Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No Community Is An Island

Some solid thinking from Effect Measure on pandemic preparedness:

[L]ocal preparation can't be too local: only looking after ourselves and our families. Of course families should prepare, to the best of their ability, and having some reasonable stockpile will stand them in good stead whether it is a pandemic, a flood, a hurricane or a blizzard. But the more important point is that making a community more resilient requires structures that allow us to help each other, not just protect ourselves.

Communities where the impulse to help is encouraged and facilitated will do much better than those where helping others depends on individual heroic initiative. In practical terms, this means looking ahead to organizing and using volunteers efficiently, establishing means of communication (like neighborhood visiting groups) that allow others to know when a family is in distress, having community stockpiles and resources available for those who need it (e.g., essential medications or baby formula) are all part of thinking like a community, not just acting like anonymous individuals and isolated families.
Humans are social beings. We always do our best work within the context of a community, when we are connected with each other in meaningful ways.

Part of this is "circling the wagons" when an outside peril threatens us. Communities that are best prepared will be those that have encouraged groups to work together and have practiced their response.

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