Resilient Communities are the Foundations of a Resilient America.

Three – and a Half – Things I Think I Think About Community Resilience

No deep thoughts from me today; just three things touched lightly, and someone else’s deep thought – and since I strongly agree with it, I’ll take credit for half a thought.

1. Last week, the Energy Information Administration published data that show that natural gas is providing as much of our electricity as coal.

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That increases the importance of safeguarding our natural gas infrastructure. Specifically, I think it means making sure that all of the natural gas lines that pass through LA, MS, and TN are earthquake-proof, because all would be impacted by a slippage along the New Madrid fault.

2. I read a nice article on work by Lisa Bowleg from Drexel, who is trying to determine what makes certain black men in Philadelphia more resilient. There are no real surprises – perseverance, learning from adversity, recognizing and then refocusing to address problems, creating supportive environments, and religion and spirituality. I think we don’t hear enough about guys like these in our information-crazed society. We don’t hear enough about the rural black teenager who works odd hours and drives many miles so he can get an associates degree and take a good job as a draftsmen. We don’t celebrate these small successes nearly enough, and too often wonder why there are failures.

3. I recently had the opportunity to review a draft of David Butler and Ward Sayre’s report on recovery from the BP oil spill. I’ll have a longer piece on it once the report is published. I think it has some of the best analyses of social networks I have ever seen. One of the important conclusions is that recovery from the oil spill was in many cases quite different than from Hurricane Katrina.

And a half. I read a summary of an excellent presentation by Jeremy Nowak (President of the William Penn Foundation). He gave a luncheon speech at a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board of Philadelphia on Reinventing Older Communities: Building Resilient Cities. A fascinating talk that I endorse wholeheartedly, available at (http://www.philadelphiafed.org/community-development/events/player.cfm?file=community-development/2012/reinventing-older-communities/ROC%20Tape%202%20Novak.flv&title=Reinventing%20Older%20Communities:%20Jeremy%20Nowak,%20Opening%20Lunch%20Plenary&w=620&h=480) – except, of course, the Philly accent grates on a Southern ear!