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Crafting and Selling a “Whole Community” Approach to Ensuring a Safe and Resilient Future for our Nation

Ed Thomas, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association
Tuesday, June 17 @ 9:50am


As a Nation we may never have had a greater opportunity to seriously consider how to reduce the mounting toll which follows foreseeable natural events. The passion and energy of those of you who believe in the reality of climate change brings an entire new breath of oxygen into conversations about what sort of future we will build for the next generations. As a Nation, we are building the future every day: one cubic yard of fill at a time, one building at a time, and one road at a time. We have a choice: we can build safely and properly so as to not exacerbate existing problems caused by improper construction and development; or we can continue to do business as usual and build an unsustainable future of misery, waste and needless destruction. Right now we are clearly on the path of mounting losses from foreseeable natural events.

Floodplain Management, Climate Adaptation and Natural Hazard Mitigation are all too often thought of as a zero sum situation: one side wins and one side loses. One person or group externalizes the costs of their actions to others while reaping a bonanza. Developing a Resilient society requires a win–win “Whole Community “approach based on sound economic principles so that communities, folks who would otherwise be disaster victims, developers, and sound natural hazard risk mitigation all win. Such solutions have the advantage of being based on sound economics, law, ethics, and environmental sustainability.

We have a huge sales job to do to change the current development and redevelopment mind-set. Implementing the needed solutions will require a different way of doing business than community development practices in general use in the United States. We must seize every opportunity to insert a message of safe and resilient development into all conversations about climate change, climate uncertainty, housing, community development, planning, national security, love of family, love of country. We must also recognize that our sales job must be made to the many powerful and influential decision makers who absolutely do not believe in climate change; but who generally passionately love this Nation and wish to build a resilient future for future generations. Our sales message of public safety & safe and resilient development and redevelopment must be delivered in an apolitical manner, crafted in a different manner to reach the hopes, fears, desires, and dreams of the various audiences which comprise our “Whole Community.”


Presentation Slides
2236 kb uploaded June 13, 2014 1:55pm


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