After Sandy: ICLEI’s Vision to Support Resilient Cities and Countiesby Michael Schmitz, ICLEI USA Executive Director
Atlantic City, NJ, during Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: New Jersey National Guard
We’ve had a week to process the devastation from hurricane Sandy, and now the hard question emerges: Where do we go from here?
As the slow road to recovery begins, we know we must do more than rebuild our cities and neighborhoods. We must make them more resilient: better prepared and able to bounce back from extreme weather fueled by climate change, not to mention energy insecurity and economic recession. When Sandy’s path of destruction will cost at least $50 billion, can anyone argue that investments in resilience are not cost-effective and a top priority?
If you’ve been following ICLEI for the past year, you know this message well. But you also know that we deliver more than just inspiring words: We develop the technical resources local governments need to achieve their goals.
New Support From ICLEI for Local Governments
In the wake of Sandy, ICLEI is ready to step up and deliver. We have a vision and a plan for how to help cities and counties like yours become more resilient in 2013—with new climate and energy tools, new training and guidance, an innovative online knowledge network, new opportunities for local elected officials to connect and share ideas, and new ways to rally local leaders and make their voices heard to federal leaders.
Remember also that as an ICLEI member, you are connected to local governments around the world. Now more than ever, we need to share what works, whether it’s from Copenhagen or Cape Town. Only ICLEI can facilitate this type of best practice sharing, and we are committed to ramping it up in 2013.
Join Our Call to Get the Details
I invite you to join us on Thursday, Nov. 29 for a 30-minute webinar in which we share the details of this vision. For any community that prioritizes preparedness, climate action, and energy security, ICLEI will be a key to your success.
Your Help Needed: Tell Us Your Climate Impacts in Brief
It is clear that local governments need more federal support for extreme weather preparedness efforts. ICLEI wants to share your story with federal decision makers as well as national media to raise awareness on what local governments are contending with, how they are responding, and what they need. Please take two minutes to list for us what extreme weather and climate impacts you experienced in 2012, and what, if any, adaptation or preparedness initiatives you’ve undertaken in response.
Saluting the Heroes
As we move forward, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims still struggling to deal with this catastrophe. So many heroes have emerged, from the countless police and firefighters to the elected officials who have guided their communities through disaster, and spoken with unflinching clarity about the challenges we face: Mayors Michael Bloomberg, Michael Nutter, and Corey Booker; Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, to name a few.
Local governments have stepped up to support people when they needed it most. ICLEI is committed to doing the same for you, our local government members.