Superstorm Sandy: Building Resilience

Hurricane Sandy Oct 29 2012 Courtesy of NASA Godard

Hurricane Sandy Courtesy of NASA Godard

Just days away, the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy is no cause for celebration.  The storm surge, caused by tropical force winds, caused $37 billion in damage to New Jersey and $19 billion in New York. In addition to the total destruction of Breezy Point (Queens) by flooding and fire and massive destruction along the Jersey Shore’s famed Boardwalk, there was damage and heartbreak all around.

Orphaned baby walrus survived Hurricane Sandy.

Happy ending: New York Aquarium officials found Mitik, the orphaned baby walrus, swimming excitedly in the oceanwater that swamped his cage during Superstorm Sandy.

Coming Nov. 1: Green News Update story will look at recovery efforts at beloved places and institutions that were hard hit by Sandy – among others,  New York’s Central Park, the primeval forest at The New York Botanical Garden, New York Aquarium in Queens, and perhaps saddest of all, the city’s South Street Seaport Museum, a bastion of maritime history and lore.


Washington, DC-based progressive think tank Center for American Progress looks at what cities need to do to be resilient – managing drought, rising temperatures, and severe weather events set against such challenges as crumbling infrastructure, housing shortages and socioeconomic inequities.

Download the full report on how cities should be managing risks

Check out the interactive  map of 50 cities that are taking steps to build resilience to extreme weather and other climate change impacts: sea walls, levees, dunes, restoring wetlands and more. 


Afsluitdijk - an example of Dutch ingenuity and engineering prowess

Afsluitdijk – an example of Dutch ingenuity and engineering prowess

We can only guess how much cheaper – factoring in property loss, productivity losses, environmental trauma, human agony and loss of life – it would have been to heed warnings from the past five years and take the advice of the world experts – the Dutch – in preparing cities and coastline for severe weather events.

Fast Company (Magazine)  shares what we can learn from the Dutch (November 2013 issue)

Dutch water management – from floating houses to storm-protected seaside is taking hold worldwide.

Taming the River Waal in 2008-year-old Nijmegen

Waterborne House  designed by Dutch rchitect Koen Oithuls is in the village of Kortenhauf. See the Fast Company articles for details

Waterborne House designed by Dutch architect Koen Oithuls is in the village of Kortenhauf. See the Fast Company articles for details


Rising Water” is an original 4-part feature that Green News Update posted in Fall 2012. For access to all the stories and an abundance of resources,  go to our portal: Introduction to the Threat

  • Trends and predictions: Cities & Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements (2011) UN Human Habitat Program.
  • Cities/places at risk: maps, videos and interactives show trends and change.
  • Ideas & Solutions: From fantasy to fortification, a dozen examples of using planning, urban design and engineering to address rising waters in cities and deltas (Rotterdam, London, Hamburg), communities and island states.
  • Research & Reports: For planners, architects, public officials and educators, a sampler of reports and studies with science-based analysis and recommendations.
The 1953 Flood: Oude-Tonge Goeree-Overflakkee flooding

The Netherlands’ devastating 1953 Flood: Oude-Tonge Goeree-Overflakkee flooding

Bonus feature:  Dutch Know How — Dutch water management experts have tremendous knowledge – not to mention experience – that should be tapped to forestall or lessen the impact of superstorms and hurricanes on the United States  and the Gulf.

Are we listening?