Activism in the 2020s
Protecting Our Homes & Communities

What Matters MostFederal and state government disaster relief and emergency budgets are already stretched thin, and it seems probable that local communities and individuals will have to take an ever-larger share of the responsibility to both protect themselves and to repair and rebuild their homes and communities after disaster strikes. At the same time, national insurance companies are increasingly refusing to issue homeowner, commercial property, and community facility policies, or even refusing to renew existing policies, in areas that are newly classified as "high-risk." Because of the rapidly spreading impacts of climate disruption, the number of neighborhoods and communities determined to be at "high-risk" is growing like, well, like wildfire.

Presented first below is an overview of threats and opportunities confronting communities all over the country. Next, suggestions are offered for better understanding your community’s needs and wants as well as your own abilities. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better able to make choices and engage effectively, making your efforts count for as much change as possible. Finally, resource links are suggested for organizations, articles, and books to help bolster your ability to protect your home and community. More >>

Threats & Opportunities Both Growing

We have summarized some of the threats and opportunities which local communities and their residents are experiencing now or will likely have to deal with in the not-too-distant future. This (and any similar) summary is to some extent confounded by the reality that many threats also create opportunities, and many opportunities give rise to threats. Communities and their residents must also cope with very rapid and accelerating change, some of it unwelcome because it degrades our communities. The good news is that it will prove possible for many communities to create positive futures by more than covering losses with large offsetting gains realized by seizing new opportunities. More >>

Community Understanding Increases Success

A community is like a river, always moving, always changing. Every community has its own distinctive features. Community InsightsIts currents, its eddies, its rushing waters, its hidden boulders, its calm pools where the fish rest from the swirling currents. The details are unique to each community.

If you are new to the community, or new to activist circles, don't have too many opinions too quickly. Don't come into an existing process and try to change or reorient it. Instead, and it can't be stressed too strongly, learn first. Ask questions. Display humility. Get to know your fellow activists, and your community, before having too much to say. Know your river before jumping in. If you don’t, unseen currents may sweep you away. More >>

Knowing Your Skills & Your Limits

To be an effective advocate, or a more effective activist, it helps to know just what you bring to the table, both good and not so good. Who are you? What roles do you play in the community? What social networks are you a part of? What is your reputation? How do others see and experience you? What are your communication and interpersonal skills? What are your weaknesses (nobody’s perfect)? What are your attitudes? Do you get hostile? Are you angry with the "other side?" Self-assessment can help you pick ways to participate that utilize your strongest assets while sidestepping weaknesses (until, of course, they can be remedied). More >>

Finding the Best Ways to Make a Difference

The articles above have discussed how you can better understand your community and how you can better understand what assets you bring to the table as an advocate or activist. This article provides additional details on finding the best matches between what you have to offer and what your community needs and will accept. The more you understand, the more able you will be to find the best places to participate and, having made those choices, the more effective you will be in the roles and at the goals you have chosen. More >>

Climate Chaos Hitting Homes & Communities

It makes the most sense to think about community defense as simply an integral part of the climate crisis. Most people don't think in abstractions and highly discount speculation about long-term risks. Climate ChaosThe reality is that near term local impacts may well be far more effective at getting people to care about climate change. Communities are at risk from floods, wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, droughts, violent storms, spreading deserts and dust storms, and invading tropical diseases.

Once people engage in protecting themselves, they'll demand an approach that at least attempts to reduce the disastrousness of the problems arriving at their doors. We have created modest collections of links to organizations, articles, and books focusing on climate change and on protecting our homes and communities from its most destructive impacts. More >>

We Must Save Ourselves

The growing dangers to our homes and communities are becoming ever clearer. As we cast about for who might help us, we find what look mostly like unrealistic hopes. New government programs seem unlikely so long as polarization and dysfunction rule. Corporations don’t see the profit in it, so they’re not going to be much help. New technologies could assist, but so long as businesses develop new technologies to maximize short-term profits, they won’t help much either. Some think that the “invisible hand of the market” will kick in, but markets are frankly so rigged as to be blind to our plight. Elites are more likely to use their wealth to save themselves rather than save us, so no luck there. Perhaps voters will wake up, but again, polarization and dysfunction block that path. Maybe a great leader will arise, but none have as yet stepped up. So, we are left with this uncomfortable truth. If we are to be saved, we will need to save ourselves. More >>

Resources for Protecting Homes & Communities

We have created modest collections of links to organizations, articles, and books of interest to people working on protecting our homes and communities.




Published: June 2019
Revised: May 2023

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