Minimizing the Economic Effects of Natural Disasters (cont.)

We can’t stop natural disasters, but the physical and economic damage can be minimized. Climate change is exacerbated by human activity, and results in more frequent and powerful natural disasters. Poor planning and preparation can create the conditions to allow a storm to devastate regions. As a result, extreme weather events and natural disasters are exponentially intensified.

There are numerous ways to minimize the economic damage from natural disasters—including using better warning systems, smart land use planning, and investments in clean energy. Researchers, engineers, planners, architects, zoning and planning boards, and elected officials need to work together in order to address the issue. Development in flood prone areas should be eliminated or minimized, and with elevated structures. Planting more trees will help prevent erosion and reduce landslides and reduce deforestation and flooding. Building earthquake resistant structures in areas where such natural disasters are more common is sound planning.

Finally, a commitment to reduction in greenhouse gases and addiction to fossil fuels is a key component in reducing economic impacts from natural disasters. We must invest in renewable, sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biofuel.  Our future depends on it.