Even if you’re not comfortable talking about climate change, it’s hard to ignore that weird weather has been having a big effect in Virginia over the last few years.
The impact is clearest in Virginia’s coastal areas. Sea-level rise is a looming threat to low-lying areas in Hampton Roads, as are bigger hurricanes. If you live in Virginia Beach, for example, your basement may be flooding more often, your well water may be starting to get brackish or your beach house may have been trashed by the last big storm.
Elsewhere in Virginia, anyone who lives near a river or a lake or really anywhere that’s downhill from someone else may also be getting more flooded basements. In the Valley and other big ag areas, farmers are also getting flooded — or else they’re getting dried out. Nobody knows exactly whether the future will be drier or wetter, but scientists are pretty sure it won’t be the same as it’s been in the past.
Scientists do agree that the future will be hotter on average all over the place, but it could also bring colder winters to some places, as much of the East Coast experienced this past winter. Virginians could could even face health problems such as heat stroke and new infectious diseases.
Businesses that can help will thrive
Welcome to global weirding. It’s a scary new world for some. But the business community can make it less scary by helping our communities get prepared. And that’s where many Virginia companies are finding new business opportunities.
To help those companies find opportunities to help communities get ready for the weird weather of the future, leaders from government, the private sector, academia, and the Virginia Sustainable Building Network banded together in July 2014 to form a new organization — Resilient Virginia.
“Our mission is to launch a Community Resiliency Initiative in Virginia that will provide residents, businesses and governments with the ability to adapt and thrive despite changing environmental, social, and economic conditions,” says the group’s new website.
Building, energy, healthcare and more
If your company does business in one of the areas they’re going to address, then you should listen up:
- The built environment
- Ecosystem services
- Food and water security
- Emergency preparedness
- Economic risk management
The group’s goal is to increase the resiliency of cities, towns and counties across the Commonwealth, which it defines “as the capacity to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of natural, climate-induced, or man-made stressors and disturbances.”
If you think your company can help, consider getting involved. Resilient Virginia publishes news about resliency efforts across the state, sponsors events on such topics as homeland security and energy management, and also offers various levels of membership that can help your company become more visible to potential customers, partners and employees.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group