How to Survive a Natural Disaster: Build a Strong Community

The disposition this month is empathy. In Chapter 4 of Onward, Elena shares the connection between the habit of community building and the disposition of empathy: Empathy is an emotional state essential to forming healthy relationships and communities.When community members have high levels of empathy for one another, there is less hurt, people regulate their own behavior, and there is more forgiveness, acceptance, and kindness. And the more empathy and the stronger community, the more resilient!

So when I saw this headline to the news story, Neighborhood Connections Key to Surviving a Crisis, I was intrigued. The story profiles two Chicago neighborhoods, Englewood and Auburn Gresham, which both have almost identical neighborhoods and microclimates, both are very poor with a lot of older residents, but they had very differing death rates in a recent deadly heat wave. Why is this?

The host of this NPR news story shares his thoughts: “You know, we talk about resiliency, I think many people start out thinking of it as an engineering problem – where do we put the seawall against a hurricane, where do we put the concrete barrier against a terrorist bombing. And it seems that you’re saying that resiliency is more of a social problem. How do we build a strong community that can deal with whatever may come up?

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