Free Ebook: Safe Havens in Turbulent Times
There’s never been a better time to talk about resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from unexpected (sometimes shocking) change.
This year, increasing the resilience of our homes took on heightened urgency. Whatever your opinion about why COVID-19 became the global menace that it did, it’s unlikely that you escaped repercussions. Some changes, of course, are more existential than others. Many might argue that a pandemic is the worst-case scenario, and that life-threatening situations are rare. But those who survived the Camp Fire in California in 2018 might disagree. So might homeowners who rode out Hurricanes Andrew or Maria.
There’s also the matter of degree. Coronavirus, for example, caused a type of illness far less nightmarish than the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. However, that doesn’t soften the blow for the families of the dead, or those who lost their jobs. We’ve been issued a dire warning, but not a species deathblow.
There’s another threat looming, however, that could wipe us out in far greater numbers: Climate Change. The nature of this man-accelerated threat varies by region, season and sea level. For Californians, it’s wildfire, drought and extreme heat. For the Atlantic coast, it’s monster hurricanes, persistent flooding, and air pollution. And for everyone, it’s the unknown: the next pandemic. War. Mass migration of nations. The list goes on and on.
We may not be able to convince the world’s leaders to take dramatic action to slow Climate Change. But we can help builders, architects and savvy homeowners to prepare their homes for both sudden and prolonged challenges.
The term “flattening the curve” has become ubiquitous since the COVID-19 outbreak. In the pandemic scenario, the idea is to slow the transmission of the virus, so that hospitals are not suddenly overwhelmed. In the case of homes in high-risk regions, flattening the curve might mean elevating coastal homes, or, in drought-prone areas, roofing and siding with more fire-resistant materials, preparing landscapes and installing smart sprinkler systems to ward off wildfires.
Clearly, most people in the U.S. are not prepared for real threats to their normal way of life. Hoarding hundreds of rolls of toilet paper will not make us safer, nor more resilient. Building better homes will.