Resiliency Takes Many Shapes and Approaches

This post first appeared in the Resilient Vermont blog and is reprinted with permission by the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Much of the work in combating rising sea levels and flooding entails building stronger walls and barriers, so Netherland’s approach to water management and flooding by letting the water in at times really caught my attention. It reminded me about the need for creativity and the importance of learning from others. This past winter’s ice storms and the recent high winds and deluge of rain in parts of Vermont on April 15th & 16th, 2014 are reminders of what we should expect, and they reinforce the need for proactive thinking and action to make us “Vermont Strong.” The recognition of changing weather patterns and the anticipation of increasing incidences of extreme weather events was reinforced by the National Climate Assessment report released on May 6th, 2014. There’s an excellent summary of the report in this New York Times article.

As we work within the complex natural and human communities to develop effective and creative approaches to building responsive and proactive resilience, we turn to Della Rucker, who provides sobering words in this article about Economic Ecosystems and Resilience. She states, “If we are honest about the complexities of our communities, then we have to be honest about the fact that there are few, if any, simple solutions.”

But the magnitude of the work shouldn’t stop us from taking action. It’s too important to do nothing.  Here in Vermont, there are lots of activities and thinking underway related to building resiliency.

Irene Rebuilding

One of the biggest challenges is finding information about what towns, cities and surrounding regions are doing to improve resilience across the state. In this implementation phase of the Resilient Vermont project, funded by the High Meadows Fund, ISC is working with Slow Communities and a diverse advisory committee to explore ways to efficiently and effectively make all of this information available to the public. Our blog posts on this website are an early attempt to provide some of this information and thinking while we seek a more comprehensive solution. We are also looking hard at the best way to ensure the disparate efforts across the state spanning from agency to local town are informed, coordinated and accessible. We’ll keep you informed as we make progress and welcome all your ideas.

This blog post was written by Bill Roper, Slow Communities and Debra Perry, Institute for Sustainable Communities.

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