Preparing for Extreme Weather Events

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Participants in the St. Jamestown Market, an example of Community Based Action

At Faith & the Common Good, we’ve been giving tremendous thought to the extreme weather events taking place globally. We are thinking about what we, as faith communities can do to prepare ourselves, here in Canada, especially vulnerable communities. Our ED, Lucy Cummings, along with Sheila Murray of Toronto CREW and Chris Winter of Climate Action Canada wrote an article on the issue, that was published as a guest post on the Environmental Defence website. Here’s an excerpt:

“Recovery from natural and other disasters does not depend on the overall amount of aid received nor on the amount of damage done by the disaster; instead, social capital — the bonds which tie citizens together — functions as the main engine of long term recovery.” — Daniel P. Aldrich, assistant professor of public policy at Purdue University

Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. BC wildfires. Extreme weather disasters are here to stay. Increasingly, communities the world over are facing the devastating impacts of climate breakdown including extreme heat, mega hurricanes and flooding, power outages and food shortages. Governments assist in emergencies but they can’t do it all.

In the early hours and days of a crisis, it is up to local residents, organizations, and businesses to look after one another: to open their homes or buildings to those without power, to reach out and contact those in apartment buildings or neighbourhoods who may need help, and to volunteer with groups that are providing emergency services.

But if an emergency happened today in our communities, would we be ready? Would we know where to go for help, or to volunteer to help others? First-aid kits, bottled water and individual action plans aside, how resilient are our communities and why are we waiting for an emergency to happen before we organize ourselves?

Read the entire piece here.