Obviously, the Puerto Rican people have immediate needs for food, water, fuel, and medical care. We mainland Americans should be doing all we can to make sure that help reaches those in the throes of crisis. But Puerto Ricans—all Americans, indeed all humans—should be thinking longer-term about what kind of society is sustainable and resilient in this time of increasing vulnerability to disasters of all kinds.
Humans haven’t always been ignorant of how our world and our civilization worked. I was intrigued by this image of a church in Houston Texas recently flooded during Hurricane Harvey. The picture above is of the old First Baptist Church of Orange, Texas completed and dedicated on September 14, 1915. What I found striking about this picture was the main floor was well above the flooding from Hurricane Harvey because it was built well above flood levels.
Unequal development in Mexico is an ongoing challenge. A recent report from the Bank of Mexico showed that during the second trimester of 2017, the Mexican economy grew in north (0.9 percent), center-north (1.2 percent) and central zones (0.7 percent). If there’s a silver lining to these twin earthquakes, it’s that the post-disaster recovery analyses have finally shed some light on the historical neglect of Chiapas and Oaxaca, together home to around nine million Mexicans.
The project amounts to a “mapping commons” whose freely available geographic data is invaluable to humanitarian responders to natural disasters and crises.
Shared experiences of recovering from earthquakes and tsunamis have spanned oceans and connected communities, deepening their ties and fostering greater resilience.