Do Cities Need Resilience Officers For ‘Climate Change’ Or Something

I mean, they have firefighters and cops, right? Let’s see

Cities Have Firefighters and Trash Collectors. As the Climate Breaks Down, Do They Also Need Resilience Corps?

The answer is “no”. Post over.

climate change joke

When Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans in early September, Tonya Freeman-Brown made the difficult decision to stay in the city. The 53 year-old and her family sheltered in an old brick hotel in the downtown area, watching fierce winds of up to 150 mph pelt rainwater at the windows, and remembering the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, 16 years earlier to the day. It was stressful, but Freeman-Brown had a job to do, she says. “We’re no match for nature, but this is what we’ve trained for. This is what the Resilience Corps was built for.”

Like firefighters put out fires, and waste collectors keep the city clean, the job of the New Orleans Resilience Corps is to help the city be resilient to shocks, crises and climate change. Launched by the city in October 2020, as a pilot to run for two years, the corp’s 40 workers were mainly people who had lost jobs in the hospitality industry during the pandemic, who are now on full-time contracts, starting at $12 an hour with a path to an $18 an hour wage. Freeman-Brown joined after losing her work as a corporate massage therapist at an insurance company. The corps spent much of the last year working to support the city through COVID-19 and get people vaccinated.

In other words, these are government jobs for those with few other skills, empowering them to be government nags.

The corps aims to help those more vulnerable NOLA residents bounce back from a crisis as fast as more privileged groups. Since it became safe to go outside, Freeman-Brown and her colleagues have been delivering ice to homes, checking in on people who couldn’t evacuate, and serving up food donated by local restaurants to thousands left hungry by broken refrigerators. In the coming weeks, when power is fully restored, the team may pivot to helping those whose homes were damaged by the winds to rebuild or file insurance claims, or support those who catch COVID-19 during this period—whatever is needed.

Looks like government paid gophers. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of departments in the city already who do things like this.

Resilience Force argues that the increase in destructive events requires a professionalization of the workers who help to keep towns moving during slow-moving disasters like droughts and get them back on their feet in the wake of shocks like storms. Soni began thinking about what he terms the “resilience workforce” in 2005, after he came to New Orleans as a relief worker after Hurricane Katrina. Unemployed people had come from all over—neighboring states, the midwest, Mexico, Peru—he says, to take part in the rebuilding from the storm, which remains the most expensive weather event on record in the U.S. Soni spent the next 10 years working as a labor organizer, representing mainly migrant workers and people doing irregular, temporary jobs in the disaster clean-up sector. In 2015 he founded Resilience Force, a national labor organization that advocates for the rights of around 2,000 of those workers and helps direct them to where their services are needed.

“Volunteerism is really important and we will always need those surges in volunteers, but you can’t sustain it,” Soni argues. “You need a permanent infrastructure of people who are in jobs they can support families with and, given the enormous responsibilities they have, are trained.”

More government workers who’ll soon be unionized with all the pay and benefits and entitlement that comes with, all to deal with an imaginary issue.

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