Resilient Communities Bounce Back Better

by Johanna Schweiss, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

In the past few years, we’ve all witnessed the devastating impacts of extreme weather events, like Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin tornado, or Hurricane Sandy. Whether it is drought and water shortages, stronger storms, flooding, energy disruptions, or very high or low temperatures, we are all faced with a future in which these events are an unfortunate certainty.

One of the biggest challenges of our time is to develop strategies that can help us recover from these disastrous events. We use the word resiliency to describe a community that has the ability to recover and to adapt in the face of unpredictable, changing circumstances; a resilient community is better prepared to recover from disasters sustainably, while maintaining a good quality of life for all. It is better prepared for uncertainties and better able to adapt to changing conditions.

Planning for resiliency requires work on many fronts- it includes implementing strategies to mitigate the effect of disasters, planning and preparing for the inevitable events that will come, and leveraging knowledge, expertise, tools, and resources to rebound smarter, stronger and greener.

New Orleans has a front-row seat to climate change, disappearing coasts, and extreme weather events, and it is a case study in how a community can drive its own resiliency. During our March 11th program, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chaper is hosting Z Smith, Principal and Director of Sustainability & Building Peformance at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple.

Z has led or contributed to numerous projects across New Orleans designed to promote community, deal with extreme weather events, and demonstrate passive survivability. Together, we will take a look at how New Orleans is coming back from Hurricane Katrina, and how it is a case study for how a community can drive resiliency.

Please join us from 5:30 – 7:30 on Tuesday, March 11th at Alberici Headquarters, 8800 Page, St. Louis MO 63114! To learn more or RSVP, visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org. The topic of resilient communities will also be explored during the 14th Annual St. Louis Earth Day Symposium on April 1st and 2nd. For more information, visit www.stlouisearthday.org.