Resilience and Sustainability
I have mentioned before that I believe you cannot be sustainable without being resilient. Ted Wolf passed this article on to me, Building Resilience: 6 Lessons from Superstorm Sandy, from the US Green Building Council that makes this connection very clear. Worth a read and very heartening from my point of view. I have tried over the years to get the sustainability community more engaged in resilience. While there has been some sympathetic acknowledgement, there has not been much active involvement. I got some insight on why this might be from a conference looking at adaptability of coastal communities to climate change. It was organized by the Institute of Sustainable Communities and the fellow from the ISC mentioned he was the only one of his fellow field reps who worked on adaptability, the rest focused on mitigation. He felt the odd man out at times since the others looked at adaptation as a failure of the mitigation efforts. I think the fear was that time and energy spent on adaptation would take away from mitigation efforts. I also suspect that the sustainability community also realizes that you can be resilient without necessarily being sustainable.
From the resilience side of things, it seems foolish not prepare for an inevitable natural disaster, whether a seismic event, or a weather related event that becomes more frequent with global warming, or from a rise in sea level since the rebuilding and repair from these events would increase the global warming problem. Becoming resilient should include sustainability practices. Net energy and Net water concepts work well for buildings to be functional following a disaster, which helps with recovery efforts. The redundancy also reduces the need for new centralized supplies sources of water and energy and also make it easier to create backbone systems that are resistant to damage.
I also think that the fear is misplaced, because as people become engaged in adaptation (whether to global warming or other natural disasters) they are looking longer term, which means they also include mitigation efforts to reduce climate change. I think the collaboration and discussion between the two groups will ensure that resilience efforts are indeed sustainable.