Why I care about resilience.
It's been over 50 days since Seattle last had any rain  this in the wake of the wettest winter on record. Last week, Seattle experienced sustained record high temperatures. The city's pools and splash parks were inundated with residents trying to beat the heat. Portland also experienced record high temperatures and designated nine rec centers official cooling stations  this after experiencing record low temperatures and above average snowfall that crippled the city. According to Portland Parks and Recreation's Deputy Director Trang Nam, for the first time their bureau is creating a policy for extreme weather events.
On the other side of the country, New Orleans was devastated by heavy rains that overwhelmed their pumping facilities and left vast swaths of the city covered by a foot or more of water. New Orleans now struggles to prepare for 10-year storm events on an annual basis and, God forbid, a direct strike from another hurricane.
While Seattle's extreme variations this year, from hot to cold and dry to wet, are within the range of predicted and historic patterns, it begs the question  If, as data suggests, the earth's temperature continues on an upward trend, what will summer look like in five, 10, 20 or 50 years? Today, NOAA announced that the last three years have been the hottest three years since official records began in 1880. A changing climate leads to increased uncertainty about the future, which is why we need to start thinking about it now.  

Parks today are losing trees to invasive pests who survive milder winters or have adapted to warmer climates. We see increased flood risk along our waterfront parks, whether coastal or along rivers. Droughts have impacted how we irrigate and how we design and maintain parks and athletic facilities. Extreme weather events, from heat and cold to tornadoes, have caused our facilities to become disaster response sites. An Environment America study found that since September 2010, counties housing 96 percent of the total U.S. population (nearly 309 million Americans) were affected by federally-declared weather-related disasters. Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. experienced 32 weather events that each had resulted in at least one billion dollars in damages. We are being impacted. The question is, do we have a plan?
So we need your help:
Take Action
1. We have put together a short survey to understand better the role park and recreation agencies are playing in their region's resiliency strategies. The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete and does not involve you sharing any proprietary data.
Take the Survey

2. Join us in New Orleans on September 28 for a special Innovation Lab devoted to ensuring that parks and recreation stay at the vanguard of resilience planning across the country. Space is limited, so make sure you register soon!

Register Now
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