Building Resilient Communities for a Better Outcome
Posted by: Quinne Fokes
On May 20, over 70 speakers discussed how technology can enable affordable, executable and accessible healthcare at the 2014 Health Technology Forum Innovation Conference – pathways to sustainable health.
A plenary session moderated by Dr. Dennis Israelski, Clinical Professor Medicine and Infectious Diseases (Affiliate), Stanford University, covered the topic of Building Resilient Communities for a Better Outcome. Panelists included Eliah Arnoff-Spencer, UCSD Asst. Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases , Co-Director, UCSD, Amy Luers, Director, Climate Change atSkoll Global Threats Fund and Michael Kleeman, member of the Board of Directors at Equal Access.
What are some of the challenges to building more resilient communities? For starters, in the global north, we’ve optimized our economy based on weather patterns experienced over the past 100 years, though more recently our weather has shifted.
Second, there is a tendency for people to look at their local weather, which doesn’t accurately reflect the overall climate shift. Climate change is not quickly apparent nor does it necessarily reveal itself equally in all areas in the short run, which causes individuals and communities to take a myopic view of its effects globally.
And then, you have human behavior to change, a much harder force to change than is technology, coupled with the false belief by some that technology alone will save us, which it won’t – that is to say – not without our making significant changes in our behavior.
Are there solutions? Of course. Most urgently we need to pay attention to climate change and how it is currently adversely effecting planetary public health in the exacerbation of natural disasters, — more hurricanes, el nino, el nina, etc.
Our systems urgently need to be made more resilient, for example, by creating redundant water supplies in communities. We also need feedback that is much more rapid about the effects of climate change, as well as increased sensitivity to those changes. Citizen censors, for example could play a major role in noticing and communicating changes.
It’s imperative that we take the long view and understand the ripple effect of what we’ve done to cause climate change. Additionally, we need to forward invest in our infrastructures, instead of playing catch-up and applying short term, temporary solutions.
Question: What if some of the energy put into Facebook or Google were put into increasing the resiliency of our communities? Internet technology can help build resilient communities once people understand we need to work together.
Unfortunately is seems our technology opportunities are moving faster than our people. So…what can you do? Keep talking about it — climate change isn’t going away — and take action yourself; don’t wait. Reach out to community, state and national leaders.