Three Ways To Look At Natural Disasters

One, As a tragedy, wrecking property and lives.

Two, As an economic boon (because all that rebuilding and recovery effort boosts the GDP – never mind the costs of evacuation and lost wages and such to everyday people).

Three, As an opportunity for people to transcend their personal concerns and work together in community. And remember what really makes us feel happy and alive: caring for each other.

Today I dug up some scooby-snacks on disaster and community for you.

From Demco Software, ideas on how to turn your public library into a true community hub. “After Hurricane Sandy, libraries in New York and New Jersey opened their doors for those needing computers to fill out federal forms and let their loved ones know they made it safely through the storm. While your community hopefully won’t be faced with a natural disaster of this scale, there are likely already many individuals in need within your community.

From Springboard for the Arts, Recovering the Story: How Arts Contribute to Emergency Recovery and Resilience. “East Coast Hurricane Sandy survivors became storytellers through Sandy Storyline, a participatory documentary that collects and shares the impact of Hurricane Sandy on communities. In Chicago, Clemantine Wamariya became a storyteller and human rights advocate after she escaped from the Rwandan Genocide at the age of six. Storytelling can be a means to unite, heal, and educate after a disaster.”

Shareable readers share their stories about community-led disaster-relief efforts.

Also from Shareable, The Under-reported Story of Disasters: “[R]eporting routinely underplays how local communities come together to respond to the hardships they face while supporting each other during times of disruption. It’s a good thing that people gravitate together during a crisis rather than pushing each other away because all signs point towards an increase in climate change-fueled disasters in the coming years and decades.

And yet another winner from Shareable! How to build thriving, resilient communities. From repair cafés to potlucks, tips on strengthening the social fabric that is even more essential to resiliency than are physical-preparedness aspects such as producing food locally. A resource-dense article offering links to other articles such as how to start a seed library; how to organize a permablitz.