system, disruptions from natural disasters and man-made accidents can quickly propagate through a complex chain of networks to cause unpredictable failures in other economic or social networks and other parts of the world. Recent disasters have revealed the inadequacy of a classical risk management approach. This study calls for a new resilience-based design and management paradigm that draws upon the ecological analogues of diversity and adaptation in response to low-probability and high-consequence disruptions.
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