Investing in resilience
April 23, 2014
Why investing in sustainable infrastructure can mean the difference between sink and survival for communities and businesses.
It’s hard to believe that Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans nearly a decade ago. But, with some hard work and lots of dedicated people who believe in building resilient communities, the city has made some serious strides.
This April, Zurich North America, Schaumburg, Ill., is hosting its 10th Annual Zurich Classic golf tournament in New Orleans. The tournament brings the city about $30 million every year.
After Katrina, the tournament really symbolized that the city was back. It was the first major sporting event post Katrina, and I think that had a big emotional lift to the city as well.
Since 2009, Zurich has also been involved in the philanthropic efforts of the St. Bernard Project, an organization dedicated to rebuilding the homes of Katrina survivors. They’ve built nearly 50 homes in devastated areas across the country.
This year, Z Zurich Foundation is donating a $3 million grant to the St. Bernard Project to create a disaster resilience and recovery lab (a strategic plan, not a physical structure) and provide support to a variety of U.S. disaster recovery efforts, including home rebuilding projects in Staten Island, N.Y., and Joplin, Mo.
“Disasters are occurring more frequently and storms are getting stronger,” says Zack Rosenburg, Co-Founder and CEO of the St. Bernard Project. “This investment will enable us to do more for communities before a natural disaster strikes, and ensure that impacted areas have access to proven-effective best practices to recover in a prompt, efficient, and predictable manner.”
How’s that for supporting resilient communities?
Investing in Resilience
From a personal level, dealing with the loss of loved ones or a home, to a professional level of handling the losses that may have impacted your business, any natural disaster can wreak havoc on your life … especially when you don’t have a sustainable infrastructure in your community to rely on.
According to an article by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, “Communities with sustainable livelihoods, good levels of health care, and access to a strong and accountable civil society are less susceptible to hazards and are faster to recover.”
So, how do we create a more sustainable community? The answer is often “with investment.” Starting with governments all the way down to individual businesses, design teams and urban planners, we are all responsible for creating more sustainable and likewise resilient communities for when disaster strikes.
In fact, many governments and companies have jumped on investing in sustainability, making it a “megatrend” by several studies. G-20 governments have even earmarked some $400 billion of their $2.6 trillion in stimulus funds for sustainability programs in past years.
Whether you choose to revamp your own business practices or monetarily invest in storm-specific areas, the main objective is to build resilient communities and resilient businesses with the intention of equipping that area with as much backing as possible in anticipation of (sometimes super scary) Mother Nature.