In this week's newsletter: Rebuild or retreat: research suggests we might want to change our response to natural disasters, learn all about waterfront design in the Waterfront Alliance's inaugural WEDG Professionals Course, apply for DoE's new S.E.E.D. Certification Program and much more!
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Post-Disaster Rebuild...or Retreat? 


In locations that are prone to natural disasters, like the hills of Malibu, coastal cities the world over and the Caribbean, for decades the coventional wisdom has been to attempt to beat nature. "We will rebuild! And better than before!" becomes our rallying cry- even though we must know on some level that we can't beat nature. Nature's scale and power dwarf our own; we cannot stare down the sea.

A new paper published last month in the journal Science makes the case that rebuilding in a disaster zone may not just be an exercise in futility, but may actually hold communities back.

“There’s a definite rhetoric of, ‘We’re going to build it back better. We’re going to win. We’re going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it’s going to save us,’” said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper.

“It’s like, let’s step back and think for a minute,” she said. “You’re in a fight with the ocean. You’re fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that’s not the battle we want to pick.”

If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says,doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.

Dr. Siders pointed to Soldiers Grove, Wis., a town of about 500 that, after one too many floods, moved itself out of the flood plain. The community took that challenge and turned it into opportunity, reorienting the business district such that it could take advantage of highway traffic and powering it entirely with solar energy — and they did this in the 1970s.

The article not only stresses the viability of retreat but challenges the idea that retreat is based exclusively on geographical factors like elevation and proximity to the coast. “Retreat, in practice, depends at least as much on sort of social, economic, cultural geography,” Dr. Liz Koslov, an assistant professor in the department of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study, said.

You can read more on the NY Times website here.

Interested in Waterfront Design? Take the WEDG Professionals Course

The Waterfront Alliance invites you to join leading professionals in the fields of resilient design and engineering for the inaugural WEDG Professionals course.

After completing this two-day course during Climate Week NYC, WEDG Professionals will be better prepared to respond to the challenges of waterfront design in an era of climate change and to provide leadership in shaping our coasts for generations to come.

WEDG Professionals Course
September 25, 1 pm–4:30 pm and September 26, 9:30 am–1 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street, The Community Room
Brooklyn, NY 

WEDG Professionals is a platform for participants to learn from innovators in the fields of waterfront planning, design, engineering, finance, and insurance about designing for a resilient 2050+ through the Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG®), a LEED-like rating system and guidelines for resilient, accessible, and ecologically sound waterfront design. The course, given in two sessions over two days, will be presented in collaboration with multi-disciplinary WEDG experts and provide case studies in practice and a comprehensive overview of the newly released, national WEDG standard. WEDG Associate credentials will be administered upon successful completion of the course.

Space is limited. See more details and register today! Registration costs include a bound color copy of the new WEDG Manual. Please contact Sarah Dougherty with any questions. Tickets are available here.

Apply for the DoE's New S.E.E.D. Certification Program

Do you have what it takes to be certified in school sustainability? Apply for the S.E.E.D. Certification Program today!

The NYC DOE Office of Sustainability is accepting application for the new S.E.E.D. [Sustainability, Efficiency & Environmental Dedication] Certification Program! Schools participating in this program perform sustainability-related actions in their schools to accrue points towards a certification level: bronze, silver, or gold. Schools will have an opportunity to earn special status as an S.E.E.D. certified school, accompanied by an official banner and plaque. Any public school city wide can apply.

Interested? Apply here by September 20, 2019!
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Upcoming Events at Solar One

9/21
Community Volunteer Day
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, Manhattan,

10/2
Solar One Oktoberfest
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, Manhattan, 6:30-10:00pm, $85+

Upcoming Events

9/7
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Rockaway
St. Camillus Academy, 1-85 Beach 99th Street Parking Lot at 63rd Ave, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

9/8
E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Stuyvesant Town
Stuyvesant Town Playground 12, Stuyvesant Oval & 14th Street Loop, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

Manhattan Loop Ride on the East Coast Greenway
East River Greenway entrance at E. 62nd St & East River Esplanade, Manhattan, 9am-2pm, free

9/9
New York State Offshore Wind Open House Events: Staten Island
New York Public Library, Richmondtown Branch, 200 Clarke Avenue bet Cotter Ave & Amber St, Staten Island, 7-9pm, free

Local Community-Based Solar Projects Webinar
Online, 2-3pm, free

9/10
Protecting Biodiversity in the Big Apple
Retro Report Inc, 633 Third Avenue, 16th Floor, bet E. 40th & E. 41st Sts, Manhattan, 6-7:30pm, $5 general admission
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