We recently received a sobering reminder that our world has changed forever, and that fact has far-reaching implications for our industries that build our cities, towns, and the systems that sustain our way of life.
The National Climate Assessment report sums it up clearly. “The nation’s economy, security, and culture all depend on the resilience of urban infrastructure systems.”
In the Pacific Northwest catastrophic disasters from floods, wildfires, and periods of bitter cold will be the new realities driving the need for adaptation, notes the climate report.
A Pacific Northwest Building Resilience Coalition article co-authored by Bill Larson, CalPortland’s Vice-President for Marketing, notes this means we need to change how we build, what we build with, where we build, and we must ensure that our buildings and communities are more resilient, more efficient, and more livable.
These are profound challenges for industries already grappling with severe economic and social pressures.
The article points out that changing policies and planning measures such as building codes, zoning regulations, land-use plans, water supply management, green infrastructure initiatives, health care planning, and disaster mitigation efforts, are all actions that can support adaptation.
Integrating disaster preparedness and resiliency planning into on-going public policy processes is a low cost, no regrets approach that allows us to use existing funding sources for climate adaptation.
But to be successful, these adaptation efforts require that private sector players and governments must come together in common cause, notes Larson.
“Only by working together can we reduce our exposure to climate-related stresses and strengthen ability to adapt to changing conditions. We can do it. We must do it. There is too much at stake for inaction on our part.”