Towards resilient communities

Whether they come from governments or from civil society, the best techniques for safeguarding cities don’t just mitigate disaster damage; they also strengthen the networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times.” Adaptation, E. Klinenberg. The New Yorker, January 7, 2013 issue

What are the solutions and the ideas so that communities can easier mitigate and adapt to climate change ?

How can communities tackle climate change ?

As more and more communities are facing the impacts of climate disruption, it’s becoming more and more obvious that we need to cultivate resilience. Increasingly, cities and urban regions are working to make themselves more resilient: better able to prepare, adapt and get stronger in response to internal and external pressures and stresses, in ways that not only allow people, businesses, neighborhoods, and the whole community to maintain essential functions and bounce back relatively quickly, but also to bounce forward toward  an improved environment, social and economic health and wellbeing.”  ISC’s President George Hamilton 

A strategy of resilience will involve more than changes to our physical infrastructure. Increasingly, governments and disaster planners are recognizing the importance of social infrastructure: the people, places, and institutions that foster cohesion and support.There’s a lot of social-science research showing how much better people do in disasters, how much longer they live, when they have good social networks and connections,” says Nicole Lurie, a former professor of health policy at RAND’s graduate school and at the University of Minnesota, who has been President Obama’s assistant secretary for preparedness and response since 2009. “And we’ve had a pretty big evolution in our thinking, so promoting community resilience is now front and center in our approach.”  Adaptation, E. Klinenberg. The New Yorker, January 7, 2013 issue

Resilient communities, source: Monadnock

The six foundations of climate change resilience are:

  1. People. The power to envision the future of the community and build its resilience resides with community members.
  2. Systems thinking. Systems thinking is essential for understanding the complex, interrelated crises now unfolding and what they mean for our similarly complex communities.
  3. Adaptability. A community that adapts to change is resilient. But because communities and the challenges we face are dynamic, adaptation is an ongoing process.
  4. Transformability. Some challenges are so big that it’s not possible for the community to simply adapt; fundamental, transformative changes may be necessary.
  5. Sustainability. Community resilience is not sustainable if it serves only us, and only now; it needs to work for other communities, future generations, and the ecosystems on which we all depend.
  6. Courage. As individuals and as a community, we need courage to confront challenging issues and take responsibility for our collective future.

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