When major weather events like Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Gordon make landfall, they create chaos for the people, communities, and infrastructure in their path. While many can flee these storms in advance to ensure safety, healthcare institutions must stay operational to serve those in need of care. Decisions to close or evacuate hospitals can lead to life or death for critical patients along with tens of millions in damage. Given the potential consequences, it’s imperative for healthcare leaders to invest in hospitals and care facilities designed for maximum resiliency. In an age of worsening storms, selecting materials that can withstand 150 mph and higher winds, having plans for sustained power loss, and other resiliency measures should be on the table at the outset of every new building project. Failing to design for resiliency can lead to serious challenges and even tragedy. Consider the following: These examples and data begin to reveal the serious threats … [Read more...] about As natural disasters get worse, we are going to need more resilient hospitals
Each year, the Thwaites Glacier–a massive chunk of ice roughly the size of Florida that sits on the western edge of Antarctica–shrinks back thousands of feet as it melts, pushing sea levels higher. The glacier could eventually completely collapse, even if humans stopped pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere now. If the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed, global sea levels could rise as much as 15 feet, and create catastrophic conditions in coastal areas. A new study looks a potential intervention: Could a long underwater wall help prevent the glacier’s collapse, or at least slow it down? Researchers studied two general designs. In one case, a long pile of sand and aggregate would stretch along the ocean floor in front of glaciers, helping prevent warming ocean water from hitting the base of ice and melting it. (Surface water is colder, and less of a problem for glaciers in Antarctica now.) In another design, 300-meter-high mounds or columns on the sea … [Read more...] about Could a giant underwater wall help save glaciers from collapse?
After Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, chef José Andrés activated a network of chefs through two groups he’d founded–World Central Kitchen and Chefs for Puerto Rico–to set up mobile kitchens capable of feeding hundreds of thousands of survivors. (He’s continued that work for other disasters, including those impacted by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina.) But in order to be in a position to do that, Andrés has also continuously bet big, and learned from failures. The chef moved to the U.S. from Spain in his 20s and worked his way up to food-world icon status. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, he joined response groups and saw that there was a need for a new kind of philanthropic effort, so he punted: World Central Kitchen’s broader efforts include building chef networks in impoverished countries to train workers, fund social services, and push for other life-improving changes. For instance, in Haiti, … [Read more...] about Want to change the world? Here are five steps to take
On September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas. Days after, flood waters continue to rise. Thousands of homes–over 4,300 in Bern, North Carolina alone–have sustained damage, and the full effects of the hurricane are not yet known. But the pattern of response to Florence will be more predictable. Already, corporate donors are pledging commitments to aid affected areas, and fundraisers for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and GlobalGiving are underway. These rapid response efforts are crucial, but according to the nonprofit Center for Disaster Philanthropy, they too often signal the end of the line. Around 70% of the money and resources donated after a disaster goes to immediate response efforts, but in reality, recovery requires a long-term investment. Just 5% of money raised after a disaster goes toward extended recovery and rebuilding efforts, which is often where residents find themselves at a loss for aid. Over the … [Read more...] about What does a more thoughtful disaster response look like?
In 2015, the demand to close Rikers Island–the jail complex between Queens and the Bronx in the East River–bubbled up from a coalition of activist groups and formerly incarcerated people in New York City. Frustrated with the reportedly inhumane conditions at the facility, which range from overcrowding–to the extent that the city has begun housing inmates on a barge adjacent to the island–to use of brutal force on the part of the guards, their request was bold: They wanted to see the city close the complex, and use the money spent convicting and incarcerating people on providing their communities with basic necessities like housing, good food, and quality education. In 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo convened a state commission to examine the possibility of closing Rikers. The commission agreed that it was possible, but it would require repurposing some old facilities, and building a collection of smaller new jails. In mid-August of this year, … [Read more...] about Can New York’s bold plan to close its jail on Rikers Island build a more just city?