by ir. Damien Richardson
Caribbean Billion Dollar Mountains
Living among the green mountains
Overwhelmed by the vast arrangement of colors
Floating like leaves on trees
Wrapped in royal apparel with tones of
Purple, red, blue, orange, and yellow
As we arise in spirit and mind
We climb together in recreational mode
to top of hurricane pinnacles
We stand still admiring and surveying
the many scenic horizons ahead.
Realizing that: We can live;
we can build an alternative future,
we can be generationally resilient.
Welcome to the Caribbean Mountains
-ir. Damien Richardson
From the moment we become of age you are aware of your surroundings, you then quickly realize that you are residing in a hurricane zone. Hurricanes are an integral part of the Caribbean lifestyle and experience from the time of its inception. From 1960 to present the Caribbean can say that there has been approximately 12 to 14 major hurricanes that has passed through the islands leaving in its wake a series of ravaging effects. Over an estimated 2 million lives has been lost within this time, over $120 billion has been spent on public and private damages that can be estimated, and not to mention the cost related to public and private organizational and public displacement expenses.
In the foreword of the 1994 Pan American Health Organization article called “A World Safe from Natural Disasters − The Journey of Latin America and the Caribbean” there is a representation of their priorities in combating life lost and property lose as a result of natural disasters. The following statement has a very hopeful tone of relevance for us as a nation of islands as we begin to gain an alternative perspective on the next steps that we have to take as a people. “A second purpose is to share the optimism and enthusiasm of disaster professionals at witnessing a slow but steady evolution in the Region − from the fatalistic acceptance of disasters to the determination to take steps to avoid them whenever possible or minimize their effects through long−term disaster reduction planning.”
On average there are at least 100 conferences on hurricanes preparedness within the Caribbean region. That is equivalent to an untold quantity of public, man and company-hours being invested in activities that seemingly can be used in a productive manner in relationship to developing scenarios towards turning the tide towards developing a new resilient approach for the Hurricane Industry. What makes the Hurricane Industry an Industry is the fact that we can conclude together that we have a product or a product line (category one to five hurricane types), we have a market (news broadcast agencies, meteorological agencies, airline agencies, natural disaster rapid response specialists, etc.), we have several types of business models that have come to life (considering the various institutions regional and global who are tasked with the preparation, execution and the assisting with monetary injections and technical support, evacuation models, etc.), and finally there is a clear distribution model (dealing with good practices, disaster specialists, national readiness protocols, etc.). So to put it in simple terms we have a well-oiled manufacturing operation that we can measure and get stats from.
We as a Caribbean people can benefit from changing our focus to developing “experience models for global impact”. Following are some inspirational approaches, that have been identified: the Macworld WWDC (Worldwide Development Conference) and their many proactive projects, the Microsoft powerful and relevant organizational and team building “workshops”, the Samsung “launch” videos and their community programs, looking at initiatives like how the National Football League incorporated MIT in the NFL’s Next Generation Statistical Sports Analysis Conference dealing with for example real time player tracking technologies, developing new mind blowing simple to use presentation tools, looking at the new innovations towards medical advancements, looking at the relevant and encouraging announcements in the logistic and space race arenas: namely the work being done by Elon Musk, there are many relevant and hopeful dynamics playing out as we speak.
It is time for the region to become rigorous and envisage a strategy of no tolerance towards lives neither lost; or making room for any form of public property damages. It is time to identify those minds and professional experts who are clearly interested in turning the tide towards true resilience for the Caribbean region. In 2013 Shane L. Koyczan said it best when he said, “If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.” Let us make art together. Recorded in the Business Insider May 30, 2018, The president, Dr. Warren Smith, of the Caribbean Development Bank in one of his recent speeches represented the following towards ways to triumph over setbacks. Dr. Smith urged regional leaders and development partners to work collaboratively and proactively to address the Region’s vulnerabilities by building resilience in technology, agriculture, and regional airline connectivity. “Our Region has had to cope with countless natural disasters and other shocks throughout its history. And we have demonstrated repeatedly our ability to ‘bounce back’ from such disastrous events, However, our responses have been largely reactionary; and the cost of responding has been rising steadily, undermining other efforts to get onto a sustainable development platform,”
Nobility is needed to take on the mentality to engender an innovative mental determination to be involved with active resilient change initiatives. How can this be achieved? Initiating pilot programs across the region facilitating social and economic recovery and providing for hands to be on the plow when dealing with finding true sustainable and resilient scenarios for the region. Looking at the initial remarks from the Management Concepts.com we would read the following in their Jul 13, 2016 post about “Embedded Change Management contributes to Organizational Resiliency” The Oxford Dictionary defines resilient as “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” Recognizable resilient behaviors include a positive attitude, optimism, perseverance, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. We need to understand and have foundational clarity about our vision and its accompanying objectives. Basically we need to have a plan, a personal plan, a regional plan, an international plan, and a plan that governs our understanding of our role amongst the stars.
Let us, as a Caribbean Body of Nations, be proactive by looking at for example what The Rockefeller Foundation did by launching the Asian Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) in 2008 to help cities strengthen their capacity to prepare for, withstand, and recover from the projected impacts of climate change. Regionally the Caribbean is at the dawn of a new time. The present future has many clues as to facilitate us having a renewed focus for success considering this great Hurricane Industry of potentials. Let us turn the tide together.