Whilst there has been progress in understanding the role that values play in determinations of vulnerability and resilience, I suggest some key points continue to be overlooked. I offer three propositions to describe how values underpin such concepts, summarised as ‘no fixed characterization’, ‘no fixed relationships’ and ‘no fixed trends’. These propositions are not new and have been made in other contexts. Based on a literature review of vulnerability and resilience in the global environmental change area, I elaborate on how these propositions are not adequately accommodated, in particular in relation to ideas of biophysical and social vulnerability, specified versus general resilience, and assignments of desired trend direction (increasing resilience or decreasing vulnerability). I conclude that irrespective of the concept label, characterisations and assessments of ecosystems and their attendant change are inescapably dependent on values.