Disaster Zone

Leadership in Disaster Mitigation

Will the interest continue once the disaster is not staring you in the face?

by Eric Holdeman / December 12, 2012

Recovery Diva pointed out in a recent blog post that at least a few elected officials are starting to become believers when it comes disaster mitigation and the need to look at climate adaptation strategies, see The Value of Mitigation — to society and to politicians


Claire is looking for comments and I'll reply here.  Dang!  Mitigation is hard.  It runs absolutely in opposition to an elected officials driving forces--getting re-elected and making an impact "during their term."  Mitigation is long term, the time to put projects in place is very long, much longer than a single term and for truly large projects that New York City is going to need more than term limits allow, even for a Mayor Bloomberg, who by the way is in his last term.


Then there is the fact that the priorities of the "last administration" mean nothing to the "new administration" when there is a change in leadership.  Mitigation is not a shake-n-bake proposition.  It not only costs government money it impacts the bottom line for businesses and real estate prices.  Those who want to make a quick buck are not interested in mitigation.  They want to get in, do the deal and be long gone.  


I sometimes describe myself as a pessimistic optimist.  I'm hoping for mitigation, planning for it, but I know the odds are stacked against us in accomplishing it.  Even with that, we should not give up.  When it gets bad enough, even developers will become supporters when they see the wisdom behind it.  I expect it will cost a whole lot more money when we get to that point when compared if we had started today.