Three Rs for surviving environmental change

January 18, 2008
Cleo Paskal

No country is ready for natural disasters. In fact, some of the world’s richest nations are the worst prepared. Cleo Paskal presents a guide to mitigating the huge human and security cost of our changing climate.

Environmental change is a sustained and pervasive attack on the status quo. Nothing can be taken for granted, and that includes global transportation, international law, borders, agriculture, infrastructure, access to resources, military power and economic stability.
As it stands, no country is prepared. However, it does not have to be that way. The human, economic, political, and security cost of environmental change can be mitigated at three stages. These, the three R’s, are:
Reinforcing mitigation and adaptation before the event through good planning, communication and regulations;
Executing an effective rescue during the crisis;
Supporting a long-term regional recovery to lessen the disruptive social and economic impacts.
Each of these three categories operates at two levels: government and society (including business). These make six areas that can be worked on to create better defences against environmental change – or, looked at another way, six areas of vulnerability. A breakdown of these six elements gives an idea of how ready a place is to survive a blow.
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